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DLA Piper

17TH FLOOR, EDINBURGH TOWER, 15 QUEEN'S ROAD, CENTRAL, HONG KONG
Tel:
Work +852 2103 0808
Fax:
Fax +852 2810 1345
Email:
Web:
www.dlapiper.com

Asia Pacific: Regional international arbitration

Regional international arbitration
Regional international arbitration - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

At DLA Piper, Hong Kong-based shipping specialist Ernest Yang successfully represented Pacific Crest in a claim against the builders and sellers for non-delivery of two platform supply vessels. In another highlight Yang, whose expertise also encompasses disputes related to joint ventures, and offshore projects, successfully acted for General Nice Resources (Hong Kong) in an arbitration arising from the sale and purchase of iron ore fines contracts. Office managing partner Kevin Chan and Ashley Bell are also names to note in Hong Kong. The firm underwent some changes in 2017, with insurance specialist John Goulios now leading the arbitration practice in Singapore and the firm’s former head of arbitration in Asia, Yu-Jin Tay, departing for Mayer Brown JSM. Goulios is assisted by counsel Matthew Shaw, who focuses on disputes arising in Indonesia and the wider ASEAN region. The firm also has arbitration expertise in Seoul, where Daniel Lee advised on a number of construction disputes for Korean contractors, and in Thailand, where Chatchai Inthasuwan is the main contact.

[back to top]

Hong Kong

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s practice was bolstered by the recent hire of Matthias Schemuth, who joined from Ashurst, and has particular experience in cross-border financing transactions in the commodities (including oil and gas, mining and metals), infrastructure and telecoms sectors. The team also acts for lenders and borrowers in financings involving various other areas, including acquisition finance, real estate finance and asset finance. Paul Lee was the lead adviser to Haitong International Securities Company on the financing aspects of Gorgeous Investment Group’s circa HK$1.74bn offer to acquire China Smarter Energy Group Holdings. Lee also acted for a syndicate of six banks in a €280m syndicated loan to Terminal Catalunya. Standard Chartered Bank, Maybank, China Huarong and Fosun are other notable clients. China energy head Carolyn Dong divides her time between Beijing and Hong Kong. Leveraged finance expert Doug Murning, who joined from Kirkland & Ellis, splits his time between the London and Hong Kong offices.

[back to top]

Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

At DLA Piper, Harris Chan is the key contact; he ‘always provides professional advice and convincing recommendations’, and is supported by May Ng, who has expertise in construction disputes with an emphasis on building and civil engineering projects. The team is representing Thiess Mongolia in a consolidated action in the High Court against Hong Kong-listed company Mongolia Energy Corporation (MEC) and the wholly owned subsidiary of MEC to enforce a parent company guarantee for the default payment of progress claims for the client’s mining works in Mongolia. Other work includes acting for Great Harvest Group Development in disputes relating to two joint ventures with Hong Kong/Macau developer San Kin Yip Holdings; the joint ventures were for a mixed use development in Zhuhai, China. Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, Stage Technologies Group, Hanison Construction Holdings and Shui On Building Contractors are also clients.

[back to top]

Corporate (including M&A)
Corporate (including M&A) - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s practice is coordinated to effectively service Hong Kong and PRC deals, as well as transactions in the wider Asia Pacific region and elsewhere. One of its industry strengths, among others, is in the insurance sector, which is illustrated by the fact that the firm has been Ping An’s primary international legal advisor since 1998. In addition, Paul Chen, Melody He-Chen and members of the US team are advising another key insurance client Fosun International on its $3bn sale of Ironshore to Liberty Mutual Group. Chen and Sheng Wu have also recently assisted Fosun’s subsidiary Peal Reinsurance Company with a number of transactions, including its investment in a 50% stake in Caribbean insurance group NAGICO Holdings. Another core area of expertise for the team is in transactions connected with the transport, freight and logistics sector; Heng Loong Cheong, who splits his practice between the Hong Kong and Singapore offices, is leading the charge in this space. In the area of energy and natural resources, Carolyn Dong and senior associate Matthew Davis were key advisers to China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) on its $900m acquisition of Chevron’s assets in South Africa and Botswana.

