Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Private Client and Family

Loeb & Loeb LLP's trusts and estates team is led by the ‘knowledgeable’ Erik Wallace, who is particularly well-versed at advising on US tax and private wealth issues.

Private Client and Family in Hong Kong

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The ‘extremely hardworking and conscientious’ private client and family team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has rapidly built a reputation as a go-to for individuals and families seeking advice on a variety of matters, ranging from succession planning and wills, to complex trust structures and divorce. Ian Devereux leads the sizeable practice and regularly acts for ultra-high net worth individuals and international families. Lisa Wong has been described as ‘exceptionally knowledgable and supportive’, and she has significant experience in cases with an element of matrimonial law and related matters. The multi-jurisdictional capabilities of the firm are epitomised by Jeffrey Lee's practice, who offers significant tax planning expertise to international clients, especially regarding UK tax and investment issues. Other important members of the team include triple-qualified in New Zealand, England and Wales, and Hong Kong Silvia On, who advises on all aspects of succession planning, including acting as the protector or executor. Praised for her ‘sensible and constructive approach to resolving family disputes’, Vanessa Duff joined the team from Withers in June 2023, bringing extensive experience in cross-border financial disputes and nuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Ian Devereux

Other key lawyers:

Jeffery Lee; Silvia On; Lisa Wong; Patrick Chan; Vanessa Duff; Jessica Leung; Ian Yeung


‘Lisa Wong is a very experienced family lawyer and is very knowledgeable, approachable and helpful.’

‘Vanessa Duff has been phenomenal this year when handing my divorce. She has always given me ample time to discuss things with her face-to-face. She is prompt in her responses and I absolutely believe she has my best interests at heart and will work hard to ensure she gets the best outcome for me.’

‘Over the past five years, Lisa Wong and her colleagues at Charles Russell Speechlys have provided expert support and guidance as I navigated my divorce proceedings.’

‘Charles Russell Speechlys’ family law practice is emerging as one of the best in Hong Kong, displayed by the manner in which they advocate for their clients, yet also remain focused on the broader family issues at hand. This enables them to resolve disputes in the children’s best interests while also avoiding lengthy litigation and expensive trials.’

‘Vanessa Duff has a good international foundation having worked in London for many years. I value her sensible and constructive approach to resolving family disputes. She will try hard to find a resolution rather than inflaming matters.’

‘Silvia On gives great advice. She points out both the pros and cons of certain actions. Ian Yeung is great with details, and they make a formidable team. Very happy to work with them.’

‘Jeffrey Lee is one of the few lawyers who understand UK high-net-worth clients’ needs, including their cultural differences in Asia.’

‘Lisa Wong is a pre-eminent family law solicitor in Hong Kong. She is a highly respected practitioner who brings decades of experience and knowledge to her clients’ cases.’

Stephenson Harwood

Underpinned by a substantial global network of offices, Stephenson Harwood's private client team in Hong Kong is regularly engaged on a wide range of high-profile matters, providing advice on trusts, estates, philanthropy, and multi-jurisdictional tax issues. Kevin Lee heads the practice and has an excellent reputation for representing numerous high-net-worth clients on diverse matters, including succession planning and asset preservation. Drawing from his extensive knowledge of Canadian and UK tax law, Lee is often sought after the most high profile, legally complex and multi-jurisdictional trust disputes. Wei Kang is a key contact for trustees and institutions seeking advice on asset protection structures and fiduciary risks, while associate Tze-wei Ng is renowned for her detailed understanding of ESG matters and charities, which allows her to effectively advise on strategic philanthropy and impact investing. Ross Davidson, who joined the firm in 2023 from Macfarlanes LLP, is a trilingual (English, Mandarin, and Italian) international tax and trust law expert.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Lee

Other key lawyers:

Wei Kwang; Ross Davidson; Tze-wei Ng


‘The team has strong capabilities in serving high-net-worth individuals in Greater China. It can provide compliant and practical solutions from several different aspects, such as customers’ specific needs, legal compliance, and tax efficiency.’

‘The solutions provided are implemented accurately. It is noted that the team also has good cooperation and connections with other law firms, private banks and related service institutions, and can well support customers’ needs in different aspects.’

