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Hong Kong > Offshore law firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Appreciated by clients for its 'clear and constructive advice' across a range of corporate, finance and litigation matters, Maples and Calder is 'an industry-leading' offshore firm that provides true one-stop-shop legal services, as well as fiduciary and fund administration services by virtue of its affiliate Maples FS. The firm is regularly involved in some of the largest and highest-profile mandates in the market, including Lorraine Pao 's advice to Ping An Healthcare and Technology (also known as Ping An Good Doctor) on its $1.12bn IPO in Hong Kong. In another high-profile capital markets mandate, this time on the debt side, Richard Spooner represented Alibaba Group on its $7bn bond offering. Led by the 'excellent' Anthony Webster and also including five other partners with a focus on funds work, the office is 'very up to date with developments in the market' and is 'one of the leading offshore law practices in the investment funds space'. 'The professional and very diligent' Terence Ho is picking up a significant amount of work from PRC fund sponsors, which are appreciative of not only his 'excellent quality of work' but also his ability to speak and write in Cantonese and Mandarin; this is of particular benefit in light of the increasing desire for documents to be drafted in Chinese. The 'client-friendly, innovative and commercial' Nick Harrold is also recommended for fund formation work and is appreciated by clients for his 'ability to quickly understand very complicated structures'. Greg Knowles heads up the firm's offering on the corporate front, and alongside Spooner recently acted for Alibaba as Cayman Islands counsel on its $405m investment in Sense Time Group. Head of finance Mark Western has a particular focus on aircraft financing and is a key member of the firm's Hong Kong offering, which also includes litigation, restructuring and insolvency head John Trehey.

A standout in the region as a result of its 'responsiveness, technical ability and pragmatic deal execution', Walkers is, according to one client, the 'pre-eminent legal service provider in the offshore space'; with 12 partners based in its office, it has broad-ranging expertise across complex multi-jurisdictional corporate, finance, litigation and insolvency matters. Led by the 'gregarious and extremely hardworking' Andy Randall, the firm's finance offering benefits from 'an unparalleled bench of lawyers and a responsive spirit that makes them hard to beat'. 'The absolute go-to-partner for financial advice in the regional offshore market', Randall covers a wide array of financing matters including structured finance transactions, where he displays 'a substantial amount of experience'. The 'very responsive and commercial' Kristen Kwok is another key member of the finance team across both structured finance and capital markets deals, and adds particular value for PRC and Taiwanese clients by virtue of her fluent Mandarin. Noted by one client as 'the best offshore debt lawyer in the market', the 'very commercial' Paul Aherne recently advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch as lead arranger on the $3.6bn financing in support of the $6.8bn take-private of Hong Kong-listed shoe retailer Belle International Holdings. 'Resourceful and understanding of Chinese clients' needs', Denise Wong spearheads the firm's corporate and funds practice; she recently acted as Cayman Islands counsel to Tencent Holdings and Tencent Music Entertainment in connection with their equity investments with Spotify. 'Very responsive and quick to identify practical issues', Amelia Hall is also noted for her corporate expertise and was Cayman counsel to Chinese internet video service provider iQiyi on its $2.25bn NASDAQ listing. The 'responsive and commercially-minded' Timothy Haynes leads the office's insolvency and litigation team and, as well as having an excellent reputation for contentious insolvency matters, is noted for his 'strong track record in relation to complex shareholder cases'. 'At the top of her game', Joanne Collett is well regarded for her prowess in handling cross-border restructuring and insolvency cases as well as shareholder dissent disputes. Other key practitioners include the 'thoughtful and clever' Regina Fan; the 'highly reliable' insolvency and litigation partner Callum McNeil; the 'very professional' Mark Cummings, who excels at handling corporate and fund formation work for private equity sponsors and hedge funds; and 'very commercial' funds lawyer Yin Xu.

'One of the most well-respected offshore law firms', Conyers Dill & Pearman provides 'clear, practical and reliable advice' across a range of corporate, finance and litigation matters. The firm is, however, best-known for its capital markets capability, and as well as helping numerous Chinese companies list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, it is regularly instructed to act for them on their US listings. The 'excellent' Richard Hall recently provided BVI and Cayman Islands legal advice to FIT Hon Teng on its HK$2.67bn IPO. David Lamb is 'a very experienced all-round corporate lawyer' and is 'extremely knowledgeable' about M&A transactions involving Bermuda, BVI and Cayman Islands companies; he recently advised JA Solar Holdings on the Cayman-related law aspects of its upcoming $362m going-private merger with JASO Holdings. 'Fully on top of his game', Piers Alexander delivers 'on-point and practical advice', particularly in relation to fund structuring matters where he acts as offshore advisor for international and Asia-based fund managers. The 'meticulous and efficient' Vivien Fung has expertise in fund structuring and pursuant investments for private equity sponsors. The firm also has 'a strong track record in high-value litigation matters', where the 'very experienced' Nigel Meeson 'always provides sensible and pragmatic advice'.