[back to top]

Insurance
Insurance - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has an active contentious and non-contentious insurance practice. Despite the departure of Joyce Chan to Clyde & Co LLP, the firm has remained at the forefront of the sector with Heng Loong Cheong on the transactions side and senior consultant Michael Turnbull providing decades of contentious and regulatory experience. Asia head of corporate Paul Chen also has extensive insurance sector experience. Clients include ACE Life Insurance, Aviva, China Life Insurance and Fosun International. The firm advised Fosun’s subsidiary Peak Reinsurance on a series of transactions, including its strategic investment in Nagico Holdings, the leading Caribbean insurance group.

[back to top]

Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s cross-office IP practice in Hong Kong and the PRC sees it handling some high-profile IP work for numerous multinational corporates including Five Guys, Fitbit, and AOL. Edward Chatterton heads the Hong Kong team and is noted for his brand protection and enforcement advice across the spectrum of IPR. Chatterton continues to provide brand protection advice to Pokerstars, and is also acting for McDonald’s across a range of IP matters in Hong Kong and China, including advising the client on the restructuring of its IP licensing and franchising structure in China in preparation for the divestment of its Hong Kong, China and Macau businesses to Citic and Carlyle. Senior associate Elizabeth Wong regularly advises clients on the commercialisation of their IPR and has experience acting for multinational corporates on licensing and franchising agreements.

[back to top]

Investment funds
Investment funds - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s funds and investment management practice in Asia is led by Luke Gannon, who has more than 25 years of experience acting for investors, sponsors and investment banks, among other clients. A notable growth area for the firm has been in real estate funds; Gannon recently acted for Aviva Real Estate Investors in its investment into a Japan-based real estate fund focused on the local student housing sector, and also advised Igis Asset Management on the formation of a real estate fund seeking to raise capital across 20 jurisdictions for the purpose of investing in commercial properties in South Korea. In the hedge funds sphere, the team has been active in a number of fund restructures, which recently saw Gannon handling the restructuring of multi-strategy fund for Lygh Capital. The firm also demonstrates strong capabilities in various other asset classes, such as private equity buyout funds, infrastructure funds, debt funds and retail funds.

[back to top]

Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper suffered the recent departures of Julia Gorham and David Smail to Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Anita Lam to Clifford Chance. Nevertheless, the team is still able to call upon the expertise of numerous associates, who regularly works alongside lawyers in the firm’s strong Beijing office on a range of employment issues including those associated with major multi-jurisdictional M&A/restructuring projects handled by the firm.

[back to top]

Private equity
Private equity - ranked: tier 5

DLA Piper

Led by Gloria Liu, DLA Piper’s Hong Kong private equity team is keyed into the firm’s broader Asian practice, which recently experienced growth in Shanghai following several partner hires. Active across the spectrum of mid-market private equity and growth capital transactions, the team has built up some robust relationships with funds in the region including Hillhouse Capital, China Everbright and Ping An Ventures. The team handles the full spectrum of work including secondary buyouts, take-private acquisitions and exits. Recent highlights include Liu’s work for EQT on its investment in Changshui Education Group and for Keywise Capital as lead investor on the Series D (pre IPO) financing in Meitu.

Next generation lawyers

Sue Yang - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Projects and energy
Projects and energy - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper augmented its projects practice with the hire of project finance expert Matthias Schemuth from Ashurst, Schemuth joins China head of energy Carolyn Dong and head of finance and projects Paul Lee. The firm continues to impress in the energy sector, especially for Chinese clients. It advised Shanghai-listed ENN Ecological Holdings, the natural gas company, on its $750m acquisition of Hony Capital’s 12% stake in Santos, the Australian energy company.

