Deacons > Hong Kong, Hong Kong > Firm Profile

Hong Kong

Hong Kong > Intellectual property Tier 1

Hong Kong firm Deacons has a well-established track record in the local market and it handles contentious and non-contentious IP work for large international corporates, as well as domestic clients. Its in-house patent prosecution team includes patent attorneys who are qualified in Europe, the UK, Australia and China; they work closely with IP litigation lawyers to provide advice on cross-border infringement and enforcement matters. Annie Tsoi, who is dual-qualified in Hong Kong and England & Wales, jointly leads the team with Charmaine Koo, who has recently acted as lead partner in a number of litigated disputes. Koo also handles commercial IP work, including cybersecurity and data privacy. Patsy Lau is recommended for advice on the protection of large international trade mark portfolios. Jeffrey McLean utilises his technical background to assist with the technical and patent aspects of contentious matters. In October 2020, Benjamin Choi left for Oldham, Li & Nie.

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‘The attorneys have a very good working relationship with the clients.’

‘We’ve found the outcome of patent prosecution has been greatly improved since we started using Deacons.’

‘Jeffrey Maclean is a great guy to work with, he’s very knowledgeable about Chinese law and we find him very easy to interact with.’

‘Jeffrey Maclean is keen to understand the technology and help us get the best patent protection possible.’

‘The team has very diverse expertise and knowledge.’

‘The lawyers are also able to provide useful advice on our specific business needs, exploring different options to address the risks and needs.’ 

‘They are very personal and responsive to your enquiries.’   

‘The team members are professional, efficient and can be trusted to carry out their work well.’ 

Key clients

Alibaba Group

Chow Tai Fook

FWD Group


Lan Kwai Fong Group


Ping An Group

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

4M Industrial Development Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Google in an appeal against the Privacy Commissioner in Hong Kong regarding “Right to be Forgotten” (“RTBF”).
  • Acting for Alibaba in proceedings commenced in Hong Kong by cosmetics supplier Mary Kay against three Alibaba companies
  • Acting for the Ping An Insurance group of companies in court actions, including as a plaintiff in a court action for passing off against a company listed in Hong Kong which changed its name to a very similar company name and stock short name; and as a defendant in relation to an earlier court action instigated by the same Hong Kong listed company accusing it of trade mark infringement of its Chinese and English characters and passing off.

Hong Kong > Investment funds Tier 1

A mainstay of the local market, independent heavyweight firm Deacons is a popular choice among regional and international asset managers across a range of structuring, regulatory and ongoing operational work. Although it does handle some alternative funds matters, the team’s undoubted sweet-spot lies in the retail space and in this context it is ‘unmatched in its ability‘ to achieve the necessary regulatory authorisation, including in relation to Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) authorised Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) funds. ‘Helpful and client-friendly’ team head Jeremy Lam oversees a vast array of retail funds offered in the Hong Kong market and is also appreciated for his ability to coalesce his legal and regulatory knowledge to good effect. Taylor Hui leads the China team and benefits from many years’ experience advising PRC fund managers on fund establishment in Hong Kong and on bringing RMB investment products into the Hong Kong market. ‘Familiar with all the latest trends’, Ming Chiu Li is also focused on China-related mandates particularly on bringing innovative fund products to the market.

Practice head(s):


Not only do they know the funds area well, they are on top of the latest regulatory requirements and issues. They are also very familiar with the regulators, their requirements, expectations and how they work, likewise Deacons is well regarded by the regulators.’

They are responsive, practical, commercial and the quality of their work, from the juniors to the partners, is almost faultless. I would rely on their advice which is typically balanced and thoughtful.’

Deacons has a very experienced investment funds team and they have a wealth of history and knowledge in the area.’

Alwyn Li is very familiar with the regulatory environment and understands risks involved.’

Ming Chiu Li is accessible, commercial, familiar with all latest trends and very down-to-earth.’

Jeremy Lam and Joyce Li give very practical legal advice and are always extremely helpful and client friendly.’

Key clients

Aberdeen Standard

Alliance Bernstein


First Sentier Investors

Invesco Hong Kong Limited

Janus Henderson Management S.A.

Manulife Investment Management

Principal Global Investors

Schroder Investment Management

St. James’s Place

Value Partners

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Hong Kong arm of a global investment bank to establish, register and launchthe first private umbrella OFC in Hong Kong.
  • Advised CSOP on the debut of the first ETFs established under the Hong Kong-Mainland cross-listing scheme.
  • Advised BEA Union Investment Management on setting up the first unlisted public SFC-authorised OFC in HongKong.

Hong Kong > Labour and employment Tier 1

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.

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‘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


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.

