Firms To Watch: Real estate

Kirkland & Ellis‘ growing Hong Kong real estate practice is led by Paul Guan, who joined from Paul Hastings LLP. The firm is gathering a number of high profile clients to its standard, including Sino-Ocean Capital and JD Property.
Janice Yau Garton leads the real estate practice at Stephenson Harwood. The firm advises on acquisitions, with a focus on logistics and data centres that reflects current market trends.

Real estate in Hong Kong

Baker McKenzie

Peers are unanimous in their view that the Baker McKenzie Hong Kong real estate practice deserves its place among the highest ranked market players. The real estate team is led by veterans Rico Chan and Edmond Chan, who continue to work on some of the largest cross-border transactions and development projects both within Hong Kong and in the Greater Bay area as a whole. The pair is supported by a strong bench of real estate lawyers including May Lau and Jeremy Ong, though Shiu Man Wan as left the firm for Grandall Zimmern Law Firm. The practice covers the full life cycle of a project, advising on tax structuring, land acquisition, construction, equity financing, M&A and demergers, corporate spin-offs and joint ventures. The firm also offers specific expertise in hotel management and franchising. The new trend of greater demand for logistics space and data centre leasing forms another aspect of the firm's work.

Practice head(s):

Rico Chan; Edmond Chan

Other key lawyers:

May Lau; Jeremy Ong; Mandy Lan; Debbie Cheung; Jason Ho


‘The team’s knowledge about the REIT sector and the level of service are both impeccable.’

‘Creative and innovative. Would go extra mile to advocate for the client with the regulatory authority.’

‘Baker McKenzie has very deep knowledge and expertise in all aspects of real estate legal practice.’

‘I am particularly impressed by partners Edmond Chan and Debbie Cheung, as well as associate Jason Ho. All of them are highly responsive, responsible and knowledgeable.’

‘For assisting clients to carry out legal works for acquisition of sites / buildings and acting on behalf of client for disposal of clients own asset via asset sales and share transfer.’

‘Compared with other law firm, Baker McKenzie is able to give client understanding of clients’ position from legal point of view. Can also give the client a very professional legal advice so that client can make right decision.’

‘Edmond L Y Chan and May Lau are the outstanding lawyers in Baker McKenzie. Both are very professional and able to give client’s good legal advice.’

Key clients

Angelo Gordon

APG Asset Management

Hysan Development Company Limited


Spring REIT

Wheelock Properties

Yuexiu REIT

Work highlights

  • Advising Spring REIT on the proposed acquisition of 68% interest in Huamao Place, a high-end shopping mall in the central business district of Huizhou.
  • Advised Yuexiu REIT on its RMB 7.8 billion acquisition of Yuexiu Financial Tower in Guangzhou.
  • Advised APG Asset Management, the largest pension provider in the Netherlands, on its launch of a new Asia Pacific healthcare platform.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP views real estate as one its core practice areas. Its Hong Kong team has been recently strengthened by the arrival of senior consultant Clara Tang from Clifford Chance. She joins practice head Andrew MacGeoch, who specialises in complex and multi-faceted land use and repurposing matters, and Wayne Ma. The latter’s expertise covers commercial and industrial projects, hospitality and leisure, infrastructure developments and REITs. The practice has been active during 2022 in M&A, PPPs, financing and more. The firm’s extensive work for HSBC in Hong Kong and Guangzhou is particularly notable.

Practice head(s):

Andrew MacGeoch

Other key lawyers:

Clara Tang; Wayne Ma; Cora Kang; Phil Smith

Key clients

HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Asia) Limited

Nam Khang Corporation/DatVietVAC

Work highlights

  • Representing HSBC Institutional Trust Services Limited in its capacity as the trustee of various HK listed REITs in various banking facilities matters, MTN programme projects and trust deed amendments.
  • Advising HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Asia) Limited in its capacity as the trustee of Link REIT in relation to the acquisition of a 49.9% interest in an Australian prime office property portfolio via a joint venture with Oxford Properties.
  • Advising HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Asia) Limited in its capacity as the trustee of Link REIT in relation to the acquisition, the first ever by an SFC-authorised REIT after a successful tender, of two institutional grade car park/car service centres and godown buildings in Chai Wan on Hong Kong Island and Hung Hom in Kowloon.