Leading individuals

Matthias Schemuth - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s Asia real estate practice is led by Susheela Rivers, who exhibits a ‘good combination of solid legal experience and keen business sense’. Her Hong Kong team includes Wayne Ma, who led the advice to Carlyle Asia on the sale of Central Plaza office tower in Shanghai to V Capital, the private equity arm of Chinese real estate developer Vanke. Supported by Ma and senior associate Janice Yau Garton, Rivers led the advice to China Orient regarding a resort acquisition and development in the Maldives through a leasehold structure, including entering into a BVI joint venture arrangement with a local Maldives entity. Other clients include Sino-Ocean Group, Gaw Capital, The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Pradera.

Leading individuals

Susheela Rivers - DLA Piper

Next generation lawyers

Janice Yau Garton - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Regulatory
Regulatory - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper handles financial services work covering traditional securities matters as well as fintech and other technology-related matters. Jonathan Leitch assisted Optal Asia with its successful application for a HKMA stored value facility license, while Scott Thiel advised Goldman Sachs on the regulatory aspects of several data centre outsourcing transactions. Harris Chan has mobile payments and securities regulation expertise, including successfully defending a client in a private prosecution brought under section 298 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance, securing a costs order against the private prosecutor. Other clients include Samsung Electronics and Aviva. Karl Buch relocated to the firm’s New York office.

[back to top]

Restructuring and insolvency
Restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s three-partner team ‘provides highly pertinent and commercial advice’ to a broad range of stakeholders, particularly in relation to multi-jurisdictional mandates where it is able to work alongside practitioners across the firm’s wide-ranging network of global offices. Team head Mark Fairbairn has an excellent reputation on behalf of bondholders and is advising an ad hoc bondholder group on Hong Kong and New York law issues associated with the restructuring of China Shanshui Cement. The ‘very trustworthyJonathan Leitch excels at handling complex creditor-side work and is currently acting for the lenders (including Rabobank and Standard Chartered Bank) regarding their exposures in the Pacific Andes/China Fisheries Group; notably the mandate has to date involved court and insolvency proceedings in nine separate jurisdictions and has involved significant input from across the firm’s global network. The ‘very strong’ Ashley Bell has a focus on contentious insolvency matters.

Leading individuals

Mark Fairbairn - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Shipping
Shipping - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

Aided by a significant presence in Beijing and Shanghai, DLA Piper’s Hong Kong office handles disputes and commercial/transactional work in the Greater China area and beyond. Cantonese and Mandarin speaker Ernest Yang has strong ties with numerous PRC clients and handles a range of shipping disputes, including charterparty and cargo matters, as part of his broader commercial litigation practice. Yang is representing Better Marine, a Chinese brokerage company, in an important case concerning the recovery of commission. Nicholas Mallard is particularly well regarded at handling complex shipbuilding disputes and Kevin Chan is also recommended. Other clients include Pacific Crest and Guangdong Yuexin Ocean Engineering.

Leading individuals

Nicholas Mallard - DLA Piper

[back to top]

TMT
TMT - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s team has been strengthened by a number of lateral hires in recent years, most recently that of technology associate Hayden Lau from Latham & Watkins LLP in March 2017. The TMT practice is particularly strong in the fintech space, where work has included advice on joint ventures, regulatory and licensing matters. As a result of his IP and computer science background, Scott Thiel has real insight into the technical aspects underscoring the ICT and outsourcing projects handled by the team; he recently advised Payoneer Hong Kong on the local regulatory issues impacting on its payment services offerings in Hong Kong. Thiel also regularly advises traditional banks on their outsourcing projects including his recent work for new client Goldman Sachs on a data centre outsourcing project with a Japanese telecoms company. Of counsel Carolyn Bigg has a focus on data protection across Asia Pacific.