‘Wei Kang demonstrated a high level of professionalism and rigorous attitude during the cooperation process. She has extensive knowledge and experience in Canadian taxation, Hong Kong legal affairs, and offshore trusts. She can guide and help clients design and select offshore structures and solutions. She can complete the work efficiently and with high quality. She is also good at proposing high-value propositions. opinions and suggestions.’

‘Wei Kang is are able to combine external resources very well in the field and expand their service areas to solve legal and tax issues in the United States and mainland China, which is of great significance to both partners and clients.’

Work highlights

  • Advising one of the largest PRC banks on setting up PRC onshore trust structures with Canadian resident beneficiaries.
  • Advised a UK client on structuring a Singaporean trust to acquire a Monaco company which holds a real property in France.
  • Advising an ultra-high-net-worth individual who is moving back to Canada.


Lauded by a client as ‘the most experienced and well-resourced private client and family team in Hong Kong’, Withers continues to excel in advising high-net-worth individuals, their families, advisers, and family offices. International and cross-border issues, such as complicated financial arrangements or estate planning, form a sweet spot of the firm’s offering. Katie Graves has particular expertise in advising UK expatriates and Asian families with UK connections on their personal tax issues, and co-leads the team alongside Jocelyn Tsao, who is praised as 'simply the best, whether in terms of legal knowledge, or team and client management’ and has represented clients in some of the most high-profile cases before the courts of Hong Kong. Tsao is a keen advocate for the voices of children throughout the divorce and custody process. Other key names at a partner level include the ‘dynamic and hard-working’ Billy KoAlex Chung, who specialises in cross-border probate matters with an emphasis on estates with US connections; as well as Anisha Ramanathan, who is experienced in all areas of matrimonial law with a ‘deep understanding of children’s arrangements’. Trust and succession planning expert Deirdre Fu and experienced litigator Samantha Gershon are also recommended. In team news, Anisha Ramanathan was recently promoted to partnership, while Vanessa Duff joined Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in June 2023 and Tim George left to become the CEO at Loke Family Office.

Practice head(s):

Katie Graves; Jocelyn Tsao

Other key lawyers:

Paul Jebely; Michelle Chow; Billy Ko; Deirdre Fu; Samantha Gershon; Alex Chung; Anisha Ramanathan; Ethan Yu


‘Jocelyn Tsao excels in all areas. She has dealt with the most complex cases, and there is very little she has not seen or done. She is direct and supportive with clients, and respected by her opponents. Billy Ko is so easy to work with. He knows what he’s doing, especially with cases that have international and cross-border dimensions. Anisha Ramanathan is excellent in children’s matters. She has a deep understanding of children’s arrangements and is able to resolve difficult conflicts with difficult opponents.’

‘Alex Chung is a very responsive, diligent, knowledgeable and resourceful lawyer. His combined qualities are unique in his field. His performance and deliverables are outstanding.’

‘I live in the US and am using Withers for legal issues in Hong Kong. They have been great from an international perspective and they have navigated U.S. and Hong Kong institutions well. The instructions they give are always clear.’

‘Billy Ko and Jocelyn Tsao of Withers stand out because they are extremely hard working and will always go the extra mile for their clients. Billy Ko is developing a name for himself both in the local market and in Mainland China.’

‘Withers has the advantage of having a wide international outlook with commensurate support.’

‘Samantha Gershon has a very wide background, having spent some time in criminal law, and this proves very helpful. She is thorough, attentive to detail, and thoughtful in her work. She would be my go-to partner in the firm.’

‘Billy Ko is a dynamic and hard working family practitioner. Anisha Ramanathan is also highly motivated and diligent. Samantha Gershon is a sympathetic and caring person.’

‘Anisha Ramanathan is the new star of the team. She overcame fierce competition to be made a partner – a testament to her abilities and determination.’