A firm founded in Hong Kong, Deacons offers a thorough knowledge of the market and local regulations, as well as the capability to advise on large developments and cross border transactions. The real estate practice is led by the ‘outstandingLilian Chiang, who advises on major development projects and is recommended for her ‘technically sound advice‘. Wallace Wong has over two decades of experience and has handled many large real estate M&A deals in that period. Consequently, Wong has developed strong and lasting relationships with several major developers in Hong Kong, including the Urban Renewal Authority. Karen Chan and Wai Tung Yu are also key names to note. They assist on property transactions involving mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and property investment.

Practice head(s):

Lilian Chiang

Other key lawyers:

Wallace Wong; Karen Chan; Wai Tung Yu


‘Wallace Wong has been our trusted advisor for many years on real estate matters. It’s a very technical field in Hong Kong, but we always trust him to deliver the most reliable and expert advice. He is quick, cost efficient, always competitive and thorough. We are lucky with work with Wallace.’

‘Lilian Chiang is the driving force behind the Deacons real restate team and I can be assured of technically sound advice as well tenacious protection of our rights if her team is looking after my transaction. Lilian is outstanding.’


Key clients

MTR Corporation Limited

Fu Tung Holdings Limited (member of the Jardine Matheson Group)

Zung Fu Company Limited

China Resources Enterprise, Limited

C C Land Holdings Limited

Yuexiu Properties (HK) Company Limited (member of Yuexiu Group)

DBS Bank Ltd., Hong Kong Branch

United Overseas Bank Limited

Kerry Logistics Network Limited

Mapletree Logistics Trust

Urban Renewal Authority

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Jardine Group in the sale of two trophy 45 full-service buildings to the Link REIT Group for HK$5.9 billion.
  • Advising United Overseas Bank Limited on a HK$1.24 billion construction loan financing in respect of a land site and building to be erected in Kowloon.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown‘s Hong Kong real estate team is packed with experience. Robert Lynn and Fun Kuen Au each have 40 years of practice behind them and have built long-standing relationships advising many of Hong Kong’s most significant property developers. They support practice head and debt financing specialist Keith Cheung. Jasmine Chiu works on all aspects of real estate financing and is noted for her ‘high quality output‘. Eugene Wong and Peter Ho lead jointly on the majority of the real estate M&A transactions handled by the firm, many of which are multimillion dollar development space acquisitions. The team is notable for its handling of a wide range of asset types including agricultural land, industrial buildings, logistics centres, storage space, student housing and educational institutions.

Practice head(s):

Keith Cheung

Other key lawyers:

Eugene Wong; Peter Ho; Jasmine Chiu; Robert Lynn; Fun Kuen Au; Ricky Yiu; Alvin Yeung; Pheona Chow


‘We usually use Jasmine Chiu and Wilson Wong for the real estate financing. They usually staff their best associates on the deal, respond promptly, always very reliable.’

‘A strong efficient team which I have been ahppy to work with.’

‘Eugene Wong is a pleasure to work with. He is legally sound but also very commercial and is very service-oriented.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable, professional, always deliver what client needs timely. Good teamwork and fees are reasonable.’

‘Jasmine Chiu is knowledgeable and flexible. Jasmine is easy to access and easy to communicate with, she is patient and delivers high quality output.’

‘Good knowledge of the sector, resources, fast responses.’

‘Ricky Yiu – very good knowledge of Real Estate sector, fast responds, good communication among client and counter parties.’

DLA Piper

Susheela Rivers leads the team at DLA Piper. Rivers has 28 years’ experience in real estate investments and developments across the hotel, retail and mixed-use sectors. She advises international and regional property companies, hotel groups, retailers, private equity real estate funds, investment banks and hospitals. She is joined in the practice by private equity fund specialist Ed Sheremeta and a strong bench of recommended lawyers. The practice covers due diligence, acquisitions and divestments, financing, taxation, leasing and facilities management, project and commercial developments, REITs, hotels management and agreement, restructuring, trusts and syndicates.

