Labour and employment in Hong Kong

Baker McKenzie

The employment team at Baker McKenzie acts for domestic and international clients in both contentious and non-contentious matters. With the firm having a strong international network, the practice is well placed to handle multijurisdictional cases. It is also able to draw on strengths in ancillary areas, such as immigration, pensions, tax, disputes, and data privacy and protection. Rowan McKenzie advises on employment structures and mobility arrangements, disputes and terminations. He co-heads the practice with Jonathan Isaacs, whose expertise includes labour union issues, collective bargaining, compliance and employment-related corporate work. Special counsel Sonia Wong handles advisory and contentious issues, including work injury, discrimination and sexual harassment claims.

Other key lawyers:

Roberta Chan; Sonia Wong

Testimonials

‘Always provide practical solution to issues. Very responsive and efficient team.’

Jonathan Isaacs. His advice is always clear, direct to point, practical and balanced.

‘Jonathan Isaacs. Practical, confident and calm under pressure.’

‘They take the pulse meticulously and are sensitive to the issues, and always provide our organization with all-encompassing and practical solutions.’

‘Top-notch professionals to work with, individually, or as a team.’

‘They listen, and understand what we can do and what not.’

Key clients

Hong Chi Association

Deacons

Deacons has recently seen a large number of instructions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including those concerning health and safety, data privacy, restructuring and redundancy, and other cost-saving matters. In addition to advising on non-contentious matters, the team continues to represent clients in litigation at all court levels, ranging from labour tribunals to the High Court. The practice is led by Cynthia Chung, who has considerable experience of advising local and international clients on employment and HR matters, and is appointed as the vice president of the Employment Law Alliance (ELA) network. Elsie Chan is recommended for contentious matters and often acts for employers in disputes with former employees. In recent developments, Helen Liao made partner, while Vickie Leung was promoted to counsel.

Practice head(s):

Cynthia Chung

Other key lawyers:

Elsie Chan; Vickie Leung; Helen Liao

Testimonials

‘Deacons employment team is resourceful, responsive and practical. They are reputable in the employment field with lots of experience handling a wide range of employment related cases. They are able to provide valuable insights, current market practice and practical solutions for different employment issues.’

‘Elsie Chan is the partner I go to for HK employee law issues. She is readily contactable, responds quickly to the point with practical solutions. She is knowledgeable both in terms of the laws and the market practice.’

‘Deacons’ labour and employment practice provides very good and practical advice on the full spectrum of employment-related matters.The team is always helpful and responsive.’

Cynthia Chung is very quick thinking and strives to provide sensible solutions to problems which often go beyond pure legal advice.

Deacons has a strong reputation and long history in HK. Their knowledge is well spread in multiple industries and they are able to react to new legal problems/issues well by closely connecting their partners’ experience and knowledge together to serve a client in a holistic way.’

We highly recommend Elsie Chan. We have worked with her for years and she never disappoints us. Knowledgeble, abreast with the latest legal position and market trends. She solves problems and never over works matters. She has very strong bargaining power and represent us in many disputes and negotiations.’

Deep industry experience and strong commercial acumen.’

The team has in-depth knowledge of the ever-revolving nature of labour and employment law, in particular, the challenges and opportunities brought about by the pandemic.’

Key clients

Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR)

LVMH Group

Ralph Lauren

Chanel

Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited

Schroder Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited

HashKey Group

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong

Maxim’s Caterers Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a food, beverage and restaurant chain that owns over 1,000 outlets in Hong Kong, China, Cambodia and Vietnam on managing out staff, reducing staff salary and imposing no-pay leave arrangements when business was substantially affected by COVID-19.
  • Acted for two senior executives of a fund management company in making various claims at the Labour Tribunal, including unlawful dismissal, wrongful termination and non-payment of wages.
  • Advised an international luxury brand in relation to an injunction sought against a high level executive to be employed by client under a restrictive covenant with a previous employer.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown fields a ‘well-resourced’ team with ‘unrivalled experience and expertise’ in employment matters. Its dedicated full-service practice is well-supported by its international network, which makes it well-positioned to handle multijurisdictional HR and employment matters. The team has considerable experience of disputes, transactional matters and strategic employment issues. Duncan Abate is recommended for employment and employee benefits law and regulation work. He co-heads the practice with Hong Tran, who handles compliance and discrimination matters. Litigator Jennifer Tam is experienced in representing clients in a range of settings, from the Labour Tribunal to the Court of Final Appeal.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Abate; Hong Tran

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Tam; Joe Choy

Testimonials

‘A strong team which is practical and to the point with advice and boasts a strong client pull.’

