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Offshore law firms
Maples and Calder ‘stands out for its breadth and depth of coverage’. Praise is directed at the consistency of its offering across offshore jurisdictions and the lawyers’ ‘technical ability, commercial approach and responsiveness’. Investment funds remains a standout area; the sizeable team (with resources in both Hong Kong and Singapore) maintains a leading share of work in the fund formation space, and the ‘very efficient and user-friendly’ Anthony Webster is a key name in this field. Litigation, restructuring and insolvency are growth areas, with the team seeing a market increase in shareholder disputes; to meet demand, senior litigator Mac Imrie relocated to the Hong Kong office in 2016. Other key figures include corporate expert Greg Knowles, Mark Western, who is ‘a leader in the offshore market for financings of various types’, and Richard Grasby, who specialises in trusts.
The ‘impressive team’ at Walkers ‘understands the need for commercial, timely and solution-driven advice’, and its ‘litigation and restructuring expertise makes the difference during complex cases’. In the non-contentious space, the team handled numerous take-private acquisitions in 2015 and 2016; in one highlight, Denise Wong acted for Alibaba Group during the $5.6bn acquisition of NYSE-listed company Youku Tudou. Recent global news for the firm includes its expansion into Guernsey and the promotion of partners across multiple offices, including investment funds and dispute resolution experts in Hong Kong. Corporate and finance partner James Webb joined the team from the BVI office of Mourant Ozannes in 2016. Key contacts also include the ‘energetic and bright’ Paul Aherne, ‘first-rate litigator’ Timothy Haynes, Fraser Hern and Andy Randall, who ‘always puts clients first’.
‘Well-established offshore firm’ Conyers Dill & Pearman is rooted in corporate finance and capital markets law, where it continues to ‘have a large market share’. Praise is directed at the firm’s ‘very measured and accurate advice’ and ability to ‘work collaboratively with onshore lawyers to reach a joint solution’. Major developments include the relocation of the ‘extremely intelligent and quick’ Nigel Meeson QC from the Cayman Islands to establish a disputes and restructuring practice in Asia. ‘Excellent corporate lawyer’ David Lamb, the ‘very user-friendly’ Bernadette Chen, Richard Hall, Vivien Fung and Christopher Bickley are also recommended.
Harneys had another successful year, and saw significant expansion at both partner and associate level; among the recent arrivals are corporate and funds expert Matt Roberts from Maples and Calder and finance specialist Paul Sephton from Walkers. Known as ‘very commercial and responsive’, the team ‘responds to multi-jurisdictional queries in a highly effective manner’. In particular, it is ‘a go-to firm for offshore litigation’, with Ian Mann and James Noble receiving significant praise. Managing partner Jonathan Culshaw has broad experience in fund matters and large corporate transactions.
Appleby has a broad office network across the key offshore jurisdictions and is considered ‘prompt, commercial and efficient’. The capital markets department is particularly well regarded, and it advised on a high number of IPOs in Hong Kong in 2015 and 2016. The litigation and dispute resolution practice is also recommended; Eliot Simpson is a key name in this space. On the banking and finance front, the ‘responsive’ and Magic Circle-trained Fiona Chan joined from Harneys. Judy Lee and Frances Woo are also recommended.
Since the establishment of its Hong Kong office in 2012, Mourant Ozannes has gone from strength to strength; in a recent development, litigator Shaun Folpp relocated to Hong Kong to establish a dispute resolution and insolvency practice, where he is able to leverage the firm’s global litigation capabilities. The firm is also recommended for private equity, funds and financing deals. Key names in the ‘personable’ and ‘commercial’ team include ‘great technician’ Simon Lawrenson, the ‘solution-oriented’ Paul Christopher and the newly promoted Danielle Roman.
Ogier is highly rated for its dispute resolution capabilities, where the team ‘ensures the seamless delivery of litigation services’. In this space, Mandarin speaker Ray Ng and Oliver Payne are key figures. On the trusts and private client side, practice head Lara Mardell attracts praise, while in the context of investment funds, the ‘commercial and responsive’ Nicholas Plowman is recommended. The firm’s Luxembourg desk, headed by tax and funds specialist Caroline Bormans, is another differentiator. In recent work highlights, a team led by ‘knowledgeable and creative lawyer’ Nathan Powell acted as Cayman Islands counsel for key client China Media Capital during its $400m investment into City Football.