The team at Deacons frequently advises prominent high-net-worth individuals and families on a wide scope of areas, such as matrimonial law, family disputes, contentious probate, and tax and trust-related mandates. Sherlynn Chan leads the team and is an expert in family and mental capacity law, regularly handling complex and sensitive matrimonial cases including divorce, separation, cohabitation, and financial claims, as well as children matters. Chan is supported by Cecilia Lau, who brings expertise to family dispute resolution, including cross-border divorce and separation cases. Further key figures include recently promoted partner Tana Chan, who specialises in wealth and succession planning, and senior associate Hazel Wong, who brings experience to matters involving vulnerable clients. Stefano Mariani departed the firm in June 2023 to join Baker McKenzie.

Practice head(s):

Sherlynn Chan

Other key lawyers:

Cecilia Lau; Hazel Wong; Tana Chan


‘Private clients commonly seek advice on family, planning and succession issues, but often those issues inter-linked with corporate, tax, property and litigation matters. As such, the wide variety of Deacons’ practices serve as the crucial support to the private client practice.’

‘Individuals of the private client team, led by the Sherlynn Chan, come with vast experience in dispute resolution and mediation, profound understanding of family dynamics and related issues, such as family trust, dealing with incapacity and death, all of which assist in providing valuable insights and consideration in giving advice to lay clients.’

‘Strong private client experience, and also general litigation know-how.’

‘Sherlynn Chan has extensive experience in private client matters and provides very good client care.’

‘Their team, headed by Sherlynn Chan, is exceptionally strong in the market. They are well-known for their work relating to appointment of mental health committee for individuals who have lost their mental capacity, enduring power of attorney, and also broader private client disputes such as family and divorce proceedings.’

‘Apart from a strong team of lawyers at all levels, they are assisted by those with accounting backgrounds and can offer a well-rounded, one-stop solution.’

‘Sherlynn Chan is a go-to for any big private client matter, especially involving individuals with challenges to their mental capacity. Very user friendly and commands the trust and respect of client, practitioners and the bench a like.’

‘Sherlynn Chan is a very experienced family lawyer who is visible, hardworking, and engaging. The wills and probate partner Tana Chan is very thorough and has great client manner.’

Hugill & Ip

Described as ‘the market leader in niche practice areas of private client, management of family wealth, trusts, probate and estates litigation’, Hugill & Ip continues to leverage its commercial litigation and private client team’s capabilities to provide specialist and focussed advice to prominent families and high-net-worth individuals in Hong Kong and Greater China. The firm’s practice also covers family law matters, regularly advising on issues such as nuptial agreements, divorce and adoption. Regarded as ‘the top litigator in Hong Kong’Alfred Ip leads the team and has a strong regional reputation, especially for his expertise regarding trusts and estate planning. The team welcomed litigators Caroline McNally and Kajal Aswani in November 2023, both joined from Gall in November 2023.

Practice head(s):

Alfred Ip

Other key lawyers:

Raphael Wong; Jacqueline Cheng; Geraint Ho; Caroline McNally; Kajal Aswani


‘Alfred Ip and Geraint Ho are highly responsible and their advice is always on point. They are able to grasp complex issues and distill it in a concise and easy to understand manner.’

‘Hugill & Ip is a boutique law firm, and is the market leader in niche practice areas of private client, management of family wealth, trusts, probate and estates litigation. It has one of the highest concentration of such cases in the market. With its energetic and client-oriented approach in terms of case management and problem solving, it breathes new life into what is otherwise a conventional area of law.’

‘Alfred Ip is consistently regarded as the top litigator in Hong Kong in the area of trusts, estates and private client disputes.’

‘Sophisticated and thorough knowledge of private client issues. Alfred Ip and Jacqueline Cheng are service oriented and knowledgeable.’

‘They have a truly rounded team – with expertise in trusts and estates, as well as the whole gamut of family disputes. They focus on strategic solutions, and are not afraid to give clients frank advice. They are very well resourced and have excellent partner-associate support.’

‘Alfred Ip is the best trusts and estates solicitor in Hong Kong and has quickly become highly respected for his family work. He has a strategic and aggressive mind that allows him to solve the unsolvable. He understands business better than any of the other family lawyers and can arrange an effective team to execute. He has unparalleled technical ability and experience across the different areas of private client law that make him incomparable.’

‘Raphael Wong is the leading associate in this firm. He has excellent judgement and and a superb worth ethic. He has a very bright future indeed.’