‘Duncan Abate is a legend in employment laws. Hong Tran is a huge pleasure to work with and very sharp. Jennifer Tam, a younger partner, but with incisive qualities.’

‘A well-resourced team with a number of lawyers at different levels.’

‘Undoubted leader in the Hong Kong market. Unrivalled experience and expertise in this field.’

Simmons & Simmons

The employment team at Simmons & Simmons offers ‘an excellent depth of knowledge and good response times’. It handles contentious and advisory matters for clients such as international investment banks, financial institutions, insurers, government agencies and multinational corporates. The practice leverages support from its international network to advise on cross-border cases and works closely with its investigations group to assist clients with internal investigations and whistleblowing matters. Fiona Loughrey, who heads up the team, has over 30 years of employment experience; she is qualified in England and Wales, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. Sarah Berkeley advises financial institutions and asset manager clients on advisory matters, investigations and disputes. Matthew Durham left for Gall in August 2020.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Loughrey

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Berkeley

Testimonials

Simmons & Simmons is right up there among top firms in the HK labour and employment legal space in terms of giving clients quick, clear and practical advice. We really appreciate their team’s hard work in supporting our company on labour related issues and initiatives.’

‘Fiona Loughrey is always available whenever we need her. She is extremely knowledgeable and has so much experience in the employment field that we always think of her when we need advice especially on the most challenging issues.’

‘The employment practice is supported by a solid corporate practice, hence, firm is able to advise on employment issues which have implications under the Listing Rules and general company law, particularly where the client is a listed company.’

‘Breadth and depth of knowledge of Fiona Loughrey. Experience of advising on CEO-level employment issues. Quick response time.’

‘Excellent depth of knowledge and good response times. Easy to read and use advice.’

Sarah Berkeley – absolutely professional. As a client, I am always confident with the advice she provided. Super reliable.

Bird & Bird

The Hong Kong employment team at Bird & Bird is led by Pattie Walsh, with support being provided by Ying Wang in Shanghai. It acts for domestic and multinational companies on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Recent mandates included multijurisdictional restructuring projects and COVID-19-related advisory work. In addition, the firm has seen an uptick in contentious work, such as defending employers in Labour Tribunal proceedings. Walsh is a member of the firm’s international board and chairs its diversity and inclusion leadership group. Senior managing associate Jeannette Tam is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and acts for a number of international clients.

Practice head(s):

Pattie Walsh; Ying Wang

Other key lawyers:

Diana Purdy; Jeannette Tam

DLA Piper

DLA Piper acts for a range of employers in the banking, financial services, insurance, retail, life sciences, technology and hospitality sectors. It has recently been handling a number of COVID-19-related workplace issues, layoffs and redundancies, mental health in the workplace, harassment, bullying and discrimination matters. Leaning on its global network for strength, the practice handles mandates in Greater China and across the Asia-pacific region. Practice head Helen Colquhoun is qualified in Hong Kong, England & Wales and New York, which supports her credentials in multijurisdictional employment projects. Colquhoun has particular experience of director-level and sensitive terminations and investigations. Of counsel Wendy Wong joined from Simmons & Simmons in November 2021.

Practice head(s):

Helen Colquhoun

Other key lawyers:

Wundy Lee; Wendy Wong

Testimonials

Nothing phases the DLA Piper team – they approach every engagement with an open mind, whether it be a run-of-the-mill query or an unusual situation. DLA Piper are very solution-oriented – very pragmatic and commercial. For us, teaming both HK and PRC guidance was very valuable and allowed a full view of the project without having to engage multiple firms.’

Helen can always be relied on to deliver swift, reliable and tailored guidance. She has a strong appreciation of the human side of employment advice coupled with a keen appreciation of potential impacts upon the business.’

Helen Colquhoun is very professional, helpful and responsive. She always provide immediate response with professional advice and highlight any concern to our attention. She’s reliable and we are happy to get her consultation without doubt.’

Howse Williams

Independent Hong Kong law firm Howse Williams acts for both employers and employees on general advisory matters and disputes. It is experienced in termination and remuneration claims, and also advises on enforcement of post-termination restrictions, discrimination claims and partnership disputes. The team also handles regulatory and immigration matters, and has considerable experience of advising clients on Labour Tribunal proceedings and District and High Court actions. Team head Patricia Yeung frequently acts for clients in the financial services sector; she is well versed in the employment aspects of M&A, business transfers and the negotiation of exit packages for high-level employees.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Yeung

Testimonials

‘Patricia Yeung is very knowledgable in the labour and employment practice area and always happy to assist with big and small matters.’