Practice head(s):

Susheela Rivers

Other key lawyers:

Ed Sheremeta; Sally Law; Ashley Dong


‘DLA provides one-stop shop services for real estate transactions including acquisition, financing and coordination with comp secs.’

‘Real Estate team is a diversified team with a number of commercial minded lawyers who are interacting with clients in an effective and efficient manner.’

‘Susheela Rivers is a very experienced lawyer in real estate transactions. She is capable of providing reasonable solutions based on precise interpretation of legal language and prudent analysis of consequences, which is extremely helpful for clients to take a proper position in negotiations. She is a very responsive person and puts together sufficient resources to support deals.’

‘DLA Piper’s HK real estate team presented in-depth understanding in the P.R.C. real estate regulations and were able to share the risk assessments in practice with prior examples.’

‘We worked closely Susheela, Ashley Dong, Ed and Sally Law on the last transaction, including due diligence, acquisition, restructuring and financing. DLA team presented a high level of commitment to deliver their services, being responsive to our questions/requests and advise the commercial points with balance views.’

‘They have a broad team with lots of experience in Hong Kong. Quite client focused and commercial in nature. Easy to work with and good value.’

‘The lawyers at DLA are efficient and client focused. They are commercial and well connected in the HK market.’

Key clients

Crane Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Crane Capital on its joint venture investment into the acquisition of a portfolio of industrial building in Shanghai, and the onshore/offshore financing thereof.

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons‘ Hong Kong real estate team is led by the highly experienced Siu Ngor Chow, supported by sales and acquisitions specialist Hayden Flinn and the Beijing-based Harry Du. The team represents banks and property developers and has advised on a number of sizeable PPP projects and constructions of multipurpose complexes in the past year. Matters include applications for modification of government lease terms, non-project residential and commercial conveyancing, various forms of leases and tenancy agreements, corporate finance and loan documentation for banking and financial institution clients, as well as obtaining certificates of title as part of acquisition or merger due diligence processes.

Practice head(s):

Siu-Ngor Chow; Harry Du

Other key lawyers:

Hayden Flinn; Kathy (Rong) Fan

Key clients

Urban Renewal Authority

West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Ocean Park Corporation

Credit Suisse AG

DBS Bank Limited

Bank of Communications Co., Ltd

Manful Global Development Ltd.

Sky Asia Properties Limited

Hanison Construction Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority in the procurement of a PPP project to develop the West Kowloon Cultural District, a commercial, entertainment, and cultural complex in Hong Kong.
  • Advising the Ocean Park Corporation on the procurement of three new PPP projects as part of the Corporation’s strategy to redevelop as a multi-purpose retail, recreation, education and conservation complex.
  • Pre-sale of 300 residential units of the Grand Central development. This HK$1.8 billion project will be the largest single project undertaken by Urban Renewal Authority in Hong Kong.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP‘s Hong Kong real estate practice specialises in private client work, advising on investment on both the residential and commercial side. The practice has particular links to the UK and advises regularly on Hong Kong-UK linked developments. Simon Green heads the practice, supported by ‘seasoned property lawyerIan Devereux.

Practice head(s):

Simon Green

Other key lawyers:

Ian Devereux; Twiggy Ho


‘The team is very experienced and has an international angle, able to deal with cross border property issues.’

‘Ian Devereux is a very seasoned property lawyer with solid commercial sense.’

Key clients

BC Mortgage Services Asia

One Global Property Services

IP Global

Joseph Mews / Seven Capital

Berkeley Group

Regal London

Work highlights

  • Advised residential Property Acquisition in the UK – BC Mortgage Services Asia Lt.
  • Advised residential Property Acquisition in the UK – Seven Capital.
  • Advised residential Property Acquisition in the UK – IP Global.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance acts on real estate financing deals in Hong Kong under the leadership of Amy Ho, who is co-head of the APAC real estate practice with Mark Currell of Sydney. Commercial property deals and joint ventures form a considerable part of the practice, which also incorporates assistance with mergers and acquisitions and IPOs. Dauwood Malik and Michael Pallaras are noted by clients for their ‘comprehensive‘ and ‘thorough‘ advice.

