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Hong Kong > Restructuring and insolvency > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Restructuring and insolvency
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Sunny Hathiramani - Tanner De Witt
    • Clinton Tsang - King & Wood Mallesons

Who Represents Who

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DLA Piperconsistently delivers solid legal advice’, and continued to attract ‘talented lateral hires’ at both associate and partner level in its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices in 2016. Mark Fairbairn is ‘among Asia’s foremost experts in cross-border restructurings’ and has built a strong special situations practice within the department. Other key names include Jonathan Leitch and Ashley Bell.

Hogan Lovells maintains a balance between contentious and non-contentious matters, and is noted for the breadth of its expertise. Despite personnel losses in previous years, the practice remains buoyant, and is able to draw on resources in Singapore and London. A team led by Stuart Tait is advising the joint liquidators on the provisional liquidation of Greens. Chris Dobby is also recommended.

Kirkland & Ellis continued to expand, most recently with the hire of insolvency disputes specialist Kelly Naphtali from Lipman Karas. Highly regarded for bondholder-side work, the team is instructed in the largest restructurings in the region. Among a raft of recent highlights, Damien Coles acted for an ad hoc group of holders of senior secured notes guaranteed by Bumi Resources. The ‘pragmatic’ and ‘authoritativeNeil McDonaldinspires confidence’.

The ‘top-notch’ restructuring and insolvency group at Mayer Brown JSM has substantial resources in Hong Kong and across the region. It is a popular choice among banks, but has steadily increased its insolvency practitioner and corporate trustee-side mandates. John Marsden is a ‘leading cross-border restructuring specialist’; he and Thomas Pugh continued to represent two lenders in the high-profile Kaisa Group restructuring. Elsewhere, Richard Tollan acted for PwC as receivers appointed by the Secretary for Justice in the context of the collapse and investigation into Bank Century.

An expert in the field of insolvency-related matters’, Tanner De Witt has a well-established practice and enjoys strong relationships with key insolvency practitioners; Robin Darton acted for the liquidators of OW Bunker in Hong Kong following the highly publicised collapse of the group. ‘All-round expertIan De Witt is noted for his ‘practical advice’; he recently assisted a well-known Hong Kong-based company with the winding up of several entities. Among other headline mandates, Darton represented Kaisa Group during the complex restructuring of its offshore debt amounting to over $2.5bn.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP shines in complex, cross-border restructurings; in one recent highlight, Mark Fucci and Naomi Moore worked as part of a cross-office team to advise an ad hoc group of bondholders of Winsway Enterprises on a restructuring that involves parallel schemes of arrangement in Hong Kong and the BVI, and a Chapter 15 bankruptcy in the US.

One of the best legal service providers in town’, Allen & Overy takes lead roles in large international restructurings. Recent work highlights saw the Hong Kong department work as part of a multi-office team in advising ING Bank and the lenders on the collapse of the OW Bunker Group. Richard Woodworth made partner in 2016 and is ‘a veritable expert in the field’. Senior associate Emily Tillett is another key contact.

A multi-disciplinary team of dispute resolution and banking and finance experts comprises Baker McKenzie’s restructuring and insolvency group, which has resources in jurisdictions across the Asia Pacific region. Kwun Yee Cheung acted for the liquidators of Guardian Trust Company in relation to the recovery of assets located in several countries. Litigator Bryan Ng was promoted to partner in 2015.

Deacons has a strong Hong Kong client base, while its offices in Mainland China continue to attract leading PRC-based companies. In 2015 and 2016, the firm was involved in major restructuring and insolvency matters, and also saw an uptick in pre-insolvency queries. Finance expert Philip Gilligan is the key contact on the non-contentious side, and in Richard Hudson the team has a highly regarded litigator.

Exceptionally strong on strategy and execution’, the ‘very commercial’ team at Latham & Watkins LLP fields six partners in Hong Kong, including Gary Hamp, who arrived from Hogan Lovells in 2016, and Josef Athanas, who relocated from Chicago. Howard Lam and Simon Powell acted for PwC as liquidators of Wongs Investment Development, which involved numerous court proceedings in Hong Kong and the BVI.

Linklaters has a strong track record in out-of-court restructurings and insolvency litigation in the PRC and across the broader region. A large multi-office team – including David Kidd and Melvin Sng in Hong Kong – acted for Shandong Iron & Steel Group during a restructuring to protect its investment in the Tonkolili iron ore mine in Sierra Leone.