HW has a great team, headed by Patricia Yeung. The team is very technically savvy but also practical and commercial.’

‘Patricia Yeung is chronically underrated. She is one of the best employment lawyers in Hong Kong.’

‘It is a small team with great expertise. They are easy to work with and provide excellent advice that is easy to comprehend and apply.’

Patricia Yeung (Partner) – exemplary knowledge of the law and application to our businesses needs. Dedicated and easy to work with.’

‘Patricia Yeung has a great bedside manner and therefore is very suited to helping individuals.’

‘Michael Withington – cool and calm – has seen it all. Patricia Yeung – a very hard worker who will go the extra mile to serve her clients.’

Key clients

China Everbright Securities (HK) Limited / Everbright Sun Hung Kai

Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association

Hong Kong Airlines Limited

Richemont Asia Pacific Limited

ARRI Asia Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the defendant in a High Court action (HCA 2545/2016) brought against him by FHL Holdings (his former employer).
  • Acting for the defendant in a High Court action (HCA 2135/2019) commenced by Shareholder Value Fund (a fund) and CM Asset Management (Hongkong) Company Limited (the fund manager) involving alleged breaches of employment duties and director’s duties in respect of investments made during the client’s employment.
  • Acting for China Everbright Securities(HK) Limited as defendant in a High Court action (HCA1076/2019) regarding alleged unpaid commission payments from 2011 onwards claimed by the plaintiff.

Tanner De Witt

Independent Hong Kong firm Tanner De Witt generates referrals from other independent and international law firms, and it is equally strong in both contentious and non-contentious matters. The practice has recently seen a number of instructions relating to the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law and the COVID-19 pandemic, including advice on the Hong Kong government’s wage subsidy scheme, work-from-home arrangements, and sickness and termination issues. With Kim Boreham stepping into a consultancy role, the team is now led solely by Russell Bennett, who focuses on handling contentious employment matters for senior regulated individuals.

Practice head(s):

Russell Bennett

Other key lawyers:

Kim Boreham

Testimonials

Russell Bennett is hard-wired to help people and make tough times lighter and more bearable – absolute pleasure to work with.’

‘Excellent Hong Kong experience, and knowledge of the Hong Kong courts and the individuals in the court system.’

‘Russell Bennett has a very good “big picture” view of the case and how his client’s position should be presented in court.’

Russell Bennett – exceptionally talented and knowledgeable.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a senior executive of a corporate finance company in relation to her claim against her former employer for the guaranteed bonus which was delayed and then withheld by them on the basis that the bonus should be set off against the alleged and disputed negligent work by her.
  • Acting for a leading insurance loss adjusting services provider in relation to proceedings in the High Court (against ten defendants), seeking a springboard injunction and other relief relating to the removal of confidential information following a team departure.
  • Advised an international investment bank in relation to a number of employment matters arising in the past year, including issues relating to breaches of internal policies, the handling and management of internal investigations, disciplinary procedure and the termination of employment and separations.

Clifford Chance

Led by senior consultant Anita Lam, Clifford Chance's team continues to advise large multinational corporates and financial institutions on cross-border employment litigation, M&A-related employment issues and investigations. It also handles day-to-day employment matters, pensions and data privacy work, and has recently seen a number of instructions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lam is a solicitor advocate, fraud examiner and accredited mediator. She has more than two decades of experience in Asian employment law.

Practice head(s):

Anita Lam

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Cheng

Testimonials

We picked CC for their expertise across both employment and contentious regulatory matters, as our survey of the HK market found that not many top tier firms had senior level expertise in both areas.

‘Anita Lam has a good knowledge of a wide range of topics/areas in the employment/labour field. Good response times and easy to read advice.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a financial services multinational in fending off a high-profile high court case brought by its former senior executive for incentives and recently securing a landslide victory in fending off long running and extensive discovery application.
  • Assisting a global bank with implementing its global disciplinary policy in 16 APAC jurisdictions in line with the US regulator’s expectations, and overcoming the potential obstacles posed by local labour law restrictions.
  • Assisted a global financial multinational with various employment issues throughout the year, including various #metoo investigations, complaints to the Privacy Commissioner, complaint to the regulator, and labour tribunal cases.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland, which acts for clients ranging from individuals to large multinationals, has recently advised on C-suite dismissals, COVID-19 issues and litigation involving issues over post-termination covenants. The team is led by Shanghai-based Jack Cai and Hong Kong-based Jennifer Van Dale, who specialises in non-contentious employment and data privacy work. Rachael Shek left for Clyde & Co LLP in December 2020.

