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Hong Kong > Regulatory > Anti-corruption and compliance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Regulatory: anti-corruption and compliance
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Kelly Austin - Gibson Dunn
    • Andrew Dale - Ropes & Gray LLP
    • Cori Lable - Kirkland & Ellis
    • Yuet Ming Tham - Sidley Austin
    • Vasu Muthyala - Kobre & Kim
    • Martin Rogers - Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
    • Patrick Sinclair - Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
    • James Wadham - Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
    • Kyle Wombolt - Herbert Smith Freehills

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP reinforced its already outstanding credentials in anti-corruption and compliance with the hire of Patrick Sinclair, a former US prosecutor, from Ropes & Gray LLP. The firm also elevated Hong Kong litigator Karen Chan to partner status, bringing even more regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings expertise to the senior ranks. The Hong Kong team continues to work on many of the biggest investigations in Hong Kong and Asia, including significant anti-corruption and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) matters, where it can draw on the firm’s white-collar crime expertise in New York and Washington DC. The department defended Henry Fan of CITIC in connection with allegations of market misconduct against the company and five former directors relating to foreign exchange contracts. Martin Rogers is a giant of the Hong Kong market, frequently instructed on the most complex and challenging engagements in the region. James Wadham is also an established name in the sector.

Herbert Smith Freehills has shown enormous commitment to this field over the last decade, building a sizeable team in Greater China and across Asia Pacific. It now represents numerous multinational and Asian corporates, banks and financial institutions. Regarded as ‘the premier corporate investigations practice in Asia’ by one client, the department’s standing stems from the ‘experience and industry awareness’ of Kyle Wombolt, who ‘has seen everything’, is the ‘predominant corporate investigations and financial services regulatory lawyer in Asia’ and is ‘in big demand for companies, and particularly banks, in crisis situations’. Robert Hunt is ‘well respected in the market’ and impresses with his handling of cases, particularly for investment banks.

Ropes & Gray LLP is a global leader in anti-corruption and compliance, and despite the departure of Patrick Sinclair to Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, the firm maintains a sizeable presence in Hong Kong through key partners Andrew Dale and Mimi Yang. The team is especially active in the private equity, technology, healthcare and life sciences segments, most notably advising US-based businesses in major corporate investigations. Building on its impressive market share of China investigations, the team is also especially active in India, South-East Asia, South Korea and Japan.Cori Lable is now with Kirkland & Ellis.

Clifford Chance is making its mark in the anti-corruption and compliance scene, operating one of the largest teams across Asia Pacific. The ‘excellent’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘responsive’ and ‘hardworking’ Hong Kong group is ‘strong from partner to associate level’ and has earned itself an impressive market share of top engagements. It frequently advises on Asia-specific investigations as well as the Asia or country-specific aspect of global investigations, most notably China-located investigations. Clients praise the department for its local knowledge and cultural sensitivity, but also its ability to harness resources and expertise from across the global firm. Wendy Wysong is commended for her expertise derived from her stint as a federal prosecutor in the US, her ‘knowledge of the local culture’ and her ‘experience in US sanctions law’ that ‘gives her a skillset that is hard to replicate’. Consultant Richard Sharpe is qualified as a barrister in London and solicitor in Hong Kong, giving him a ‘unique perspective to analyse complex regulatory/white-collar issues’. Consultant Lei Shi is also recommended for mainland China issues and William Wong is ‘knowledgeable’ and has an ‘ability to deliver succinct and appropriate advice’.

Kobre & Kim brings its renowned contentious and forensic skills to the anti-corruption and compliance segment with a sizeable team in Hong Kong. The firm has an impressive record in defending clients against US investigations, leveraging the strength and expertise of a number of former US prosecutors and investigators within the Hong Kong team. While much of its work remains confidential, it did represent Emirates in pursuing the recovery of $34m linked to an embezzlement scheme by a former employee at one of its offices in South Korea. Clients praise the team’s ‘expertise’, ‘quality of work’, ‘responsiveness’ and ‘collaborative spirit’. Vasu Muthyala, who previously served in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will ‘brave hell and high water to represent the interests of his clients’ and ‘understands not only what a prosecutor is seeking when asking a question, but why the question is being asked’. New York and Hong Kong based William McGovern, a former New York prosecutor and branch chief in the SEC Division of Enforcement, is ‘smart’, ‘solutions-oriented’, ‘responsive’ and ‘has a measured and mature approach to difficult issues’. Shaun Wu is another key partner.