‘HIP is a more boutique firm so lawyers are more hands-on and accessible. A younger firm with younger lawyers.’

Key clients

Pamela Aldred/Elysium Ltd

Cornwall Agency Company Limited

Alvarez & Marshall



Henry Li

Ellie Oo Yi Lo

Yang Wen

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in successfully obtaining and injunction, and successfully continued the injunction despite being contested, against the trustee of the family trust for disposing of the trust assets pending final determination.
  • Acting for a company in a dispute among family members on the redevelopment of the property held by the company valued at HK$749m.
  • Acting for professionals in managing the financial affairs of the MIP when her children are in multiple legal proceedings regarding assets disposition made in the course of her alleged incapacity.

Tanner De Witt

The team at Tanner De Witt consists of ‘very experienced and respected’ family lawyers, who are often ‘not afraid of compromise over conflict where it is in the best interests of the client’. The practice fervently handles complex cross-border cases, all the while managing both contentious and non-contentious domestic matters. Notably, the firm’s distinctive focus is on cross-border probate issues. Praised for her ‘sensible and reasonable’ approach, Joanne Brown heads the family side and is regularly instructed regarding nuptial agreements, child removal and access and requests for injunctive relief. Eddie Look also heads the team and brings over 20 years of expertise in serving high-net-worth individuals and families across Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific Region. Another significant figure is Adrian Au, whose expertise encompasses nuptial agreements, separations, divorces, and other matrimonial matters, with clients consistently praising him for being ‘clear, insightful, and supportive’. 

Practice head(s):

Joanne Brown; Eddie Look

Other key lawyers:

Pamela Mak; Adrian Au


‘Great team with lots of depth and a positive, professional attitude.’

‘Always enjoy working with Joanne Brown in mediation. She is supportive and thoughtful for clients at times when they can be struggling. Adrian Au is professional and constructive in his approach to working with challenging situations.’

‘The team provides all-round personal services to me on supporting my business development, as well as personal needs. The team not only provides tailor-made ideas to my company but also how to integrate the personal needs and business development. This would be a very 360 degree services to me as a business owner and father.’

‘Eddie Look is the main partner who helped me to develop the legal concern of my company and personal needs. He will be able to provide timely services and considerate advice which I could not find it in other firm.’

‘Adrian Au was very proactive, supportive and engaged on all queries. He had established relationships with the counter party’s solicitors and this helped resolve minor wording alterations. Adrian was also very supportive of his team.’

‘Joanne Brown is outstanding. Direct, objective, empathetic.’

‘They focus on solutions for clients rather than noise. They are real value for money and able to deal with all sizes of litigation at all levels of the courts. They have the strong backing of the rest of the firm, including its resources and other areas of expertise. They are not afraid of compromise over conflict where it is in the best interests of the client. 

‘Joanne Brown is excellent – especially when dealing with children’s matters. She is absolutely who you want in your corner when you have a difficult opponent. She quiets the storm. Adrian Au is perhaps the most accessible and hardworking partner in Hong Kong. He is not stuck in the old ways of doing things nor does he assume. He fixes problems by working on them.’

Zhong Lun Law Firm

Zhong Lun Law Firm is renowned for its team of ‘top of the class’ private client lawyers who cover a wide spectrum of onshore China and offshore matters, frequently advising on complex cross-border issues encompassing tax, probate, family law, trusts, succession planning, and M&A. Clifford Ng leads the group and provides ‘innovative yet practical solutions’ to ultra-high-net-worth individuals seeking advice on matters including trust and business succession, often on a multi-jurisdictional basis. Other distinguished figures within the team include Dorothy Siron, a seasoned litigator often engaged in estate disputes, trust litigation, and child abduction cases, particularly with regards to Hague Convention cases, and Chloe Leung, lauded as ‘brilliant, highly committed, and knowledgeable'. Since her promotion to partner last year, Leung has continued to excel in advising on trusts, taxation, estates, asset protection, and philanthropy matters.