Practice head(s):

Jack CaiJennifer Van Dale

Other key lawyers:

Mark Hughes

Testimonials

‘Depth of knowledge and experience. Advice is practical and benchmarked to market practice. Diverse team lead by a strong female partner. Unparalleled commitment to service and ability calibrate staffing to meet the needs to the client and transaction/matter needs.’

Jennifer van Dale. She has deep experience in the Hong Kong market and is a pre-eminent subject matter expert. Paired with that, she takes a commercial and problem-solving approach to her advice, so it is useful to her clients. She is a proactive partner to her clients.’

Eversheds Sutherland provides very practical business advice, as well as excellent legal advice, versus some other firms that simply write extensive memos quoting law but without any conclusions.’

Jennifer Van Dale is the driving force behind the Hong Kong employment practice at Eversheds Sutherland. She is an exceptional lawyer with practical advice that is actionable. Her depth and breadth of knowledge in employment law is outstanding.’

Key clients

Kering

FTI

Rolls Royce

Li & Fung

Mandarin Oriental Hotels

Robert Half International

China Mobile International

JAS Worldwide

Work highlights

  • Assisted JAS Worldwide with its acquisition of France’s Geopost to acquire its Tigers freight forwarding subsidiary.

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills' team in Hong Kong is part of a larger Greater China practice, which undertakes dispute resolution, investigations and advisory work for global corporates. The group often handles complex cross-border employment litigation and it works closely with colleagues active in other disciplines in investigations, particularly the financial services regulatory team. Tess Lumsdaine, who was recently promoted to senior consultant, leads the team; she has considerable experience of the financial services, technology, consumer and pharmaceutical sectors. Gareth Thomas leads on a number of employment disputes.

Practice head(s):

Tess Lumsdaine

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Thomas

Testimonials

‘The Herbert Smith Freehills employment law team has notable strength across the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, as well as related fields of employee data privacy, disputes resolution, etc. Tess Lumsdaine is a stand out name in the team as a highly regarded employment lawyer who offers practical and commercial advice.’

‘Tess Lumsdaine has her finger on the pulse for all employment matters and is particularly valuable for highly changeable and topical matters, such as regulatory-driven changes impacting the way that businesses interact with and manage their employees.’

Key clients

BHP

Collins Aerospace

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Credit Suisse

Toll Group

Work highlights

  • Representing a joint venture entity of a global defence operator in defending breach of statutory duty, and negligence claims arising from the fatality of a contractor’s employee and the injury of another employee following an explosion on premises adjacent to those operated by the client.
  • Engaged by a global asset manager to investigate suspected misconduct of an employee relating to the misappropriation of their employer’s proprietary and confidential information.
  • Acting for a global services company, investigating the suspected theft and misappropriation of company information and the solicitation of other team members by employees moving to a competitor.

Hugill & Ip

Independent local firm Hugill & Ip acts for both employers and employees on contentious and non-contentious matters. It has been notably prominent in equal opportunity/discrimination cases, which are rarely seen in the Hong Kong market. In addition, its group's other wide-ranging experience includes team moves, mass terminations and restructurings. The practice is led by name partner Adam Hugill. Another key individual is Christopher Hooley, who is recommended for advice on employment strategy in connection with team moves and senior executive hires/terminations. Jade Tang joined in June 2020 from Oldham, Li & Nie.

Practice head(s):

Adam Hugill

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Hooley; Jade Tang

Testimonials

Hugill & Ip are a very enjoyable firm to work with. They take care of their clients and are serious about their work, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. They are friendly, approachable and provide solid legal advice.’

‘Adam Hugill is always a reliable referee, particularly for individuals. He is responsive, helpful and has a good bedside manner. I have referred numerous individuals to him. I have also worked with Chris Hooley and found him to be a safe pair of hands and a reassuring presence for clients.’

Adam Hugill gave his time and expertise generously.’

I love the diversity of the team.’

Adam Hugill made my legal matter a breeze thanks to his excellent knowledge and assurance of the process.’

We have always found them to be extremely reliable, responsive and knowledgeable.’