Hong Kong > Real estate Tier 1

Deacons‘ real estate team, which is ‘well-established as a market-leader’, is experienced in the gamut of transactional work relating to residential, commercial and industrial matters. It also handles landlord and tenant work and corporate real estate mandates. Elsewhere, much of the firm’s development work is led by practice head Lilian Chiang, who ‘possesses unrivalled knowledge, experience and insight in the every aspect of real estate law’. In addition to being noted for her transactional expertise, Chiang is also at the vanguard of legislative changes in the sector, as was demonstrated by her recent appointment to sit on the steering committee representing the legal sector to help to change/simplify the land system. The roster of clients includes a raft of major domestic developers, including MTR Corporation, which the group is advising on several major residential development projects.

Practice head(s):


The team is able to provide practical advice and insight at an affordable rate.

It is well established as a leader in the market in the field of real estate.’

‘Lilian Chang is arguably the best in the business when it comes to real estate matters, who possesses unrivaled knowledge, experience and insight in the every aspect of real estate law.’

Key clients

MTR Corporation

Wheelock Properties (Hong Kong) Limited

Urban Renewal Authority

Gold Topmont Limited

Loyal Pioneer Limited

First Group Holdings Limited

Road King Infrastructure Limited

Mapletree Investments Pte. Ltd.

Hang Seng Bank Limited

Asia Art Archive Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising MTR Corporation on several on-going residential development projects in LOHAS Park, Wong Chuk Hang Station, and Homantin Station.
  • Advising an international real estate, investment, and property management company headquartered in Singapore in a RMB3bn acquisition of a 50% stake of 15 existing joint ventures and 100% interest in 6 logistic assets located in PRC from Mapletree entities in Hong Kong.
  • Advising First Group in the HK$1.5bn acquisition of two properties in Kowloon which will be demolished and redeveloped into new industrial and commercial buildings.

Hong Kong > Regulatory Tier 2

Deacons is noted for its deep knowledge of financial services and banking regulation – a field in which it is increasingly assisting corporate entities setting up in Mainland China. Another primary area of focus is SFC licensing and compliance for financial firms and a wide variety of other financial sector clients. Singled out for his ‘good logical thinking in assessing each situation’, litigation and dispute resolution practice head Joseph Kwan leads the group alongside financial services department lead Jeremy Lam and finance and insolvency practice head Philip Gilligan. Jane McBride retired at the end of 2020.


‘Joseph Kwan is detail-oriented and thoughtful, with good logical thinking in assessing each situation.’

Hong Kong > Antitrust and competition Tier 3

With a strong focus on the domestic market, Deacons leverages considerable expertise in the form of practice head Machiuanna Chu, who handles competition advisory and cross-border M&A matters, and its in-house competition economist Sharon Pang. Peter So is a name to note for contentious matters and is experienced in investigations brought by the Hong Kong Competition Commission. The team regularly handles high-profile Competition Tribunal cases.

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Sharon Pang is conscientious and very attentive to details‘.

Key clients

The Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Limited; Sino UnitedPublishing (Holdings) Limited

Meyer Aluminium Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising The Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Limited; Sino United Publishing (Holdings)Limited on HKSAR Competition Tribunal Enforcement Action between the Hong Kong Competition Commission (“HKCC”) and T.H. LeeBook Company Limited (“T.H. Lee”), The Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Limited (“CommercialPress”), Sino United Publishing (Holdings) Limited (“Sino United”), and Mr. Hui Chiu Ming.
  • Advising Meyer Aluminium Limited on two related matters of the Hong Kong SAR Competition Tribunal Action between Meyer Aluminium Limited and Taching Petroleum Company Limited, and Meyer and Shell HongKong Limited, respectively.

Hong Kong > Capital markets (debt) Tier 3

The ‘outstanding‘ team at Deacons advises issuers and underwriters across a range of debt capital markets matters and is ‘very knowledgeable and experienced in helping Chinese clients raising offshore debts’. ‘Client-centric and experienced‘ team head Kevin Tong has been at the vanguard of the development of the offshore bond market and ‘is able to suggest practical solutions to resolve the complex legal and regulatory issues as well as to fulfill the regulatory requirements of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)’. 

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We have been working with Deacons regarding various debt issues for many years and their professional services and knowledge including market practice are exceptional and at high quality at all times. Their team is outstanding and impressive in dealing with the specific requirements of the regulators’. 

The team is very responsive and knowledgeable about DCM matters.’

The team is very knowledgeable and experienced in helping Chinese clients raising offshore debts.’

The team has strong professional skills, rich experience in the Chinese dollar bond market, and very good communication skills.’