Practice head(s):

Clifford Ng

Other key lawyers:

Dorothy Siron; Frederick Hui; Terence Luk; Chloe Leung; Henry Fung; Jessica Kwok


‘Zhong Lun’s private client team is top of the class and can handle a broad range of matters, ranging from estate planning and administration, trusts, family, corporate, and IPO, to estate and trusts disputes. Zhong Lun offers a more extensive range of private client services compared with other firms which is the reason why they are able to see the issues as they come and provide holistic solutions.’

‘Clifford Ng is a well-known market leader in the private client industry. He is one of the few who can think outside the box and provide innovative yet practical solutions to clients. Chloe Leung has advised my clients on matters involving a bundle of complex issues, including cross-border estate planning, trusts and divorce. She provides strategic solutions and is very knowledgeable and diligent.’

‘Zhong Lun’s private client team is a pleasure to work with. They know how to distill seemingly random facts into workable tools and ingredients in legal arguments. They demonstrate very efficient team work.’

‘Clifford Ng’s experience and positioning are truly unique in the market. He can grasp the situation and guide clients very quickly and directly. Chloe Leung is an exceptional lawyer who goes the extra mile for her clients. She is always on top of things and provides thorough and creative advice. She is able to explain complex concepts in plain language and clients often return to her for other advice.’

‘The private client team at Zhong Lun is extremely good at anticipating issues and troubleshooting. They take time to listen and provide truly tailored advice and do not simply work off a standard play list!’

‘Clifford Ng really cares about his clients and Chloe Leung is an extremely dedicated private wealth lawyer. Client focused, trustworthy and easy to work with! I highly recommend them!’

‘Clifford Ng is a very seasoned private wealth adviser with a particular focus on Canadian tax. He also has commercial sense. His advice is practical.’

‘I highly recommend Chloe Leung, who is a leader in the industry. Leung is very sensitive to clients’ needs and emotions and is able to guide clients through complex issues involving estate disputes and divorce. Clients rely on her a lot and have expressed that they feel relieved with Leung leading the file as she is highly insightful and quick to respond. I would also like to recommend Clifford Ng, who is highly regarded and a standout figure in the industry. He is experienced and analytical and can provide uniquely strategic advice to clients.’

Work highlights

  • Acting as family office and personal counsel to a private real estate developer with assets over USD8bn in cross-border trusts, tax, wealth management, family, immigration, disclosure and compliance, litigation, loan financing, and M&A matters.
  • Advising a China-based entrepreneur billionaire on trusts, tax, family, estate planning, securities regulatory and compliance, and asset protection matters.

Baker McKenzie

Utilising the firm’s global network of 76 offices, the private wealth group at Baker McKenzie is well-versed at advising individuals and families on a range of matters, including trust and tax planning, regulatory issues, and estate and succession planning, as well as the management of substantial assets held by family offices. Demonstrating a prowess in international and cross-border tax-related matters, the team also proves to be a strategic choice for institutional entities, including major banks and financial institutions. Leading the group is Pierre Chan, who specialises in succession planning and tax advisory on the transactional front, in addition to utilising his litigation expertise in dispute resolution cases involving high-value tax issues, often spanning multiple jurisdictions. Stefano Mariani joined the team from Deacons in June 2023, while Michael Olesnicky retired in 2022.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Chan

Other key lawyers:

Steven Sieker; Lisa Ma


‘Great team led by Pierre Chan, and decades of experience and the broad coverage of international tax, trusts, corporate and more make it all work.’

‘Lisa Ma and Pierre Chan are competent, professional and get the job done.’


Praised for its ‘strategic and practical solutions’, the family group at Gall advises on all aspects of family breakdown and is recognised for its ‘first-class’ work on complex financial claims and high-conflict children matters. The group’s capabilities include advice on trusts, inherited wealth, tracing assets in multiple jurisdictions, and children relocation cases. The ‘highly dedicated’ Catherine Tso is a key name to note. Former practice head Caroline McNally and Kajal Aswani departed to Hugill & Ip in November 2023.

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Tso


‘Catherine Tso is a wonderful family lawyer. She provides very high-quality and detailed work to her clients.’

‘If I am asked to recommend a firm of family law solicitors for a friend, I will always recommend Gall. They provide practical and sensible advice, even if it not what the client wishes to hear, and they never give clients false expectations about what they might achieve through litigation.’