The team has a unique, streamlined structure with no secretarial staff, encouraging self-sufficiency and efficiency. The firm uses a progressive and environmentally-conscious cloud-based system. The firm’s focus on CSR and pro bono work and activities is refreshing. The firm hires diversely and is well-rounded.’

Adam Hugill is highly responsive, immediately alive to the key issues at hand and gives practical, pragmatic and strategic advice.’

Key clients

Charles Taylor B.V.

3 Capital Partners

Hargreaves Services

Daniel Wellington

Paccaya Resources

The Omerta Group

Former Players of R&F Premier League Football Club

Valentino

Lim Advisors

Work highlights

  • Acting for Charles Taylor and 9 individuals in defending claims by their former employer for breach of contract, fiduciary duties, procurement to breach and unlawful conspiracy arising from the transfer of their employment.
  • Advising George Varvitsiotis on defending claims involving share allocations, employee / director misconduct and misappropriation of moneys.
  • Advising LIM Advisors on defending claims for forfeited stock and unpaid discretionary bonuses following the termination of his employment.

Lewis Silkin

The ‘very proactive, practical and very responsive’ team at Lewis Silkin has notable experience in immigration and visa matters, and handles other contentious and non-contentious issues for its clients. Noted for its strong profile among local and international companies, the firm has recently had a number of instructions relating to the National Security Law and the COVID-19 pandemic. Kathryn Weaver, who is dual-qualified in Hong Kong and England & Wales, is the head of the group. She acts for clients such as FTSE 100 companies, household-name brands, gig economy clients and start-ups. Catherine Leung is recommended for strategic advice on recruitment and terminations, discrimination and data privacy matters. The team is greatly boosted by Jezamine Fewins who joined from Stephenson Harwood in January 2022. Fewins’ expertise cuts across employment and IP law with a focus on litigation cases.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Weaver

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Leung; Jezamine Fewins

Testimonials

Incredible personal service by Kat Weaver, the head of the Hong Kong office. Despite her leadership role, she took a personal interest in the content, personally drove the direction and quality of the engagement, and really made me feel as if I were the only client of the firm.’

Kathryn Weaver and Catherine Leung make a formidable partnership.

‘Kathryn Weaver has an amazing ability to balance challenges and provide support. She offers clear advice and can be relied upon to be be a sound critical friend.’

‘Kathryn Weaver is truly phenomenal – very knowledgeable and always available, and most importantly, very pleasant to work with.’

‘The team is very proactive, practical and very responsive. They are very up to date on the current legal landscape in their areas of specialty.’

Key clients

Deliveroo

Willis Towers Watson

LinkedIn

Hannover Re

Chandler Macleod

BSI Group

Grosvenor Group

Sainsbury’s

Bonhams

Work highlights

  • Advising a tech company on multiple Labour Tribunal claims relating to worker status.
  • Advising an international bank on an Asia-Pacific wide project regarding the employment law, immigration, tax, regulatory and data privacy issues involved in permitting its workforce to work abroad during Covid-19.
  • Advising a luxury fashion company on a complex and sensitive sexual harassment, disability discrimination and victimisation claim.

Linklaters

Counsel Samantha Cornelius is the lead contact at Linklaters in Hong Kong, which has a strong profile among large multinational companies and financial institutions. The team has notable experience of advising on employee share schemes, employee transfers and data privacy matters, as well as employment contracts. Contentious work is another cornerstone of the practice, including employee compensation claims and discrimination cases, among other issues. Managing associate Joshua Li and associate Stephanie Lok are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Samantha Cornelius

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Li; Stephanie Lok

Testimonials

‘The team has a diverse background, able to speak straight and directly to the point.’

Samantha Cornelius and Joshua Li – They truly work with us as a team. We had to deal with a specific client issue, they joined us the meeting, helped us to defend the position and safeguarded the important positions. After the meeting, I truly feel that they went to the battlefield with us together, we fought and stood on the same righteous ground.’

The team is professional and clearly understand clients’ needs.’

Thoroughly professional, responsive. A pleasure to work with. Made us feel like a regular paying client. Wonderful team.’

Samantha Cornelius is calm, wise and thoughtful. She is open to new ideas and flexed her advice as needed to accommodate Covid-related changes.’

I am impressed by the strategic nature of Linklaters’ advice, their ability to think outside of the box to find a solution and consistent responsiveness often at very short notice. Key contacts are Samantha Cornelius and Joshua Li.’