[back to top]

Tax and trusts
Tax and trusts - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is active across the gamut of tax planning and structuring for corporates on their inbound and outbound transactions (where it frequently works alongside the office’s M&A team), as well as handling contentious matters and advising high-net-worth individuals on complex tax, trusts and estate planning issues. The Hong Kong team is also a vital part of the firm’s global transfer pricing offering and acts for clients from the IT, technology, equipment manufacturing and semiconductor sectors on a range of issues including planning new transfer pricing policies, valuation of transfer prices or support with dispute resolution. Anderson Lam has an excellent reputation for handling local and cross-border tax issues and, alongside Doris Ho, recently acted for a major multinational corporate on the regional coordination related to its global reorganisation project. In addition to his work on the corporate tax planning front, Patrice Marceau is also regularly involved in wealth planning for individual estates, trusts funds and company assets. Head of tax for Asia Daniel Chan is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Daniel Chan - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Hong Kong: Capital markets

Debt
Capital markets (debt) - ranked: tier 5

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s team has expertise in a broad cross-section of debt products, including high-yield debt, investment grade securities and RMB dim sum bonds. It is also knowledgeable about various types of equity-linked products, including convertible bonds and exchangeable bonds. Melody He-Chen, who is the lead partner in the team, worked with of counsel Janny Tai to advise Chiho Environmental Group as the issuer on a $200m notes offering. Yue Xue Securities and China ZhengTong Auto Services Holdings are other key clients.

[back to top]

Equity
Capital markets (equity) - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s team has ‘strong technical skills, understands the commercial issues well and provides solutions that are practical and business-friendly’. It is particularly active in advising issuers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan on their listings in Hong Kong and the US, as well as assisting with their post-listing compliance and regulatory issues, and follow-on offerings. In 2016, Liu Wei (who splits his time between the Hong Kong and Beijing offices), of counsel Christina Loh and others acted for PRC-headquartered Smart-Core Holdings on its HK$230m Hong Kong IPO and Main Board listing. The firm’s other clients include Fosun International, Ping An Insurance, China Shenhua Energy Company and China Southern Airlines. Melody He-Chen ‘pays very good attention to detail’ and Janny Tai is ‘very hardworking’. In 2016, Jeffrey Mak departed to establish Jeffrey Mak Law Firm and Stephen Peepels moved to Hogan Lovells.

[back to top]

Hong Kong: Dispute resolution

International arbitration
Dispute resolution: international arbitration - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

The ‘professional’ lawyers at DLA Piperalways provide quick advice and use their experience to give valuable advice’. Ernest Yang has ‘a good common law background and experience in dispute resolution – his strength is to tease the frame of the case and decide on a winning strategy’; he represented Pacific Crest in a dispute regarding a failure to deliver two platform supply vessels. In another case, Ashley Bell acted for the liquidators of a geophysical survey company in an arbitration against its creditors. Other highlights concern telecoms, aviation, shipping and commodities matters. At associate level, Yuki Chan is ‘a good communicator with clients and can easily grasp what they need’.

Leading individuals

Ernest Yang - DLA Piper

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Litigation
Dispute resolution: litigation - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

Key names to note at DLA Piper are co-regional managing partner Satpal Gobindpuri, who handles high-profile multi-jurisdictional disputes; construction partner Harris Chan, who is ‘one of the most business-minded lawyers out there’; head of the Asia litigation and regulatory practice and Hong Kong managing partner Kevin Chan, who is particularly noted for representing Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs); Ashley Bell, who handles the contentious insolvency matters, and May Ng, who was promoted to the partnership in May 2016 and handles international commercial disputes. Among a raft of recent instructions, the team worked with its network offices in PRC, Poland, Hungary, Russia and Slovakia to pursue various recovery actions for Ubiquiti Networks following a cybercrime.

[back to top]

Hong Kong: Regulatory

Anti-corruption and compliance
Regulatory: anti-corruption and compliance - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

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.

