Firm Profile > Deacons > Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Intellectual property Tier 1

Deeply entrenched in the local business ecosystem and also benefiting from excellent insights of the regulators and courts by virtue of the firm's longstanding presence in the country, Deacons has a very balanced offering across the spectrum of IPR, from both a contentious and non-contentious perspective. Patsy Lau now leads the firm's efforts on the trade mark front, following Vivian Poon's recent departure, and is noted for her ability to provide a 'very effective and coordinated service' to local Hong Kong businesses on their global portfolio management requirements, as well as on behalf of international clients on their Greater China strategies. The firm also benefits from the expertise of numerous patent attorneys who provide the technical input in relation to patent prosecution work, as well as on patent litigation. The team is also regularly involved in complex and high-profile disputes, including Charmaine Koo's representation of Alibaba as the defendant in a closely watched case brought by cosmetics supplier, Mary Kay, against it, raising complex questions regarding online content provider liability for a third-party seller’s product as well as jurisdictional issues regarding e-commerce sites operating across borders.


‘The team provides a responsive and knowledgeable service.’

Key clients

Gmedia Hong Kong Limited and Gmedia Information Technology (Beijing) Co


Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd (2318.HK) and Ping An of China Securities (Hong Kong) Company Limited

PCCW Group

Tsui Wah Holding

MTR Corporation


Discovery Communications

Investment funds Tier 1

Deacons is renowned in the Hong Kong market for its expertise in registered and alternative funds. Areas of strength include hedge funds, private equity funds, mandatory provident funds (MPF), SFC licensing and regulatory compliance. The team is adept at structuring and obtaining authorisation for new funds and providing post-authorisation support. Another area of focus is China-related funds and market entry, where the team advises on the qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) scheme, joint ventures, strategic alliances, compliance matters, fund establishment, and matters relating to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Jeremy Lam co-heads the team; he is a member of the Regulatory Sub-Committee of the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association and advises a number of local and international asset management clients. Senior associates Joanna Fung and Deepak Mahtani are all recommended. Ming Chiu Li and Pinky Siu were both made up to partner in January 2020.

Key clients

Allianz Global Investors



BOCHK Asset Management

China Everbright

First State Investments

GaoTeng Global Asset Management

Janus Henderson

Ping An of China Asset Management

St. James’s Place


Labour and employment Tier 2

Benefiting from deeply embedded ties with private and public sector domestic entities, nurtured during the firm's long history in the country, independent Hong Kong-based firm Deacons is recognised for its ability to provide 'very effective legal advisory work for Hong Kong organisations with subsidiaries and operations in the Mainland'. Team head Cynthia Chung provides 'solid and sound advice' across a myriad of employment matters, including on pensions-related matters. On the contentious front, Chung has been very active defending employers in discrimination claims as well as in whistle-blower investigations. She has also provided ongoing counselling to various employers concerned about the potential employment ramifications related to the recent pro-democracy protests.


‘The firm has outstanding experience across Hong Kong-specific employment matters.’

‘Cynthia Chung is very quick to understand the culture and needs of clients.’

Key clients

MTR Corporation

Jardine Group

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hang Lung Properties Limited

The University of Hong Kong

Bank J. Safra Sarasin

Real estate Tier 2

Deacons' 'very experienced' and 'efficient' team is well known for advising developer clients on industrial, commercial and residential real estate projects. Conveyancing work is another prominent area of instruction for the group. Practice head Lilian Chiang is 'extremely efficient; excellency is her goal'.


They are very efficient in their work, can think from the clients’ perspective and are always prudent and reliable in their advice. Overall, they are a value for money firm and  a firm that you can trust and build a long term partnership with‘.

Key clients

Urban Renewal Authority

MTR Corporation

Wheelock Properties

Jardine Group

Kowloon–Canton Railway Corporation

Regulatory Tier 2

Deacons' non-contentious regulatory practice houses Jane McBride, who leads the firm’s dedicated SFC licensing, compliance and regulatory team, and Jeremy Lam; the duo are very strong in assisting clients with securities-related mandates. Simon Deane is well versed in banking regulatory matters. On the contentious side, Joseph Kwan is the key contact, and often acts for clients in SFC investigations.