‘They are perhaps the most respected amongst their colleagues. They are the firm of choice when an alternative is needed, such as for related parties or trustees. This speaks to the quality and assurance that you are in good hands. They are patient and strategic; they are proactive not reactive.’

Gibson Dunn

Big-ticket private client and family engagements form the cornerstone of Gibson Dunn's Hong Kong team, which advises on a range of contentious and non-contentious issues relating to wealth, including contentious trusts, probate disputes, and estate administration intricacies. The practice represents beneficiaries, high-net-worth individuals, and executors in predominantly high-value and multi-jurisdictional matters. Elaine Chen, known for her ‘good contributions on legal and commercial strategy,’ co-leads the team alongside the ‘enormously experienced’ Brian Gilchrist, whose expertise lies in commercial litigation and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Chen; Brian Gilchrist

Other key lawyers:

Alex Wong


‘Elaine Chen is a very experienced litigation solicitor, who is always on top of the legal issues and had good contributions on legal and commercial strategy.’

‘The junior team members are all competent and can provide good support to cover the ground work, and can produce usable drafts for counsel to settle. They are also very helpful in discussions into the detailed points, and thus of great assistance to counsel. ’

‘The team is strong from top to bottom. It also has great experience in the private client field.’

Howse Williams

The team at Howse Williams demonstrates tenacity in advising on all aspects of family and business life, being sought after by spouses, high-net-worth individuals, and professional clients. The firm offers guidance on various matters, including prenuptial agreements, child custody applications, trust disputes, and estate administration. Leading the group is Linda Heathfield, who specialises in advising both married and unmarried couples on child and financial matters, including cases involving child custody, abduction, and estate matters. Karen Lam co-leads the team with Heathfield, focusing her practice on matrimonial disputes, encompassing divorce, child custody, and wardship. Addressing the need for advice on both local and global family issues, Victoria Ng, promoted to partner in July 2022, plays a key role. Ng’s practice centres on matrimonial and trust matters, often encompassing international elements, like relocations and substantial overseas assets, including those held in overseas trusts. Stacey Devoy and Stephanie Ng departed the firm in 2023.

Practice head(s):

Linda Heathfield; Karen Lam

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Ng


‘The team has rich experience in divorce litigation and is very competitive.’

‘Karen Lam has extensive experience in divorce litigation and excellent work performance.’

Oldham, Li & Nie

The sizeable team at Oldham, Li & Nie team is led by Stephen Peaker in the family division and Anna Chan oversees private client matters. The team handles numerous cases for high-net-worth individuals, dealing with complex international corporate and trust setups, leveraging a blend of lawyers and chartered accountants to identify critical legal and tax issues early in the wealth planning process. Gordon Oldham, described as ‘dynamic and enthusiastic’, is a key contributor in supporting Peaker and Chan in their work.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Peaker; Anna Chan

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Oldham; Paul Firmin; Jonathan Lam; Victor Ng; Pamy Kuo; Yvonne Kong; Ivan Lee; Gareth Leung


‘OLN have a dedication to speedy advice which is unusual and welcome. They are experts in family law and matrimonial matters and have a very hands-on approach to problem-solving.’

‘Gordon Oldham is the senior partner and a dynamic and enthusiastic lawyer.’

‘Stephen Peaker is the head of the family law department and is able and knowledgeable in this field.’

‘Pamy Kuo is a very knowledgeable and hard-working partner in the family law department.’

Payne Velasco

Jaerey Velasco heads the matrimonial and family department at Payne Velasco, overseeing both contentious and non-contentious areas of practice, including marital agreements, wills and estate planning, prenuptial agreements, divorce proceedings, and child custody matters. The firm’s core focus lies in litigation, with Velasco frequently representing clients in commercial disputes, matrimonial litigation, and criminal proceedings across various jurisdictions, ranging from Hong Kong and China, to the Philippines and the US.

Practice head(s):

Jaerey Velasco


‘They are honest and care about both parties. They desire a fair outcome for all involved. They manage expectations well.’

‘They take the time to talk and explain the situation and the possible outcomes.’

‘Very personable and understanding.’