Practice head(s):

Amy Ho; Mark Currell

Other key lawyers:

Michael Pallaras; Dauwood Malik


‘Market leader in real estate financing.’

‘The team has first class technicality and yet an agile mind to provide solutions.’

‘Dauwood Malik and Michael Pallaras are a great team. Their advice is always comprehensive, thorough and in-depth.’

Key clients

Cainiao Network

Partners Group

Chelsfield Asia

Phoenix Property Investors Limited

Kai Tak Sports Park Limited

Carrefour Nederland B.V.


HOPU Investments


CK Asset Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising PAG on a US$933 million loan facility provided by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Bank of China and BNP Paribas to finance PAG’s US$2.8 billion minority investment in the commercial property management business of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group ahead of its HK IPO.
  • Advised APG Asset Management, the largest pension provider in the Netherlands, on the establishment of a joint venture with Wang On Properties Limited to engage in the acquisition of residential properties in Hong Kong for development and re-development for sale.
  • Acted as lead international counsel to Bank of China Limited, Macau Branch as arranger, lender and agent on USD and HKD revolving facilities in an aggregate amount equivalent to USD1,500,000,000 that was made available to WM Cayman Holdings Limited II to refinance existing debt and fund ongoing working capital requirements.

Proskauer Rose LLP

Leisure and gaming specialists Proskauer Rose LLP have used their ‘accumulated experience‘ to assist their clients through the difficult pandemic era. Real estate M&A and joint venture specialist Yuval Tal – an ‘innovative lawyer for problem solutions‘ – heads the practice in Hong Kong and Beijing. He is assisted by recommended associate Cynthia Cheng, who specialises in the luxury hotel sector.

Practice head(s):

Yuval Tal; Jeffrey Horwitz

Other key lawyers:

Cynthia Cheng


‘Proskauer being one of the leading law firms in Real Estate Practice globally with strong focus on gaming and hospitality has an extensive knowledge and accumulated experience for problem solutions over the years. This asset by far makes them a very unique and special when we look for a legal firm to help us out not only in consummating any deals but also in workout situations.’

‘Yuval Tal is the best and perfect partner I have ever worked ever over 45 years of my business carrier. He is the best listener and the most innovative lawyer for problem solutions and can provide a few options to choose so that you can make an appropriate business decision.’

Key clients

Accor – Huazhu

Accor – Ennismore

Accor – Faena Group

Galaxy Entertainment Group (“GEG”)

Mori Building Real Estate Advisory Co., Ltd

A Sovereign Wealth Fund

Work highlights

  • Represented longtime client Accor in the launch of a global strategic partnership with Faena Group; in the sale of Accor’s interests in Huazhu, a China-based, NASDAQ-listed company; and continues to advise Accor in the creation, structuring and implementation of its global joint venture with Ennismore.
  • Advised Galaxy Entertainment Group on its hospitality agreements with a number of international hotel operators in connection with Phases 3 and 4 of its integrated resort gaming development in Macau.
  • Represented Mori Building Co. and JR Kyushu, one of the Japanese railway companies, in their multi-property deal with Marriott international for Japanese hotels, the first of which is their deal in Nagasaki.


Withers‘ real estate practice in Hong Kong is headed by Polly Chu and Mabel Lui, who are both experienced in corporate and commercial transactions. The firm advises on real estate M&A, leasing, financing and restructuring. Hotels and office space are a specialism of the practice, but the firm also serves a varied range of clients including holding companies and the American Chamber of Commerce, as well as high-net-worth individual private clients.

Practice head(s):

Polly Chu; Mabel Lui

Key clients

Magnificent Hotel Investments Limited

American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

All Harvest Corporation Limited

Hundred Gain International Holding Limited