Kevin Tong is very efficient, client-oriented and is able to suggest practical solutions to resolve the complex legal and regulatory issues as well as to fulfill the regulatory requirements of the HKMA.’

Kevin Tong is an experienced partner in the DCM space and has always been client-centric and approachable. He provides timely legal advice and ensures transactions are executed in accordance with the industry standards.’

Key clients

AVIC International Leasing Co., Ltd.

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited

Bank of Communications Co.

Guangzhou Metro Group Co.

Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co.

The Bank of East Asia The Wharf (Holdings) Limited

Wharf Real Estate Investment Company Limited

Wheelock and Company Limited

Xi’an Municipal Infrastructure Construction Investment Group Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited as the issuing and lodging agent as to Hong Kong law on the RMB bill issuances by The People’s Bank of China in Hong Kong from February to December 2020, totalling RMB155bn.
  • Advised Bank of Communications Co. as the issuing and lodging agent on the Sovereign Bonds issuances by the Ministry of Finance of the PRC in Hong Kong in July, September and November 2020, totalling RMB15bn.
  • Advised The Wharf (Holdings) Limited as issuer on the annual update of the $7bn Medium Term Note Programme.

Hong Kong > Capital markets (equity) Tier 3

Deeply embedded into the fabric of the Hong Kong legal and business environment, by virtue its longstanding presence in the country, Deacons is a popular choice among regional banks as underwriters, as well as issuers for their listing work on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Praised for his ‘acute and professional judgement in analyzing complex legal issues’, practice head Ronny Chow has vast experience in the market and leads a 13-partner corporate finance team that has the strength-in-depth to handle  IPO work, as well as secondary listings and ongoing regulatory compliance matters. Other recommended practitioners include consultant Eugina ChanMaynard Leung and senior associate Samantha Chau, whose broad expertise also includes compliance advice on securities-related legislation and the listing rules.

Practice head(s):


Deacons’ capital markets team is well known in the market for decades, particularly acting for Hong Kong sponsors.’

Deacons is one the leading law firms in providing legal services for IPO in Hong Kong. They have a strong team of experience lawyers in handling IPOs of various sectors.

Ronny Chow has an acute and professional judgement in analyzing complex legal issues.’

Ronny Chow is experienced and has a good commercial sense.’

Canny Lau is diligent and responsible.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas Securities (Asia) Limited

BOCOM International (Asia) Limited

CMB International Capital Limited

Dongxing Securities (Hong Kong) Company Limited

Guotai Junan Capital Limited

Haitong International Capital Limited

Halcyon Capital Limited

ICBC International Capital Limited

Lego Corporate Finance Limited

South China Capital Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Viva China Holdings on its HK$3.8bn placing of shares of Li Ning Company Limited.
  • Advised the joint sponsors Haitong International Capital Limited and CMB International Capital Limited and underwriters in relation to HK$3.4bn Main Board IPO of Excellence Commercial Property & Facilities Management Group Limited.
  • Advised the underwriter, Haitong International Securities Company, in relation to the HK$2.72bn rights issue by Kaisa Group Holdings.

Hong Kong > Construction Tier 3

Led by the 'highly focused and efficient' Kwok Kit CheungDeacons' team has a particularly strong reputation for successfully resolving construction disputes for private sector entities through the use of ADR. Its work includes matters concerning defects and delays, late/non-payments and extensions of time. Joseph Chung is 'not only a very knowledgeable lawyer, but also a highly experienced construction disputes litigator'. The firm also advises on competition law issues impacting the industry, and is able to provide particularly effective and commercial advice by leveraging the expertise of in-house economist Sharon Pang.

Practice head(s):


In addition to their excellent professional legal knowledge, the key members of the team are also very experienced and familiar with the construction industry.’

Expert in legal and construction field, provide timely and effective opinions.’

The advice is precise and practical.

KK Cheung is knowledgeable and his advice is always thorough, practical and helpful.’

‘KK Cheung is an outstanding litigator; he is highly focused and efficient.’

Joseph Chung is one of the top construction lawyers in Hong Kong. He is not only a very knowledgeable lawyer but also a highly experienced construction disputes litigator.’

Justin Yuen is proactive and responsive.’

Key clients

Ching Lee Engineering

Gold Brilliant Investment

Kwan On Construction Co

Gurkhas Construction

Cheung Hing Construction Co Ltd

KML Engineering Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Ching Lee and its employee in a major industrial summons (widely reportedin the press) for alleged violation of the Buildings Ordinance and involving injury to a pedestrian, in a 27-day trial and appeals all the way up to the Court of Final Appeal.
  • Advising Kwan On Construction Co Ltd on the administration of various substantial projects involving the use of NEC contracts and on the preparation of tenders involving use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Modular Integrated Construction (MiC).
  • Acting for Kwan On and its subsidiary in two High Court actions in which they claim over HK$50m from their sub-contractors in relation to landslip preventative works under the Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Programme 2017 Main Contract between Kwan On and the HKSAR Government.