[back to top]



Asia Pacific: Regional international arbitration

Regional international arbitration
Regional international arbitration - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

At DLA Piper, Hong Kong-based shipping specialist Ernest Yang successfully represented Pacific Crest in a claim against the builders and sellers for non-delivery of two platform supply vessels. In another highlight Yang, whose expertise also encompasses disputes related to joint ventures, and offshore projects, successfully acted for General Nice Resources (Hong Kong) in an arbitration arising from the sale and purchase of iron ore fines contracts. Office managing partner Kevin Chan and Ashley Bell are also names to note in Hong Kong. The firm underwent some changes in 2017, with insurance specialist John Goulios now leading the arbitration practice in Singapore and the firm’s former head of arbitration in Asia, Yu-Jin Tay, departing for Mayer Brown JSM. Goulios is assisted by counsel Matthew Shaw, who focuses on disputes arising in Indonesia and the wider ASEAN region. The firm also has arbitration expertise in Seoul, where Daniel Lee advised on a number of construction disputes for Korean contractors, and in Thailand, where Chatchai Inthasuwan is the main contact.

[back to top]

Hong Kong

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s practice was bolstered by the recent hire of Matthias Schemuth, who joined from Ashurst, and has particular experience in cross-border financing transactions in the commodities (including oil and gas, mining and metals), infrastructure and telecoms sectors. The team also acts for lenders and borrowers in financings involving various other areas, including acquisition finance, real estate finance and asset finance. Paul Lee was the lead adviser to Haitong International Securities Company on the financing aspects of Gorgeous Investment Group’s circa HK$1.74bn offer to acquire China Smarter Energy Group Holdings. Lee also acted for a syndicate of six banks in a €280m syndicated loan to Terminal Catalunya. Standard Chartered Bank, Maybank, China Huarong and Fosun are other notable clients. China energy head Carolyn Dong divides her time between Beijing and Hong Kong. Leveraged finance expert Doug Murning, who joined from Kirkland & Ellis, splits his time between the London and Hong Kong offices.

[back to top]

Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

At DLA Piper, Harris Chan is the key contact; he ‘always provides professional advice and convincing recommendations’, and is supported by May Ng, who has expertise in construction disputes with an emphasis on building and civil engineering projects. The team is representing Thiess Mongolia in a consolidated action in the High Court against Hong Kong-listed company Mongolia Energy Corporation (MEC) and the wholly owned subsidiary of MEC to enforce a parent company guarantee for the default payment of progress claims for the client’s mining works in Mongolia. Other work includes acting for Great Harvest Group Development in disputes relating to two joint ventures with Hong Kong/Macau developer San Kin Yip Holdings; the joint ventures were for a mixed use development in Zhuhai, China. Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, Stage Technologies Group, Hanison Construction Holdings and Shui On Building Contractors are also clients.

[back to top]

Corporate (including M&A)
Corporate (including M&A) - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s practice is coordinated to effectively service Hong Kong and PRC deals, as well as transactions in the wider Asia Pacific region and elsewhere. One of its industry strengths, among others, is in the insurance sector, which is illustrated by the fact that the firm has been Ping An’s primary international legal advisor since 1998. In addition, Paul Chen, Melody He-Chen and members of the US team are advising another key insurance client Fosun International on its $3bn sale of Ironshore to Liberty Mutual Group. Chen and Sheng Wu have also recently assisted Fosun’s subsidiary Peal Reinsurance Company with a number of transactions, including its investment in a 50% stake in Caribbean insurance group NAGICO Holdings. Another core area of expertise for the team is in transactions connected with the transport, freight and logistics sector; Heng Loong Cheong, who splits his practice between the Hong Kong and Singapore offices, is leading the charge in this space. In the area of energy and natural resources, Carolyn Dong and senior associate Matthew Davis were key advisers to China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) on its $900m acquisition of Chevron’s assets in South Africa and Botswana.