‘They are one of the premier and most well-established regulatory practices in Hong Kong, led by a partner [Jane McBride] who is well known in the industry for her experience and insight. They are strong in regulatory space for investment management firms, and their clients are able to benefit from their wealth of knowledge from their many touchpoints with the SFC.’

‘Jane McBride is our trusted advisor on regulatory matters, and we know we can generally count on her to provide sensible advice that balances regulatory expectations as well as commercial needs. She is a leader in the field and has a great pulse on regulatory expectations, as well as practical ways of handling certain issues.’

‘Joseph Kwan has been providing excellent advice and strong leadership in my case. Overall good macro-management.’

Antitrust and competition Tier 3

Deacons' nascent competition team continues to gain traction in the market, and while it lacks the critical mass of some of its higher-ranked peers, it provides a compelling offering to clients, by virtue not only of providing pure legal advice but also economic analysis, as a result of the recent addition to the team of antitrust economist Sharon Pang . Pang provided economic advice to eight of the ten respondents in the second enforcement case brought by the Hong Kong Competition Commission relating to alleged bid-rigging and price-fixing by decorative contractors of construction companies. The firm has subsequently been sought out by other local entities, both in investigations by the Commission (where it is able to provide advice in Cantonese) and in relation to the implementation of robust compliance programmes.

Capital markets (equity) Tier 3

Deacons' market presence is reflected by the fact that it has acted on circa 10% of all completed IPOs in Hong Kong since 2014. Beyond handling company listings, it has an outstanding track record in secondary offerings, transfers of listings and the full suite of follow-on corporate transactions, among other matters. The firm's diverse client roster includes Chinese financial institutions, international investment banks and corporates. It has built up a particularly strong reputation advising Japanese companies on listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Ronny Chow and Eugina Chan jointly lead the team, which was strengthened by the arrival of Peter Cheng from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 2018. Other key figures include Rhoda Yung and Sabrina Fung, who have collectively amassed over 40 years of capital markets experience. Dennis Chan made senior associate in 2019. Senior associate Doris Leung is also recommended.


‘They are professional and experienced, and devote sufficient resources and attention to each job’. 

‘Ronny Chow, who is extremely experienced, is helpful and ready if I need advice from him’. 

‘Maynard Leung is very hands-on, hard working and has good knowledge of the Listing Rules’.  

‘The team is very responsive with its solid technical knowledge, and is able to provide prudent legal advice’.

‘Rhoda Yung is a very responsive partner’.

Key clients

ABCI Capital Limited

BNP Paribas Securities (Asia) Limited

China Everbright Capital Limited

Dongxing Securities (Hong Kong) Company Limited

Guotai Junan Capital Limited

Haitong International Capital Limited

ICBC International Capital Limited

Renrui Human Resources Technology Holdings Limited

Shenwan Hongyuan Capital (H.K.) Limited

Tai Hing Group Holdings Limited

Construction Tier 3

Deacons' team handles construction project mandates for contractors, public entities and prominent developers, and is noted for its 'deep knowledge' regarding construction disputes. Kwok Kit Cheung leads the team, in which Joseph Chung and Justin Yuen are key contacts.


This team has very strong manpower resources who are experienced in construction disputes‘.

Corporate (including M&A) Tier 3

Deacons' excellent reputation sees it handle standalone mandates from Chinese companies, and it also generates a significant amount of international referral work. It advises on a full range of matters, including company mergers, acquisitions and disposals, private equity and venture capital investments, and local and cross-border joint ventures. It acted on nine takeover/privatisation deals in 2018; this represented over 15% of all takeover/privatisation transactions involving Hong Kong-listed companies to have completed that year. The firm provides an end-to-end service on all aspects of transactions, with specialists in ancillary disciplines advising on related issues, such as banking and finance, capital markets, employment and investment funds. The team is jointly led by Machiuanna ChuRonny Chow and Eugina ChanAlexander Que has 22 years of experience in M&A, securities and compliance. Peter Cheng joined from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. Canny Lau was made up to partner in January 2020.


‘Deacons is able to advise on the various aspects of the M&A transactions in the various sectors, including structuring, potential risks on the execution front, dealing with the relevant regulatory authorities both locally and internationally, pre-completion restructuring, and post transaction integration issues’.

‘ Has in depth knowledge on all the rules and regulations relating to M&A’.

‘Alexander Que is very responsive and always enthusiastic’.