Hong Kong > Corporate (including M&A) Tier 3

2021 marked the 170th anniversary since the founding of Deacons, a Hong Kong-headquartered firm that has since expanded to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing; the team excels in all transaction types including M&A, private equity and venture capital investments and exits, public takeovers, privatisations and joint ventures, both local and cross-border. A defining trait of the practice is its proficiency in fund matters, from formation and investment through to exist strategies, as well as its track record in assisting Chinese state and privately-enterprises on their outbound investments to Hong Kong. The practice, which also notably acts for several Japanese clients, is jointly headed by Ronny Chow and Machiuanna Chu who directs a level of emphasis towards the new economies tech sector. Consultant Eugina Chan focuses on corporate finance mandates.

Practice head(s):

Ronny Chow; Machiuanna Chu


The teams are experienced, resourceful, and with the flexibility and creativity we need to solve our issues. They are always responsive, whatever the time and the requests.’

Extremely knowledgeable as to current market practice, specifically within the real estate industry. Creative and innovative in terms of coming up with solutions in extremely difficult situations.’

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. Besides the execution process and agreement drafting/ negotiation, they are able to advise on other issues such as HR, taxation, antitrust, insurance etc. which are equally important in an M&A transaction; and the partners/ lawyers we have dealt with are very responsible and professional‘.

Deacons’ team is very professional with solid experience in different aspects of corporate finance practice. They are knowledgeable and helpful as well. They charge clients at reasonable fees.’

The whole team is very experienced and commercial, as well as very responsive and helpful in addressing our needs. Even though different people may handle different aspects of our needs, you feel that they have been fully briefed on our preference/style. The fees are very reasonable.’

Ronny Chow is trustworthy and the to-go person for legal advice.’

Rhoda Yung is a leading practitioner. She is both commercial and practical, financially and numbers orientated. And a pleasure to work with her.’

Ronny Chow is very knowledgeable, thoughtful and effective in addressing our needs. His response time is always very impressive and always there to go the extra mile to assist.’

Key clients

Chongbang Group

Chuang’s Consortium International 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

Luen Thai Holdings Limited

Shimao Property Holdings Limited

The Wharf (Holdings) Limited

Viva China Holdings Limited

Wharf Real Estate Investment Company Limited

Wheelock and Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Kerry Logistics Network Limited on its HK$13.5bn disposal.
  • Advised The Cross-Harbour (Holdings) Limited and Rose Dynamics Limited (as offeror) on the voluntary conditional general cash offer to acquire all the issued shares of The Cross-Harbour (Holdings) Limited at approximately HK$4.029bn.
  • Advised BOCI Asia Limited on the privatisation of Polytec Asset Holdings Limited by way of a scheme of arrangement at approximately HK$3.074bn.

Hong Kong > Dispute resolution: international arbitration Tier 3

Longstanding local firm Deacons has a broad dispute resolution practice with expertise in international commercial, construction and energy arbitration. It is particularly active in disputes arising from the belt and road projects, for which construction disputes experts Kwok Kit Cheung, the ‘outstandingJoseph Chung and Justin Yuen are all names to note. Litigator Joseph Kwan leads the disputes practice which benefits from the ability to work closely with colleagues based in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Robert Clark retired.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Kwan


Mr Joseph Chung is a bright and outstanding solicitor who is pro-active and always provide sound advices when legal issues crop up. He is the one among a few solicitors I would recommend to my clients.

Good service. Prompt in their dealings. I like their quick responses / advice which told me answers/conclusions. I came across members in other firms that gave advice telling what would happen by going left and what would happen by going right without giving a conclusion on what to do, and that might mix up comments and advice (what clients needed would be advice, not comments).’

Deacons is a good reputable law firm and I have been working with them since 2005 and their service is regarded to be one of the best law firms in HK.

Good large local team, with a good practice in international arbitration that touches Hong Kong.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a global investment company in a $200m arbitration concerning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the performance of a contract.
  • Representing a number of Hong Kong companies in obtaining interim relief in aid of overseas arbitration proceedings, involving $multi-billion.
  • Acting for a PRC-listed company and its subsidiary in a HK$300m construction arbitration involving an overseas hotel.