[back to top]

Insurance
Insurance - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has an active contentious and non-contentious insurance practice. Despite the departure of Joyce Chan to Clyde & Co LLP, the firm has remained at the forefront of the sector with Heng Loong Cheong on the transactions side and senior consultant Michael Turnbull providing decades of contentious and regulatory experience. Asia head of corporate Paul Chen also has extensive insurance sector experience. Clients include ACE Life Insurance, Aviva, China Life Insurance and Fosun International. The firm advised Fosun’s subsidiary Peak Reinsurance on a series of transactions, including its strategic investment in Nagico Holdings, the leading Caribbean insurance group.

[back to top]

Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s cross-office IP practice in Hong Kong and the PRC sees it handling some high-profile IP work for numerous multinational corporates including Five Guys, Fitbit, and AOL. Edward Chatterton heads the Hong Kong team and is noted for his brand protection and enforcement advice across the spectrum of IPR. Chatterton continues to provide brand protection advice to Pokerstars, and is also acting for McDonald’s across a range of IP matters in Hong Kong and China, including advising the client on the restructuring of its IP licensing and franchising structure in China in preparation for the divestment of its Hong Kong, China and Macau businesses to Citic and Carlyle. Senior associate Elizabeth Wong regularly advises clients on the commercialisation of their IPR and has experience acting for multinational corporates on licensing and franchising agreements.

[back to top]

Investment funds
Investment funds - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s funds and investment management practice in Asia is led by Luke Gannon, who has more than 25 years of experience acting for investors, sponsors and investment banks, among other clients. A notable growth area for the firm has been in real estate funds; Gannon recently acted for Aviva Real Estate Investors in its investment into a Japan-based real estate fund focused on the local student housing sector, and also advised Igis Asset Management on the formation of a real estate fund seeking to raise capital across 20 jurisdictions for the purpose of investing in commercial properties in South Korea. In the hedge funds sphere, the team has been active in a number of fund restructures, which recently saw Gannon handling the restructuring of multi-strategy fund for Lygh Capital. The firm also demonstrates strong capabilities in various other asset classes, such as private equity buyout funds, infrastructure funds, debt funds and retail funds.

[back to top]

Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper suffered the recent departures of Julia Gorham and David Smail to Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Anita Lam to Clifford Chance. Nevertheless, the team is still able to call upon the expertise of numerous associates, who regularly works alongside lawyers in the firm’s strong Beijing office on a range of employment issues including those associated with major multi-jurisdictional M&A/restructuring projects handled by the firm.

[back to top]

Private equity
Private equity - ranked: tier 5

DLA Piper

Led by Gloria Liu, DLA Piper’s Hong Kong private equity team is keyed into the firm’s broader Asian practice, which recently experienced growth in Shanghai following several partner hires. Active across the spectrum of mid-market private equity and growth capital transactions, the team has built up some robust relationships with funds in the region including Hillhouse Capital, China Everbright and Ping An Ventures. The team handles the full spectrum of work including secondary buyouts, take-private acquisitions and exits. Recent highlights include Liu’s work for EQT on its investment in Changshui Education Group and for Keywise Capital as lead investor on the Series D (pre IPO) financing in Meitu.

Next generation lawyers

Sue Yang - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Projects and energy
Projects and energy - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper augmented its projects practice with the hire of project finance expert Matthias Schemuth from Ashurst, Schemuth joins China head of energy Carolyn Dong and head of finance and projects Paul Lee. The firm continues to impress in the energy sector, especially for Chinese clients. It advised Shanghai-listed ENN Ecological Holdings, the natural gas company, on its $750m acquisition of Hony Capital’s 12% stake in Santos, the Australian energy company.

Leading individuals

Matthias Schemuth - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s Asia real estate practice is led by Susheela Rivers, who exhibits a ‘good combination of solid legal experience and keen business sense’. Her Hong Kong team includes Wayne Ma, who led the advice to Carlyle Asia on the sale of Central Plaza office tower in Shanghai to V Capital, the private equity arm of Chinese real estate developer Vanke. Supported by Ma and senior associate Janice Yau Garton, Rivers led the advice to China Orient regarding a resort acquisition and development in the Maldives through a leasehold structure, including entering into a BVI joint venture arrangement with a local Maldives entity. Other clients include Sino-Ocean Group, Gaw Capital, The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Pradera.