‘Alexander Que is very patient and is able to explain a difficult legal concept in a simply way to the client’.

‘Alexander Que is able to understand/ assess the strategic fronts and provide advice taking into consideration the overall transaction dynamics as well as the negotiation strategies during the various transaction stages’.

Key clients

AAG Energy Holdings Limited

China Power Clean Energy Development Company Limited

Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited

Kerry Logistics Network Limited

Lai Sun group, including Lai Sun Garment (International) Limited, Lai Sun Development Company Limited, eSun Holdings Limited and Lai Fung Holdings Limited

Manfield Chemical Holdings Limited

Rivera (Holdings) Limited

Shenwan Hongyuan (H.K.) Limited

The Wharf (Holdings) Limited

Wheelock and Company Limited

Dispute resolution: international arbitration Tier 3

Joseph Kwan heads up the practice at Deacons, which fields a team of 'hardworking partners who bring a wealth of experience' and 'specialises in construction cases and arbitration'. Robert Clark is noted for his expertise in commercial disputes; Joseph Chung is 'very personable and great with clients'; and Kwok Kit Cheung provides 'balanced and sound advice'.

Dispute resolution: litigation Tier 3

Deacons' practice head Joseph Kwan is an expert in high-profile commercial litigation, and is also very experienced in assisting high-net-worth families with asset distribution disputes. The team is acting for DP World Djibouti FZCO, along with two companies within the UAE DP World Group, in a claim against port builder China Merchants Group for allegedly inducing the breach of DP World’s port concession agreement with Djibouti. Carmen Ng and Robert Clark are names to note.


Paul Kwan is a very good bilingual commercial litigator who knows the market and is practical and very realistic‘.

Insurance Tier 3

The insurance team at Deacons is known for handling contentious insurance work for a client base of international and domestic insurers and reinsurers, governmental entities and prominent names from a range of sectors. Instructions include occupiers’ liability matters, employee compensation claims, public liability and catastrophic injuries. Alfred Tam leads the department.

Banking and finance Tier 4

Independent Hong Kong firm Deacons advises clients on financial transactions spanning areas such as syndicated and bilateral lending, secured and structured lending, trade finance and project finance. Other areas of expertise include bank mergers, regulatory issues, anti-money laundering, cryptocurrencies and online lending platforms. Clients include banks, corporates, law firms, accountants and fintech companies. Practice head Simon DeanePhilip Gilligan and Teresa Lau collectively have over 75 years of experience. Senior associate Farrah Lam is another key figure.


‘Good quality work and solid legal advice’.     

‘Philip Gilligan is experienced and knowledgeable’.                         

‘The team is very efficient, responsive and reliable’.

‘Philip Gilligan and others always provide a professional and efficient legal service to us’.

‘We are impressed by their professional attitude, industry knowledge, commercial sensibility, and responsive and continuous support to clients’.        

Capital markets (debt) Tier 4

Kevin Tong leads the team at Deacons, which has an excellent record advising issuers and underwriters on multibillion dollar and innovative debt issuances. Tong has been at the forefront of the advice to clients on the development of retail structured products space, such as retail structured notes, equity-linked investments and SEHK-listed structured products platforms. Clients include domestic and multinational corporates, financial institutions and government entities. Other notable individuals in the group are Icarus Yuen and Christine Li, who made partner and consultant respectively.

Key clients

AVIC International Leasing Co., Ltd.

Bank of Communications Co., Ltd. Hong Kong Branch

Guangzhou Industrial Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd.

Guangzhou Metro Group Co., Ltd

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd.

The Bank of East Asia, Limited

The Wharf (Holdings) Limited

Wheelock and Company Limited

Xinjiang Financial Investment Co., Ltd.

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 4

Led on the contentious front by the 'reliable and experiencedRichard Hudson, and for non-contentious matters by financing partner Philip Gilligan,  Deacons picks up a significant volume of local work by dint of the firm's deeply entrenched accountancy relationships and strong ties with financial institutions in the region (including funds and banks).

Key clients

The Trustee in Bankruptcy of Mr Vipan Kumar Sharma

The Trustee in Bankruptcy of Japan Life Co. Ltd.