Hong Kong > Dispute resolution: litigation Tier 3

Clients appreciate the attention-to-detail’ and ‘strategic thinking’ on offer at Deacons, which handles shareholder or matrimonial disputes, as well as others relating to professional indemnity and, in one instance, the management rights of professional snooker player Marco Fu. Practice head Joseph Kwan and Paul Kwan regularly act in high-profile litigation for listed companies and government entities; KK Cheung is praised for his ‘skilful execution’ on construction-related mandates, while Carmen Ng and associate Michelle Li are also highly active. Sherlynn Gaye Chan arrived from Stevenson, Wong & Co following Robert Clark‘s departure in March 2021.

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‘Deacons is a reputable dispute resolution firm in Hong Kong. It has a wealth of talents covering many different areas of practice. The teams with whom I have worked are very dedicated to their jobs and are able to produce works of very good quality.’

‘Both Richard Hudson and Judy Wu are very responsible and immensely sensible in handling our case.’

‘A stellar team with highly specialist advice and cost-efficient. Quality legal advice minus the haughty lawyers’ proviso’s and reservations. The team is commercial, practical, and responsive. Very good attention-to-detail and thorough.’

‘Paul Kwan is responsive and always able to provide practical and accurate advice at a very reasonable fee.’

‘Deacons’ commercial litigation team is experienced, practical and efficient in handling all sorts of contentious matters that a client may face.’

‘Paul Kwan is highly recommended for commercial contentious and compliance matters, whose knowledge in the fields, combined with his resourcefulness, provide great comfort to clients who may have needs in litigation matters.’

‘The team under KK Cheung is a very dedicated team. Comprehensive and strategic advice and skilful execution. Speaking from the perspective of counsel, the team is always able to deliver great support in all aspects of the litigation.’

‘KK Cheung and his team are knowledgeable in commercial litigation, with strategic thinking and attention-to-detail.’

Key clients

Independent Police Complaints Council

Mr. Derek Chiu

Zhang Caikui

Hummingbird Music Ltd

DP World Djibouti FZCO

Fu Ka Chun Marco

Gold Brilliant Investment Limited (a subsidiary of Goldin Financial Holdings Limited

Paul Chan Po-Man and Frieda Hui

Law Society of Hong Kong

Yuanta Securities (Hong Kong) Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for shareholder Zhang Cai Kui in a very complex multibillion-dollar shareholders’ dispute, which has generated numerous sets of proceedings in Hong Kong.
  • Obtained summary judgment for effectively HK$134 million on behalf of Yuanta Securities (Hong Kong) Company Limited against an Account Executive (working as Independent Consultant) under a guarantee, guaranteeing to bear responsibility for all losses Yuanta may sustain by reason of insufficient margin – the first time that a guarantee of this nature has been enforced against an Independent Consultant in favour of a securities brokerage company.
  • Acting for DP World Djibouti FZCO and two other plaintiffs in Hong Kong’s first court case involving a Chinese belt and road project and involving claims for procuring/inducing the breach of DP World’s exclusive multibillion-dollar port concession agreement with Djibouti.

Hong Kong > Domestic and International Corporate Tax Tier 3

Deacons handles a mix of tax planning work and dispute resolution for its clients, which include corporates, family trusts, charitable foundations and individuals. Cynthia Chung leads the team, whose non-contentious work includes advice on the tax aspects of M&A, reconstructions, joint ventures and the structuring of new businesses. Another key individual is Stefano Mariani, who was promoted to partner in January 2021.

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‘Deacons has done an excellent job helping us with Hong Kong tax issues.’

‘They are commendably willing to give firm, useable views on difficult issues, rapidly and very economically.’

‘Stefano Mariani is an excellent tax lawyer: highly knowledgeable, confident, clear in his advice and decisive.’

‘You can ask Stefano Mariani for a quick steer over the phone, and the written advice, when it comes, takes the same position and fortifies it against doubt.’

‘Stefano Mariani’s grasp of Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department’s practice, attitudes and priorities is immensely helpful.’

Hong Kong > TMT Tier 3

Deacons is highly reputed for M&A, IPOs and investments in the TMT space. In addition, the firm is a go-to for advice on a wide ambit of commercial matters, including those relating to advertising, sponsorship agreements, licensing and distribution. With numerous qualified patent attorneys among its ranks, the team is conversant with a range of new technologies, including blockchain and digital non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Machiuanna Chu, who focuses on the new economies tech sector, co-heads the practice with Charmaine Koo.

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The very responsive team has an excellent understanding of client needs.’