Under the leadership of Daniel Anderson, the ‘very strong’ team at Ropes & Gray LLP has built up a solid reputation in the special situations segment. The firm’s broad office network and the department’s integration with the firm’s substantial finance and refinance practice are other major draws, and earn it leading roles on major restructurings in the region. In one recent highlight, the Hong Kong team worked with colleagues in the US and UK to represent Kaisa Group in its highly publicised restructuring of offshore liabilities.

The ‘high-quality team’ at Sidley Austin had another strong year, receiving company-side instructions in high-profile restructurings. For example, Constance Choy acted for Grande Holdings in its restructuring, which involved schemes of arrangement in Hong Kong and Bermuda. ‘Experienced lawyerThomas Albrechtalways looks two steps ahead’, and Alex Rovira is another key contact, having relocated to the Hong Kong office in early 2015.

At White & Case, Damien Whitehead’s arrival from Herbert Smith Freehills in 2016 increased the department’s partner numbers to three and further bolstered its capabilities in both contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency matters. The group receives a steady stream of lender-side instructions, enjoying particularly strong relationships with numerous Chinese banks. Recent highlights included Baldwin Cheng and Melody Chan’s representation of China Minsheng Banking Corp during the restructuring of a $430m facility to Grande Cache Coal.

Mark Hyde is the name to note at Clifford Chance; he has extensive experience advising various parties including distressed companies and lenders in major restructurings and insolvencies.

The ‘client-focused’ team at Eversheds is noted for its ability to ‘pick up the issues very quickly’ and ‘think outside the box’. ‘Outstanding insolvency lawyer’ Kingsley Ong heads the practice and is regularly instructed by liquidators and creditors. Personnel developments included the arrival of Charles Butcher from Hogan Lovells in 2015 and the departure of Ivan Ng to Stephenson Harwood in 2016.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer recently welcomed the arrival of vastly experienced restructuring and insolvency practitioner Look Chan Ho from London; he now leads the multidisciplinary team, which includes finance expert Andrew Heathcote and litigation specialist Georgia Dawson.

Gall is highly regarded for its contentious insolvency capabilities. The ‘extremely sharpChris Wong has a broad practice that takes in bankruptcy, insolvency, commercial disputes, fraud and asset recovery. He is frequently instructed by insolvency practitioners, often in cases with a cross-border element.

Herbert Smith Freehills receives instructions in high-profile disputes arising out of insolvencies, where it maintains a client base of restructuring and insolvency practitioners and continues to attract new clients. Gareth Thomas is a key contact. Damien Whitehead left for White & Case in 2016.

The three-partner practice at King & Wood Mallesons covers the full gamut of restructuring and insolvency law; in Helena Huang the team has US, PRC and Hong Kong capabilities in workouts, restructuring and distressed M&A, while Gary Lock’s expertise in debt restructuring and delisting adds another string to the group’s bow. Disputes specialist Edmund Wan receives plaudits for his ‘perseverance and dedication’.

Specialist litigation firm Lipman Karas is strong in multi-jurisdictional insolvency disputes and investigations, where James Wood and Jason Karas are key names. Kevin Kee is also recommended.

The ‘quality outfit’ at Stephenson Harwood is primarily known for its contentious insolvency practice, though it has continued to build up its restructuring capabilities. The arrival of litigator Ivan Ng from Eversheds further boosted the group. Jamie Stranger advised Winsway Enterprises on its restructuring and potential scheme of arrangement.

Lawrence Chan leads the ‘highly experienced’ group at Wilkinson & Grist, which acts for listed companies, liquidators and creditors. Chan and Chloe Ma recently advised the provisional liquidators of a company with subsidiaries incorporated in Hong Kong, PRC, the Seychelles and the BVI.

Insolvency disputes are an area of strength at Kobre & Kim, which has complementary expertise in asset tracing and recovery. Randall Arthur is recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Camille Jojo has broad litigation expertise that takes in contentious insolvency and restructuring matters. The team was bolstered in 2015 by the arrival of Alfred Wu and a team of dispute resolution experts from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

Reed Smith Richards Butler has notable experience in winding up and bankruptcy cases, where Asha Sharma is recommended. Another key contact, Desmond Liaw is ‘commercial and responsive’.

With deep experience in the shipping and maritime sector, Watson Farley & Williams is a popular choice for banks and other financial institutions involved in the restructuring of facilities for shipping companies across the region. The ‘commercially astuteMadeline Leong heads the practice.

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