Leading individuals

Susheela Rivers - DLA Piper

Next generation lawyers

Janice Yau Garton - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Regulatory
Regulatory - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper handles financial services work covering traditional securities matters as well as fintech and other technology-related matters. Jonathan Leitch assisted Optal Asia with its successful application for a HKMA stored value facility license, while Scott Thiel advised Goldman Sachs on the regulatory aspects of several data centre outsourcing transactions. Harris Chan has mobile payments and securities regulation expertise, including successfully defending a client in a private prosecution brought under section 298 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance, securing a costs order against the private prosecutor. Other clients include Samsung Electronics and Aviva. Karl Buch relocated to the firm’s New York office.

[back to top]

Restructuring and insolvency
Restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s three-partner team ‘provides highly pertinent and commercial advice’ to a broad range of stakeholders, particularly in relation to multi-jurisdictional mandates where it is able to work alongside practitioners across the firm’s wide-ranging network of global offices. Team head Mark Fairbairn has an excellent reputation on behalf of bondholders and is advising an ad hoc bondholder group on Hong Kong and New York law issues associated with the restructuring of China Shanshui Cement. The ‘very trustworthyJonathan Leitch excels at handling complex creditor-side work and is currently acting for the lenders (including Rabobank and Standard Chartered Bank) regarding their exposures in the Pacific Andes/China Fisheries Group; notably the mandate has to date involved court and insolvency proceedings in nine separate jurisdictions and has involved significant input from across the firm’s global network. The ‘very strong’ Ashley Bell has a focus on contentious insolvency matters.

Leading individuals

Mark Fairbairn - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Shipping
Shipping - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

Aided by a significant presence in Beijing and Shanghai, DLA Piper’s Hong Kong office handles disputes and commercial/transactional work in the Greater China area and beyond. Cantonese and Mandarin speaker Ernest Yang has strong ties with numerous PRC clients and handles a range of shipping disputes, including charterparty and cargo matters, as part of his broader commercial litigation practice. Yang is representing Better Marine, a Chinese brokerage company, in an important case concerning the recovery of commission. Nicholas Mallard is particularly well regarded at handling complex shipbuilding disputes and Kevin Chan is also recommended. Other clients include Pacific Crest and Guangdong Yuexin Ocean Engineering.

Leading individuals

Nicholas Mallard - DLA Piper

[back to top]

TMT
TMT - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s team has been strengthened by a number of lateral hires in recent years, most recently that of technology associate Hayden Lau from Latham & Watkins LLP in March 2017. The TMT practice is particularly strong in the fintech space, where work has included advice on joint ventures, regulatory and licensing matters. As a result of his IP and computer science background, Scott Thiel has real insight into the technical aspects underscoring the ICT and outsourcing projects handled by the team; he recently advised Payoneer Hong Kong on the local regulatory issues impacting on its payment services offerings in Hong Kong. Thiel also regularly advises traditional banks on their outsourcing projects including his recent work for new client Goldman Sachs on a data centre outsourcing project with a Japanese telecoms company. Of counsel Carolyn Bigg has a focus on data protection across Asia Pacific.

[back to top]

Tax and trusts
Tax and trusts - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is active across the gamut of tax planning and structuring for corporates on their inbound and outbound transactions (where it frequently works alongside the office’s M&A team), as well as handling contentious matters and advising high-net-worth individuals on complex tax, trusts and estate planning issues. The Hong Kong team is also a vital part of the firm’s global transfer pricing offering and acts for clients from the IT, technology, equipment manufacturing and semiconductor sectors on a range of issues including planning new transfer pricing policies, valuation of transfer prices or support with dispute resolution. Anderson Lam has an excellent reputation for handling local and cross-border tax issues and, alongside Doris Ho, recently acted for a major multinational corporate on the regional coordination related to its global reorganisation project. In addition to his work on the corporate tax planning front, Patrice Marceau is also regularly involved in wealth planning for individual estates, trusts funds and company assets. Head of tax for Asia Daniel Chan is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Daniel Chan - DLA Piper