Key clients




Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Google in an appeal against the Privacy Commissioner in Hong Kong regarding “Right to be Forgotten”.
  • Representing Alibaba in proceedings commenced in Hong Kong by cosmetics supplier Mary Kay against three Alibaba companies relating to, inter alia, issues regarding Online Content Provider liability for a third party seller’s product, and jurisdiction issues regarding e-commerce sites operating across borders.
  • Advised O-Net Technologies and the Offeror (being the consortium offeror comprising two substantial shareholders of O-Net Technologies and other investors) on the privatisation of ONet Technologies by the Offeror by way of a scheme of arrangement and the withdrawal of llisting of shares of O-Net Technologies from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Hong Kong > Banking and finance Tier 4

Independent Hong Kong Firm Deacons has a longstanding history in the city and acts for national and international banks, and as local counsel for international law firms. Philip Gilligan heads the finance and insolvency team, with notable experience in advising lenders and borrowers on syndicated and single bank facilities across Asia. Consultant Simon Deane has over 30 years’ experience in lending and security work, including debt financing,

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‘The team is extremely knowledgeable as to current market and commercial practice’.

‘Well-versed in both commercial and financing aspects of financing transactions, and in particular strong in real estate financing’.

Hong Kong > Insurance Tier 4

Deacons' team advises clients on a wide range of contentious matters, including those involving statutory insurance (employees’ compensation and compulsory third party motor claims) and general claims. It also has expertise in commercial insurance issues, such as policy, life assurance and regulatory matters. In addition, insurance-related restructurings and insolvencies are another cornerstone of the practice, which is led by Alfred Tam. The firm attracts work from domestic and international insurance companies, policy holders, intermediaries and regulators, among other clients.

Practice head(s):


‘This firm’s knowledge of insurance law is second to none.’

‘They are prompt to reply to clients’ enquiries and requests.’

‘They are willing to find alternative solutions with you and are flexible to meet your standard.’

‘In-depth knowledge of personal injury litigation involving all degrees of complexity.’

‘Impeccable team work from senior partners to trainee solicitors.’

‘Good reputation with the judges of all levels so as to facilitate case management in best favour of insurers.’

‘Endless resources and pervasive network, in particular with medical experts of all specialities, which are of paramount importance when handling the number of on-going cases at the same time.’

‘Alfred Tam, the team leader, is a talented individual who is always on the top of the law and is a pleasure to work with.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a renowned insurer in successfully contesting quantum of employees’ compensation and obtaining costs of the action on behalf of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals.
  • Acted for The Kowloon Motor Bus Co. (1933) Limited in resisting an over HK$10m personal injuries claim and secured a costs order against the plaintiff on an indemnity basis with interest at the statutory maximum of 10% above judgment rate.
  • Representing a leading construction company in proving that a claimant was a malingerer.

China > Labour and employment: foreign firms Tier 3

Advising regularly on sensitive employment-related matters, Deacons is adept at assisting its clients with navigating the complexities of PRC labour law. PRC Bar qualified Helen Liao advises both Chinese state-funded enterprises and multinational companies across a range of industries including shipping, telecoms and tourism. Liao's key areas of expertise include cross-border employment arrangements, income tax compliance, immigration and more generally, the multi-jurisdictional labour issues arising from global talent mobility. Notably, the firm counts other law firms among its client roster which it advises on high-level terminations.

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‘Everything delivered has been exceptional’.

‘Helen Liao had been most helpful in providing sound and practical legal advice and excellent delivery of works and communications.’

‘The Deacons employment team can undertake both HK and PRC legal work – a rarity in HK.’

Helen Liao is very responsive and knowledgeable.’

China > Intellectual property: foreign firms

Deacons‘ Hong Kong-based IP team, which also leverages support from representative offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, acts for some of the world’s best-known brands. The firm houses patent attorneys, who are  qualified in Australia, China, Europe and the UK, and has a longstanding track record  in handling large trade mark portfolios and prosecution matters. The IP department is co-led by IP expert Charmaine Koo, and Annie Tsoi, who consistently acts for leading companies from the luxury goods, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, entertainment, fashion and electronics sectors. Also integral to the group are patents and designs practice leader, Catherine Zheng, a specialist in China IP protection strategy and contentious matters; Dora Si, who provides 'quick responses' and 'firm and concise advice', and advises on China-related data privacy and cybersecurity issues; and China-focused technology specialist Ian Liu, who is particularly active in IP litigation and enforcement work, along with commercial IP matters.

Practice head(s):

Charmaine Koo; Annie Tsoi

Other key lawyers:


‘The Deacons IP team is very accurate, providing clear advice on how clients should proceed after analysing matters.’

‘The lawyers show concern about what matters to clients’ businesses and the challenges they face. Accuracy and professionalism are what clients value most in this team.

The team discusses all aspects of all issues and provides appropriate professional advice.

‘Particularly useful that the group’s practitioners handle both HK and China trade mark portfolios.’

Great for not only evaluating cases from a legal perspective, but also from a practical angle.