Harneys' 'responsive and knowledgeable' 13-partner Hong Kong office provides 'solution-oriented and commercial advice' on transactional and contentious matters. 'Willing to go the extra mile for his clients', Paul Sephton provides 'pragmatic and commercial advice' across a range of debt financing matters, including his recent role as Cayman counsel to Deutsche Bank on the financing of the acquisition of Takata by Key Safety Systems. The 'professional, responsive and diligent' Ellie Crespi is recommended across both debt and equity financing in new money and restructuring contexts; she recently advised on Kaisa Group Holdings’ $2.7bn exchange offer and concurrent new money issuance. The 'very responsive' Raymond Ng is well placed to act for the firm's Chinese-speaking clients by virtue of his Mandarin and Cantonese language skills. According to one client, Ian Mann is 'quite simply the best offshore lawyer in Hong Kong' and is regarded as 'one of the go-to lawyers in Hong Kong for BVI and Cayman disputes'. 'One of the market leaders for offshore restructuring', Mann has been involved in every major restructuring involving offshore entities of late and is an expert in cross-border and conflict of laws issues. Chai Ridgers leads the restructuring arm of the litigation and insolvency group. Dispute resolution partner Andrew Johnstone has joined the firm from HFW.

Able to advise on Cayman and BVI law, as well as on Bermudan matters following the relocation of Cameron Adderley to Hong Kong, Appleby's seven-partner team continues its upward trajectory in the region, and has the critical mass to handle an increasingly diverse array of matters across the transactional and litigation spectrum. The firm's strength, however, remains on the capital markets front; it continues to handle a raft of Hong Kong IPOs. Judy Lee has been at the forefront of many of these equity listings, including her work as Cayman counsel for BGMC International on its listing on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. 'Very impressive' counsel Vincent Chan is also a key equity capital markets practitioner, and is praised for his 'ability to provide timely and practical Cayman law advice'. Chan also handles a significant amount of M&A mandates, recently assisting Adderley with advising Shandong Gold on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Minera Argentina Gold (MAG), through the acquisition of both MAG and its majority shareholder Argentina Gold (Bermuda) II. The addition in February 2017 of Nicholas Davies was recognised as 'a very astute hire', strengthening and broadening the office's finance offering to include funds finance and structured finance capabilities.

Since its launch in Hong Kong in 2011, Mourant Ozannes has grown considerably and now includes five partners that are active across corporate, finance and litigation offshore-related matters. The 'excellent' Danielle Roman has broad-ranging finance expertise, including on fund financing, and in this area has 'been instrumental in developing the product in Asia'. Roman is regularly at the forefront of the team's highest-profile matters, and in collaboration with Claire Fulton (whose 'experience in the leveraged finance space means she is well aware of the issues and pressures felt by onshore lawyers on leveraged buyouts') recently advised Goldman Sachs as Cayman counsel on financing Platinum Equity’s take-private of Fischer Tech, by way of a Singapore scheme of arrangement. The 'very impressive' Paul Christopher has a focus on private equity transactions, and recently advised I Squared Capital Advisors on the $1.86bn acquisition of Hutchison Global Communications. The 'very responsive, hardworking and approachable' Jessica Lee and the 'detail-oriented and commercial' Paul Trewartha were also involved in this deal, and are key members of an associate pool that also includes the 'very responsive' Peter Vas and Kimberley Leng, the latter of whom is an integral part of the insolvency team led by Shaun Folpp. Other clients include CVC, Ping An Bank, CSIC Leasing and CTBC Bank. Head of banking and finance Simon Lawrenson is another name to note.

The 'responsive, commercial and helpful' 33-strong team at Ogier has significant resources to deploy for clients desiring BVI, Cayman Islands, Channel Islands and Luxembourg advice across international finance and corporate matters. The 'responsive' Nathan Powell provides 'fuss-free service' on corporate and M&A matters; he recently acted as Cayman legal adviser to JSR on its $400m acquisition of Taiwan-listed corporation Crown Bioscience International, by way of a Cayman statutory merger. Powell also has significant capital markets expertise, and recently acted as BVI legal counsel to Xinhu (BVI) Holding on its $700m high yield bond issuance. 'Market leader' Anthony Oakes 'brings a good international background to deals' and is noted for his ability to 'handle very complex offshore matters'. Oakes recently acted as BVI counsel to Power Construction Corporation of China on establishing a $2.5bn medium-term notes and senior perpetual securities programme. Under the leadership of the 'incredibly hardworking and commercial' Ray Ng, the office's dispute resolution and insolvency team has gained market credibility and is increasingly being viewed as a strong choice for handling complex BVI and Cayman disputes. 'Particularly good at thinking outside the box and challenging accepted interpretations of the law', Ng also has 'a particular understanding of the "Asian" way of looking at things, which is critical when trying to translate the BVI and Cayman legal ethos into Asian business culture'. Oliver Payne is also recommended for his commercial litigation expertise and is particularly noted for his 'adroitness at handling complex financial problems'. Nicholas Plowman and Kate Hodson are recommended for investment funds work, while associate Wisdom Hon heads up the firm's private wealth and trusts team.

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