Shearman & Sterling has built significant market presence in Asia, particularly in China, through its Hong Kong team. It has worked on many of the biggest investigations in Asia, including conducting over 20 investigations in China for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), resulting from whistleblower reports, audit findings and inquiries by Chinese regulators; the firm had previously represented GSK in the headline criminal bribery investigation in China, which was the first time a foreign company had faced criminal charges in the jurisdiction and led to partner Brian Burke being appointed as interim general counsel at GSK in China. Burke is ‘knowledgeable and capable’ and has ‘a phenomenal ability to recall facts and focus in on the most pertinent issues’.

Sidley Austin’s Hong Kong team has impressive regional coverage, frequently handling investigations in multiple jurisdictions, including in North, South and South-East Asia. The team is especially highly regarded for its FCPA expertise, with Asia Pacific head of compliance and investigations Yuet Ming Tham recognised for her white-collar, compliance and anti-corruption experience. The team also features a number of native speakers of Asian languages and has particular experience in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, energy and financial services.

Hong Kong-based Mini vandePol is chair of Baker McKenzie’s global compliance and investigations group. Her Hong Kong team is very much at the forefront of the global practice and features a number of senior disputes specialists that have built up significant experience in this segment. The firm has an excellent record in China-based investigations and in jurisdictions throughout Asia Pacific. Cynthia Tang and Anthony Poon are also recommended.

DLA Piper’s Hong Kong team advises a range of multinational corporates and a number of Asia-based businesses. The firm has represented big-name clients in significant internal compliance investigations, including those related to FCPA concerns. Cybercrime and data fraud investigations are a growing element of the practice. Sammy Fang is an increasingly prominent practitioner and leads the firm’s China litigation and regulatory group.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a number of senior-level litigators that are now at the forefront of white-collar and regulatory defence work in Asia. Much of the Hong Kong office’s practice centres on financial services and private wealth, and it is able to leverage the firm’s global standing in anti-corruption and compliance. Mark Johnson is one of Hong Kong’s premier litigators and has a significant focus on white-collar and regulatory defence matters across Asia.

Gibson Dunn is another major global player in this segment. Kelly Austin launched the firm’s Hong Kong office in 2010 and has been steadily building its Asia profile in investigations, regulatory compliance and anti-corruption since then. The practice centres on government and internal investigations, including a high degree of FCPA-related work. The Hong Kong team continues to expand its regional outlook, dealing with jurisdictions as far afield as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt. Its broad client base includes private equity houses, banks, healthcare businesses, and technology, media and telecoms companies.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is now a recognised force in the anti-corruption and compliance sector thanks to the presence of senior practitioners Bradley Klein and Steve Kwok in its Hong Kong office. Klein has represented clients in Asia over many years in relation to international investigations, regulatory enforcement actions and compliance issues, while Kwok joined the firm in 2016, having previously served as the US DOJ’s attaché in the US Embassy in Beijing from November 2013 to January 2016; as a Mandarin-speaking former US prosecutor, he is a rare commodity in Hong Kong.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is building its presence in Hong Kong through partner Tatman Savio and senior consultant Vena Cheng. Both have deep experience of FCPA-related investigations and white-collar criminal defence matters for multinationals. Much of the Hong Kong team’s work centres on mainland China and the rest of Asia.

Dechert is another big global player in anti-corruption and compliance, with Kareena Teh building the firm’s presence in Asia from Hong Kong. The team now covers a broad geographic region and advises clients in multiple industries, including oil and gas, life sciences and financial services. The Hong Kong team also draws on the resources and expertise of colleagues in other offices, particularly Beijing, London and New York.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is building a sizeable team in Hong Kong that is expanding its market share of large-scale and cross-jurisdictional investigations. The Hong Kong group features a number US-qualified litigators with extensive FCPA expertise. John Choong and William Robinson are the key partners.

Mayer Brown JSM has significant FCPA and anti-money laundering expertise, coupled with an extensive presence in Asia. Several partners in Hong Kong have turned their attentions to this area, advising a number of major multinationals and Asia-based businesses. Susanne Harris is recommended for cross-border financial services sector investigations.

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