‘Annie Tsoi and Dora Si are rated for their experience, patience and professionalism. They impress with their informative presentations, which point out all the challenges and weaknesses clients have within their trade mark matters, and what improvements they could make.’

Annie Tsoi and Doris Si provide a very professional service.

‘Dora Si – quick responses, proactive, and firm and concise advice.’

Key clients

Ping An Group


Alibaba Group

Hong Kong Science and Technology Park


Firm overview: Deacons is Hong Kong’s premier independent law firm and advises some of the world’s leading companies, financial institutions and individuals in Hong Kong and mainland China on their most significant and complex matters. With over 170 years of experience providing legal services, 18 key service areas and three representative offices in mainland China, Deacons offers clients the benefit of its close relationships with Hong Kong’s business community.

Key service areas
Banking and finance: Deacons has built a leading position in the sector over many years of working for some of the world’s largest banks, financial institutions and trading companies within financing across the region. The firm’s experience spans syndicated lending, acquisition, project and structured trade finance, and banking regulatory work.

Capital markets: The firm’s extensive experience spans all areas of corporate finance, capital markets, structured products and regulatory work — ranging from IPOs, secondary issues, debt financing and bond issues to public takeovers — making Deacons well-equipped to advise on fundraising solutions to suit any organisation.

China trade and investment: With its Mandarin-speaking team, and the support of offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Deacons can assist with everything from gaining approval for investment projects, cross-border M&A, joint ventures with Chinese companies, and putting in place supply and distribution agreements, to setting up offices and operations in China.

Corporate and M&A: The firm’s highly regarded corporate team serves an extensive client base spanning a variety of sectors, advising on all aspects of transactional work, including private mergers, acquisitions and disposals, private equity and venture capital investments and exits, and local and cross-border joint ventures.

Corporate services: Deacons’ experienced team can help lessen the burden of complying with regulatory formalities allowing clients to focus on their core business. The firm’s highly ranked team offers cost-effective professional corporate services, including helping with company formation, company secretarial services, registered office provision, and the preparation and custody of statutory records to ensure that everything is fully compliant and up to date.

Competition:  The firm’s practice combines solid antitrust legal and economics experience with unparalleled in-depth knowledge of business practices in Hong Kong. Its lawyers and in-house economist have extensive experience advising companies and senior executives in a wide range of competition matters.

Construction: Deacons has considerable experience of advising on major projects across the region. The firm’s non-contentious work encompasses the full range of contractual and risk management advice, and spans both public and private sector projects, as well as resolving disputes through traditional and alternative dispute resolution techniques.

Employment and pensions: Deacons assists a wide range of clients with a variety of issues, including employment documentation, employee benefits and incentives, day-to-day HR issues, labour and employment disputes, pension regulations, work and residence visas, and the employment aspects of M&A and restructurings.

Family law: The Deacons’ team understands the importance of protecting clients’ interests and resolving matrimonial disputes quickly and effectively, to minimise emotional distress and preserve family harmony where possible, especially with the increase in marriages involving international elements, global residences and complex worldwide family assets and businesses. Our team is experienced in handling a wide range of family related matters in both contentious and non-contentious settings.

Intellectual property (IP): The firm’s award-winning IP practice offers a seamless service across Hong Kong and mainland China covering all areas of IP law, including the protection, exploitation and enforcement of copyright, designs, patents and trademarks (including the direct filing of Chinese trade marks through its Beijing trade mark agency).

Investment funds: The largest investment funds team in Hong Kong, Deacons acts for a high proportion of international and local asset managers on matters ranging from  authorised funds and products to alternative investment funds and all related regulatory work.

Private client: Deacons’ experienced private client team can help with everything from local and international tax planning, wealth management and succession planning using wills, trusts and other structures, to philanthropy, real estate, probate and administration of estates, trust disputes and the running and restructuring of family businesses.

Data protection and privacy: Deacons offers a seamless service across Hong Kong and mainland China, advising on the full range of issues including data privacy policies and compliance, exploitation of data, cybersecurity and handling data breaches, data transfer, privacy issues in advertising and marketing, as well as investigations and appeals before the Privacy Commissioner and other enforcement authorities.

Insurance: With Hong Kong’s largest specialist insurance practice, Deacons advises international and domestic insurers, intermediaries, regulators and others on a variety of matters, including large international insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes, regulatory issues, professional indemnity claims, insurance insolvencies and corporate deals in the regional insurance market.

Litigation and dispute resolution: Deacons’ reputation is founded on efficiently handling a wide range of work, from large scale, complex, multijurisdictional litigation to more routine matters, in every area from general commercial and contractual cases, insurance and partnership disputes, to highly technical banking, IP, trusts, real estate, employment and tax litigation.