[back to top]

Hong Kong: Capital markets

Debt
Capital markets (debt) - ranked: tier 5

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s team has expertise in a broad cross-section of debt products, including high-yield debt, investment grade securities and RMB dim sum bonds. It is also knowledgeable about various types of equity-linked products, including convertible bonds and exchangeable bonds. Melody He-Chen, who is the lead partner in the team, worked with of counsel Janny Tai to advise Chiho Environmental Group as the issuer on a $200m notes offering. Yue Xue Securities and China ZhengTong Auto Services Holdings are other key clients.

[back to top]

Equity
Capital markets (equity) - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s team has ‘strong technical skills, understands the commercial issues well and provides solutions that are practical and business-friendly’. It is particularly active in advising issuers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan on their listings in Hong Kong and the US, as well as assisting with their post-listing compliance and regulatory issues, and follow-on offerings. In 2016, Liu Wei (who splits his time between the Hong Kong and Beijing offices), of counsel Christina Loh and others acted for PRC-headquartered Smart-Core Holdings on its HK$230m Hong Kong IPO and Main Board listing. The firm’s other clients include Fosun International, Ping An Insurance, China Shenhua Energy Company and China Southern Airlines. Melody He-Chen ‘pays very good attention to detail’ and Janny Tai is ‘very hardworking’. In 2016, Jeffrey Mak departed to establish Jeffrey Mak Law Firm and Stephen Peepels moved to Hogan Lovells.

[back to top]

Hong Kong: Dispute resolution

International arbitration
Dispute resolution: international arbitration - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

The ‘professional’ lawyers at DLA Piperalways provide quick advice and use their experience to give valuable advice’. Ernest Yang has ‘a good common law background and experience in dispute resolution – his strength is to tease the frame of the case and decide on a winning strategy’; he represented Pacific Crest in a dispute regarding a failure to deliver two platform supply vessels. In another case, Ashley Bell acted for the liquidators of a geophysical survey company in an arbitration against its creditors. Other highlights concern telecoms, aviation, shipping and commodities matters. At associate level, Yuki Chan is ‘a good communicator with clients and can easily grasp what they need’.

Leading individuals

Ernest Yang - DLA Piper

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Litigation
Dispute resolution: litigation - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

Key names to note at DLA Piper are co-regional managing partner Satpal Gobindpuri, who handles high-profile multi-jurisdictional disputes; construction partner Harris Chan, who is ‘one of the most business-minded lawyers out there’; head of the Asia litigation and regulatory practice and Hong Kong managing partner Kevin Chan, who is particularly noted for representing Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs); Ashley Bell, who handles the contentious insolvency matters, and May Ng, who was promoted to the partnership in May 2016 and handles international commercial disputes. Among a raft of recent instructions, the team worked with its network offices in PRC, Poland, Hungary, Russia and Slovakia to pursue various recovery actions for Ubiquiti Networks following a cybercrime.

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Hong Kong: Regulatory

Anti-corruption and compliance
Regulatory: anti-corruption and compliance - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

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.

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Further information on DLA Piper LLP (US)

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Legal Developments by:
DLA Piper LLP (US)

  • Sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter

    In February 2010 the Sentencing Guidelines Council (the SGC) issued definitive guidelines to courts on imposing appropriate sentences for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences causing death. The SGC states that fines imposed on companies found guilty of corporate manslaughter should not fall below £500,000, while fines in respect of health and safety offences that are a significant cause of death should be at least £100,000. Crucially, the SGC declined to provide for a fixed link between the imposed fine and the turnover or profitability of the offending company.

    - DLA Piper UK LLP

Legal Developments in Hong Kong

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