The Linklaters employment law team sets itself apart in the way that it truly understands its clients business and workplace culture, and need to take a very personalised approach to its legal advice to ensure that strategies offered fit specifically to that client, rather than a one size fits all approach.

Joshua Li is a standout associate in the Linklaters employment law team and is one to watch. He has an extremely comprehensive knowledge of employment laws in Hong Kong but also in the wider APAC region, and offers practical and commercial advice at a level far exceeding his peers.’

Key clients

Uber

AXA

Bank of East Asia Limited

AlixPartners

Equal Justice

PathFinders

The Bank of New York Mellon

Bank of Montreal

Work highlights

  • Advised Bank of East Asia Limited on employment law and pensions issues arising during the sale of its life insurance unit, BEA Life Limited, to AIA.
  • Advised a Global Technology Company on the strategic management and settlement of contentious employee compensation claims.
  • Advised a Commodity Trading Firm on board-level senior management changes and bespoke remuneration/incentive arrangements.

Minter Ellison

Minter Ellison's ‘strong and very capable employment teamis jointly led by Desmond Liaw and Jonathan Green. It has recently been advising clients on alternative work arrangements, terminations, enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants and discrimination claims. Liaw, who handles contentious and non-contentious matters, is experienced in handling Labour Tribunal proceedings, internal investigations and employment contracts. Green has over 30 years of experience in disputes, and regulatory and government investigations.

Practice head(s):

Desmond LiawJonathan Green

Testimonials

Minter Ellison has a strong and very capable employment team. They are very experienced in this field and can always be relied on to provide practical and useful advice. Their fees are reasonable and service levels are always excellent. Very approachable and easily contactable. Highly recommended.’

I have been impressed with Desmond Liaw – very knowledgeable and experienced in this field. His work product is not only delivered efficiently but is practical and solution oriented, which is always valued, especially during these exceptional times.’

Desmond Liaw is a very capable and responsive lawyer who provides timely and strategic advice for clients.’

Being able to advise on contentious and non-contentious employment matters is a definite plus. Very flexible with fee structures to make things work.

Desmond Liaw – very commercial, understands client needs and gets things done within parameters set by the client.’

Des Liaw and Jonathan Green are some of the best lawyers out there on the subject.’

Desmond is always available to talk, either via a phone call or on Whatsapp. He is responsive and efficient, and the work turnaround time is excellent. We have found his quality of advice and documentation to be very good and practical.’

The team is very flexible and reacts quickly with the necessary competent skill to address any case subject. The high qualification in their field of expertise and the close contact to the client gets good and quick results.’

Key clients

TransAsia Lawyers

Guotai Junan (Hong Kong) Limited

Anglo Chinese Corporate Finance, Limited

Reed Smith Richards Butler

Reed Smith Richards Butler’s employment practice strikes a balance between contentious and non-contentious work. Asha Sharma advises clients on M&A-related employment matters, remote working arrangements, redundancies and labour disputes, among other matters. She works with Stephen Chan and Steve Tam.

Practice head(s):

Asha Sharma

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Chan; Steve Tam

Testimonials

‘Customer-centric and prompt feedback provided.’

The firm is speedy, very professional and excellent and always excels the expectation of client.’

‘A very strong team with expertise in specific areas.’

‘Asha Sharma is passionate, dedicated and highly committed.’

‘Asha Sharma is compassionate, highly ethical, always prompt and ready to serve.’

‘Strong team collaboration.’

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson HarwoodComparative Guides promotional icon, which acts for corporates and individuals clients, has recently advised on a number of issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as returning to work, remote working, company restructurings and lay-offs. Yeeling Wan departed for MB Kemp LLP in September 2020 and Jezamine Fewins joined Lewis Silkin in January 2022.

Other key lawyers:

Ian Childs; Karis Yip; Nathalie Sit

Testimonials

‘Responsive, practical and experienced.’

 

Key clients

Jet Aviation Business Jets (Hong Kong) Limited

Phillips Fine Watches Limited

Mango (Hong Kong Limited)

Formia Airline Supplies Limited

FlightSafety International Limited

Numerous hedge fund employees

FFP (BVI) Limited

BVI Financial Services Commission (HK) Limited

Utmost Worldwide Limited

Assicurazioni Generali SpA

Pacific Hawk Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising various hedge fund employees on a team move to a competing hedge fund, how to deal with their departures and also advising them on the amendment of their employment contracts with the new employer.
  • Advised numerous employers in respect of the proposed redundancy of their staff due to either the business unit closing down in Hong Kong and being relocated out of Hong Kong or the company ceasing operations.
  • Advising Hong Kong news corporations on the impact of the National Security Law and advising them on steps which they could take to limit any impact and reputational damage suffered by them in the event once of their employees was charged with breaching the law and carrying out activities during their work time or using office equipment.