Real estate: With a team of over 50 experienced staff, Deacons provides high-quality, integrated real estate advice on everything from the sale and purchase of real estate, property management and landlord/tenant issues, real estate finance, planning and zoning, real estate tax and dispute resolution.

Regulatory: Deacons’ regulatory team is highly experienced in dealings with the HKMA, SFC, OCI and MPFA, and in handling wider issues concerning fund authorisation and insurance, as well as insider dealing and market misconduct. Its commercial regulatory work ranges from regulatory investigations and data protection to bribery and corruption, discrimination and competition.

Tax: Deacons assists with all areas of tax law, from advising on tax-efficient business or investment structures, exemptions, reliefs and concessions, to representing clients in tax investigations or disputes. The firm also has considerable experience of advising on China’s Enterprise Income Tax and its various turnover taxes.

Banking & Finance Philip 2825 9716
Capital Markets Ronny 2825 9435
Competition Machiuanna 2825 9630
Construction KK 2825 9427
Corporate and M&A Alexander 2825 9770
Corporate and M&A Machiuanna 2825 9630
Employment & Pensions Cynthia 2825 9297
Insolvency & Restructuring Philip 2825 9716
Insurance Alfred 2825 9490
Intellectual Property Annie 2825 9255
Intellectual Property Charmaine 2825 9300
Investment Funds Jeremy 2825 9732
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Joseph 2825 9324
Private Clients Lilian 2825 9234
Real Estate Lilian 2825 9234
Regulatory Joseph 2825 9324
Regulatory Jeremy 2825 9732
Tax Stefano 2825 9314
Elsie Chan photo Elsie ChanPartner
Karen Chan photo Karen ChanPartner
Sherlynn Chan photo Sherlynn ChanPartner
Lilian Chiang photo Lilian ChiangSenior Partner, head of Property practice group
Emmy Chow photo Emmy ChowPartner
Ronny Chow photo Ronny ChowPartner, Head of Corporate Finance practice group
Machiuanna Chu photo Machiuanna ChuPartner
Su Cheen Chuah photo Su Cheen ChuahPartner
Joseph Chung photo Joseph ChungPartner
Amy Chung photo Amy ChungPartner
Cynthia Chung photo Cynthia ChungPartner, head of Corporate Commercial practice group
Fiona Fong photo Fiona FongPartner
Sabrina Fung photo Sabrina FungPartner
Philip Gilligan photo Philip GilliganPartner
Richard Hudson photo Richard HudsonPartner
Taylor Hui photo Taylor HuiPartner
Charmaine Koo photo Charmaine KooPartner, co-head of Intellectual Property practice group
Joseph Kwan photo Joseph KwanPartner, head of Commercial Litigation practice group
Paul Kwan photo Paul KwanPartner
Jeremy Lam photo Jeremy LamPartner, head of Financial Services practice group
Teresa Lau photo Teresa LauPartner
Canny Lau photo Canny LauPartner
Loretta Lau photo Loretta LauPartner
Patsy Lau photo Patsy LauPartner
Linda Lee photo Linda LeePartner
Maynard Leung photo Maynard LeungPartner
Alwyn Li photo Alwyn LiPartner
Joyce Li photo Joyce LiPartner
Ming Chiu Li photo Ming Chiu LiPartner
Helen Liao photo Helen LiaoPartner
Ian Liu photo Ian LiuPartner
Kelley Loo photo Kelley LooPartner
Gary Lui photo Gary LuiPartner
Stefano Mariani photo Stefano MarianiPartner
Jeffrey McLean photo Jeffrey McLeanPartner
Carmen Ng photo Carmen NgPartner
Alexander Que photo Alexander QuePartner
Dora Si photo Dora SiPartner
Gere Sit photo Gere SitPartner
Pinky Siu photo Pinky SiuPartner
Peter So photo Peter SoPartner
Mark  Stevens photo Mark StevensPartner
Alfred Tam photo Alfred TamPartner, Head of Insurance Litigation practice group
Kevin Tong photo Kevin TongPartner
Annie Tsoi photo Annie TsoiPartner, co-head of Intellectual Prorperty practice group
Edwarde Webre photo Edwarde WebreConsultant
Wallace Wong photo Wallace WongPartner
Erica Wong photo Erica WongPartner
Gary Wong photo Gary WongPartner
Wai Tung Yu photo Wai Tung YuPartner
Justin Yuen photo Justin YuenPartner
Icarus Yuen photo Icarus YuenPartner
Rhoda Yung photo Rhoda YungPartner
Catherine Zheng photo Catherine ZhengPartner
Partners : 54
Chinese (Mandarin and dialects)
Chinese (Hokkien)