Ms Kelly Naphtali > Kirkland & Ellis > Hong Kong, Hong Kong > Lawyer Profile

Kirkland & Ellis
Hong Kong

Work Department





Kelly Naphtali is a partner of the Hong Kong office of Kirkland & Ellis. She has earned a well-deserved reputation for handling difficult commercial and insolvency related disputes in both court and arbitration, often requiring urgent action to prevent the movement or dissipation of assets. Kelly has worked on claims in jurisdictions including Hong Kong, China, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Philippines, Australia and throughout the Caribbean. Consequently, Kelly has a wealth of experience in managing and running cross-border litigation and arbitration, including claims arising from corporate collapses.

Kelly has been named as a leading lawyer by Chambers Greater China, and a “Next Generation Partner” by The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific. She has also been named to the list of “Top 100 Women in Litigation” for Insolvency in China and Hong Kong, and as a “Litigation Star for Insolvency” from 2020 to 2023 by Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific. In 2017 and 2018, she was awarded “Best in Insolvency and Restructuring” at Euromoney Asia Women in Business Law Awards.




Deakin University, LL.B., 1996

Deakin University, B.Comm.

Lawyer Rankings

Hong Kong > Dispute resolution: international arbitration

Kirkland & Ellis is a market leader in private equity and funds arbitration, active across all aspects from advisory work at the deal stage to pre-arbitration dispute resolution and conducting the arbitrations themselves. Vastly experienced across HKIAC, ICSID, ICC, SIAC and many other major institution rules, the practice also handles a steady stream of international commerce and investor-state arbitrations across key economic sectors including energy, infrastructure, defence and technology. Fergus Saurin heads the practice and commands a strong reputation for multi-jurisdictional arbitration disputes, especially regarding capital markets, M&A and shareholder disputes. Kelly Naphtali is also a key contact for cross-border work, covering numerous jurisdictions including China, Japan, Singapore, Korea and Australia.

Hong Kong > Restructuring and insolvency

Kirkland & Ellis prides itself in its restructuring capabilities, as is evidenced by its involvement in high-profile regional and pan-Asian cases, representing companies, bondholders, and banks in a wide spectrum of contentious and non-contentious matters. A notable strength of the ‘commercial and solutions-focused’ team is its significant focus on India, where it has played a crucial role in major restructurings, including Essar Steel and Lodha Group. Advising ad hoc committees is also a key specialty of the firm, with recent developments in China leading the team to provide guidance on restructurings related to the real estate industry, often spanning multiple jurisdictions. Leading the group is Neil McDonald, a key contact for multinational corporates seeking advice on a range of insolvency and restructuring issues. Other key names include Kelly Naphtali, who focuses on commercial and insolvency-related disputes, and Wei Yang Lim, who is a key point of contact for leading private equity sponsors in the region. Fergus Saurin is an expert in cross-border litigation with a particular focus on capital markets, M&A, and shareholder disputes.

China > Dispute resolution: Litigation: foreign firms

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP‘s team is routinely instructed by clients facing bet-the-company claims across Greater China. Cross-border dispute specialist Tiana Zhang, who has litigation experience in both the US and China, leads the Mainland China litigation practice from Shanghai, where Yue Qiu also acts in cross-border litigation. The Hong Kong practice is co-led by Paul Quinn, who focuses on professional negligence, cross-border claims, insolvency, fraud, directors’ duties, and shareholder disputes; financial disputes expert Amy Ngan, who is ‘always across the detail‘; and Fergus Saurin, a specialist in capital markets, M&A and shareholder disputes, as well as banking and international trade and investment cases. The other key figures are former practice co-head Kelly Naphtali, whose wide-ranging practice covers asset recovery, professional negligence, borrower default, and fund and shareholder disputes; Cori Lable, who leads the investigations and white-collar practice; and Jodi Wu, an expert in internal investigations, compliance and cross-border litigation.

China > Restructuring and insolvency: foreign firms

(Next Generation Partners)

Kelly NaphtaliKirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’ restructuring team is considered ‘market leaders’ with its contentious and non-contentious restructuring work for companies, banks, and bondholders. The team advises its expanding list of high-profile clients on various restructuring issues such as debt rescheduling and refinancings, receiverships and liquidations, and shareholder disputes. Neil McDonald, who heads the team, advises both domestic and international troubled clients on the full range of issues including advising ‘The Committee’ in respect of aspects of offshore notes issued by Evergrande Group. Kelly Naphtali handles challenging insolvency disputes, often to prevent the dissipation or movement of assets. Other key members include Wei Yang Lim who is considered a ‘stand out lawyer’ for high-profile equity sponsors and regularly advises sponsor portfolio companies with restructurings and distressed investments while Fergus Saurin offers a broad range of expertise including handling complex commercial and insolvency-related disputes.