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy‘s team, which is jointly led by of counsel Susana Ng and Victor Ho, handles restructurings, litigation, regulatory matters and investigations across Greater China. Ng has recently been active in a number of matters relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and is recommended for both advisory matters and disputes.

Practice head(s):

Susana Ng; Victor Ho

Testimonials

‘Efficient and great legal assistance.’

‘Fully available and really going the extra mile in solving issues.’

Key clients

Ferrero

Kjeldsens

ING Bank N.V. Hong Kong Branch

Randstad N.V.

Threadneedle Portfolio Services Hong Kong Limited

Ninety One

Lantronix, Inc

Merck Sharp & Dohme (Asia) Ltd.

Capital International Inc.

Alimentation Couche-Tard

Thomson Reuters / Refinitiv

Google

Work highlights

  • Advised Google on its international guide related to supplier relationships (temporary workers, vendors and contractors), internships and changes to terms and conditions of employment (collectively the “Guide”). Assisted Google with reflecting new developments in the law and providing updates on an annual basis.
  • Instructed by Kjeldsens to handle the employee issues in China and Hong Kong arising out of the acquisition of Kelsen Group A.S. by Ferrero from the Campbell Soup Co.
  • Advising Alimentation Couche-Tard on its acquisition from Hong Kong-listed Convenience Retail Asia Ltd. of its entire network of Hong Kong and Macau Circle K-licensed convenience stores, including related employment matters.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's international reach makes it well-positioned to advise clients on cross-border employment matters, in addition to handling local issues. Hong Kong managing partner Simon McConnell, who heads up the team, focuses on contentious employment work, including cases arising from alleged breaches of confidentiality and the enforcement of restrictive covenants, as well as team moves, among other issues. Rosie Ng joined from HFW in March 2021.

Practice head(s):

Simon McConnell

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Ng

Testimonials

‘I have always found Clyde and Co incredibly helpful when asking for advice on employment and labour practices in Hong Kong. Their advice notes always contain the right level of detail, are concise and well laid out. Any follow up advice and questions I have asked have been answered in a timely manner.’

‘Simon McConnell always provides practical advice to the clients.’

Dentons Hong Kong

Dentons Hong Kong's team is integrated into the global employment and labour practice, and the firm is able to leverage its geographical footprint to advise multinational clients on their employment needs worldwide. The group is led by Richard Keady, who is recommended for employment disputes. His experience includes matters involving breaches of confidence and restrictive covenants, as well as disciplinary proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Richard Keady

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Zhuang

Testimonials

I think Dentons’ employment team provides solid and practical employment advice. They don’t just tell you what the law is but help you figure out a solution to a problem. They are also very efficient and always respond promptly to queries. I feel comfortable to just pick up the phone and pick their brains on issues and they are always willing to help.’

Richard Keady and Jenny Zhuang. They both respond very quickly, almost always on the same day, and they are always willing to give me urgent advice over the phone, which is much appreciated.’

Richard Keady and Jenny Zhuang have solid experience in employment matters, both contentious and non-contentious. They provide practical advice at a very reasonable fee. The turnaround time is also quick.

Richard Keady offers insightful and practical advice on labour issues.’

Richard was very friendly and we established a comfortable rapport with him very easily. Our initial call gave me a strong sense of confidence in his knowledge of the subject matter, and I appreciated when he was very direct in advising us that he would prefer to do further research before providing a firm recommendation.

Richard Keady – has a diverse practice and is a solid commercial litigator with a good associate in Jenny Zhuang.’

Key clients

Apple

Amazon

Airbus

Dyson

Quadreal

Best Made Toys

Ion Group

Starwood Hotels

Virgin Atlantic

Crawford

John Lewis

Work highlights

  • Advised Crawford in respect of a mass departure of its Hong Kong work force, including in relation to their investigation of suspected incidents of solicitation of staff members and clients, including injunction proceedings to prevent the senior executive from poaching existing staff and taking customers to the competitor.
  • Acting as employment counsel for Virgin Atlantic.
  • Advised a number of senior bankers at a global investment bank in relation to an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption into the bank’s hiring practices of the children of well-connected business leaders in the PRC.