Tax and trusts Tier 4

Benefiting from 'theoretical knowledge and real-world on the ground practical experience', Deacons' small team provides 'practical and commercially savvy tax advice' to a compelling blend of multinational corporates, regional SMEs and individuals. 'Knowledgeable and articulate' Hong Kong and UK-qualified team head Stefano Mariani has an excellent reputation in the region across a range of advisory and contentious tax matters, ranging from corporate taxation and group reconstructions to personal taxation and trusts and estate planning and management. Clients also appreciate Mariani's 'significant experience in dealing with officers of the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department and courts'.


‘Stefano Mariani is extremely knowledgeable, articulate and commendably willing to commit to solid, usable advice.’

‘Stefano Mariani has proven to be an expert at providing tax and trust advice in relation to various structures.’

‘Stefano Mariani is a delight to work with and has an excellent reputation across a wide range of tax and trusts work.’

TMT Tier 4

Co-headed by IP partner Charmaine Koo and corporate partner Machiuanna ChuDeacons' technology practice handles a broad range of contentious and non-contentious matters for clients in the sector, including as it relates to M&A, commercial contracts, and data privacy.

Key clients

Gmedia Hong Kong Limited and Gmedia Information Technology (Beijing) Co.

PCCW Group


Discovery Communications

China > Intellectual property: foreign firms Tier 2

Deacons' IP team in Beijing is especially well-known for its work regarding trade mark applications, oppositions, invalidation claims and other post-grant procedures directly with the National Intellectual Property Administration. The IP litigation group sits in Hong Kong where practice co-heads Charmaine Koo and Annie Tsoi are based. Catherine Zeng heads the patents and designs group and is another key name in the Hong Kong office alongside Ian Liu and Dora SiBenjamin Choi recently joined the trade marks practice from Mayer Brown.


Deacons has a very sound knowledge of trade mark law. The trade marks team provides comprehensive, well-structured reports with clear recommendations which allow to take decisions almost immediately.’

‘Deacons has a strong presence in Hong Kong and China for IP.’

Key clients

Gmedia Hong Kong Limited and Gmedia Information Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd.


Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd (2318.HK) and Ping An of China Securities (Hong Kong) Company Limited

PCCW Group

Tsui Wah Holding Limited

China > Labour and employment: foreign firms Tier 3

Deacons has a dedicated PRC and Hong Kong employment offering with a particular strength in the contentious space. Cynthia Chung leads the team from the Hong Kong office with the support of PRC and Hong Kong dual-qualified Helen Liao who advises multinational companies in a broad range of sectors, including the aviation, telecommunications, media, fuel, construction, retail and financial services industries on employment compliance issues. Eunice Wu recently joined from AllBright Law Offices.


The team provides comprehensive and well-thought-out legal advice, which is carefully taken into account the needs of clients‘.

The lawyers are familiar with the mainland labour laws and regulations‘.

Deacons is Hong Kong’s premier independent firm. We are a full service law firm and we provide an extensive range of legal and commercial services to local and international corporations. With over 165 years of experience in providing legal services, our clients are assured of the integrity and stability of one of the region’s oldest and most respected law firms.

We take our name from a young English solicitor, Victor Deacon, who arrived in Hong Kong in 1880 to join the legal practice established by William Bridges in 1851. Victor Deacon was made a partner and, within 20 years, under his own name, he had firmly established Deacons as one of Hong Kong’s leading law firms.

With 16 key service areas and three representative offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Deacons is the largest independent local law firm in Hong Kong. Our principal service areas include: Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, China Trade & Investment, Construction, Corporate and M&A, Employment & Pensions, Investment Funds, Insolvency & Restructuring, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Private Clients, Real Estate, Regulatory and Tax.


Department Name Email Telephone
Construction Joseph Chung
Construction KK Cheung
Employment & Pensions Cynthia Chung
Intellectual Property Annie Tsoi
Intellectual Property Charmaine Koo
Investment Funds Jeremy Lam
Real Estate Lilian Chiang
Private Clients Lilian Chiang
Capital Markets Ronny Chow
Capital Markets Eugina Chan
Insolvency & Restructuring Simon Deane
Insurance Alfred Tam
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Joseph Kwan
Tax Stefano Mariani
Competition Machiuanna Chu
Corporate and M&A Cynthia Chung
China Trade & Investment Myles Seto
Partners : 53
Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin)
Chinese (including Cantonese and Shanghainese dialects)