Gall

Gall's practice saw Andrea Randall move to RPC in January 2021, while Matthew Durham has joined from Simmons & Simmons and he now co-heads the team with Nick Gall. In another development, Kajal Aswani was recruited from Robertsons in July 2020. With the firm being known for its specialism in dispute resolution, contentious work for high-profile clients has historically been an area of strength for the employment practice, although it is also active  in a wide ambit of non-contentious matters. The firm acts for both employers and employees.

Practice head(s):

Nick Gall; Matthew Durham

Other key lawyers:

Felda Yeung; Kajal Aswani

Key clients

TFS Derivatives

Work highlights

  • Acting for the defendant, TFS Derivatives, defending a claim brought by its former employee (the plaintiff) for wrongful and unreasonable termination, unpaid wages and bonus.
  • Representing Zhizhong Yang (the Plaintiff) in respect of his claims against his former employer Nomura (an Investment Bank) for, inter alia, breach of contract, non-payment of bonus and unreasonable dismissal.
  • Acting for Mr Alireza, the former CEO of Noble Group in respect of his dispute against Mr Elman, the Chairman and founder of Noble Group as well as a company called Fleet Overseas (New Zealand) which is allegedly affiliated with Elman.

Kennedys

Kennedys handles a significant amount of advisory work for clients, including contract drafting, policy drafting and IT and data protection matters. Contentious work is also. driver of activity, including wrongful termination claims and discrimination claims. The team is led by corporate and commercial head Richard Bates. Counsel Emily Duncan is qualified in England and Wales, Australia and Hong Kong. She advises individuals and employers on employment law and related litigation.

Practice head(s):

Richard Bates

Other key lawyers:

Emily Duncan

King & Wood Mallesons

The employment team at King & Wood Mallesons sits within the firm's wider corporate and securities and dispute resolution practices. The team is led by Peter Bullock, who has particular knowledge of the TMT and fintech sectors, and is experienced in representing clients in employment disputes before the Hong Kong courts.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bullock

Other key lawyers:

Barbara Chiu

Testimonials

‘The team provides a combination of quality legal advice with practical guidance for how to implement the legal obligations.’

‘There is a care and consideration for our outcomes by KWM. Their advice and guidance takes into account our needs, and they do not merely provide advice to us in isolation.’

Key clients

China Great Wall AMC

Galaxy Digital

Engine Group

Cellap Laboratoire S.A.

Leighton Contractors

Tronox Pigment Bunbury Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Galaxy Digital on obtaining an exemption from the Immigration Department (ImmD) without requiring an employee to comply with the usual exit and re-entry requirement in order to activate a work visa.
  • Advised various clients on COVID19-related employment law issues, including large-scale redundancy programmes, employment termination payments, the Government Employment Support Scheme and other government relief measures.
  • Advising an international skincare product brand on dismissing an employee who was believed to have stolen a cargo of skincare products by diverting the shipment to an accomplice in the PRC.

Oldham, Li & Nie

Led by Anna Chan, Oldham, Li & Nie handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters for high-net-worth individuals and companies. In addition to undertaking day-to-day advisory work, the team represents clients before the Labour Tribunal and in the High Court.

Practice head(s):

Anna Chan

Other key lawyers:

Victor Ng

Key clients

The estate of Sir David Tang, deceased (LBTC 3233/2017 and 3387/2017)

Work highlights

  • Acting for the estate of Sir David Tang in a severance pay dispute against ex-employees.

RPC

With the arrival of Andrea Randall from Gall in January 2021, RPC’s Hong Kong employment offering has been significantly bolstered. It advises both employers and employees on contentious and non-contentious matters. Randall is recommended for high-profile and complex employment litigation, including multijurisdictional disputes.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Randall

Testimonials

‘Strong experience and deep knowledge in the employment area.’

‘Andrea Randall – she is very busy but will always try to make time. She gives very sensible and practical advice. Quick and responsive.’

‘Andrea Randall has a solid reputation as a litigator. She will fight vigorously for her clients.’ 

Andrea Randall – very hard working – willing to bring an independent view to a case.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a solicitor in respect of her allegations that her line manager and employer engaged in discriminatory behaviour in the workplace on the grounds of disability, committed acts of disability harassment, failed to comply with statutory sick leave entitlements and acted in breach of her employment contract.
  • Advising a portfolio manager through the phases of contemplating leaving his current employer and joining a new firm.
  • Advised an ultra-high-net-worth senior banker on an urgent contract variation.