Hong Kong SAR

IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate
Baker McKenzie

Established in 1974, international law firm Baker McKenzie’s Hong Kong office boasts a team of over 150 lawyers under the leadership of managing partner Steven Sieker.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Hong Kong office is best known for its real estate funds work and also boasts strong retail funds, M&A, restructuring and insolvency, and banking and finance offerings.

The banking team advises on a range of financing matters such as project finance, acquisition finance, syndicated loans, and export credit finance. The capital markets team is experienced in advising clients such as issuers and underwriters across a gamut of debt and equity offerings. The private equity team is active in sectors such as healthcare, technology and telecommunication, energy, retail, industrials and manufacturing, and consumer products.

 

Key clients  

Notable clients include Tencent, Gaw Capital Partners, Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions & Benefits Fund, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, HSBC, Manulife Asset Management, Credit Suisse, and Standard Chartered Bank.

Charltons

Charltons is a Hong Kong-based boutique providing legal services to Hong Kong, Chinese and international clients with an emphasis on the mining sector. The firm has further offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Yangon.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm provides legal advice to its clients in corporate finance, capital markets, M&A, financial regulatory and private equity, investment funds, restructuring and insolvency matters.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Beevour Ventures, Amoeba Capital Advisors, Alliance Capital Partners, Velotrade Management, 10T Tech Holdings, and Wing On Company International.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

In the research period, the firm kept busy with regulatory work, conventional lending mandates, microfinance, corporate bonds, debt restructuring, Hong Kong IPOs and listings on GEM, capital raisings, share issues and acquisitions, Cayman mutual funds, US feeder funds, SPC funds, SFC authorised funds, biotech funds, and cryptocurrency funds. 

The corporate team handled investments, acquisitions, disposals, due diligence, joint ventures, and sales, while the restructuring and insolvency practice advised on corporate restructuring mandates of bookshops, battery businesses, and aluminium producers. 

The firm hired finance consultant Denis Petkovic from Bronze Horse Partners in September 2020. 

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

10T Tech restructuring

Amoeba Multi-Assets Alpha Fund

Fu Shek Financial Holdings HKSE IPO

Galileo Platforms series A1 financing

Sequoia Capital China Advisors $100 million loan facility 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Capital markets: Equity

“The firm has an incredible understanding on listing rules especially on Chapter 18 listings.”

 

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

“The firm has deep knowledge of the local market and is highly responsive.”

 

Investment funds

“Julia Charlton is a member of the Listings Review Committee of the HKEX and the Takeover Panel of the SFC and is extremely knowledgeable on regulation of corporate finance and investment funds in Hong Kong.”

“Responsive, knowledgeable and commercial.”

 

Restructuring and insolvency

‘Julia Charlton and her team are very diligent and thorough and worked out a number of viable options for the company to consider. She also took the extra effort to understand the shareholding dynamic to ascertain help company and controlling act in their best interest.”

Clifford Chance

London-based magic circle law firm, Clifford Chance has 34 offices across 23 countries. The Hong Kong office has over 150 lawyers serving clients in Greater China. The firm also operates in its Beijing and Shanghai offices.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is focused on banking and finance, capital markets, restructuring and insolvency, financial services regulatory and M&A.

Industry strengths for the firm include work in the oil and gas industry, technology media and telecommunications and transport.

The firm has over 25 lawyers focused on restructuring and insolvency work across Asia-Pacific. The team advises private equity investors and international banks on insolvency issues.

 

Key clients

Clients in financial services regulatory include SFC, Monetary Authority of Singapore, RBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Key clients for the firm in restructuring and insolvency are FTI Consulting, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, China Development Bank and King Street.

Notable clients for the firm in capital markets include State Grid Corporation of China, State Power Investment Corporation, Metallurgical Corporation of China, China Minmetals Corporation, China Tourism Group, China Development Bank, and Agricultural Development Bank of China.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

In capital markets, the firm advised issuers on the debt side.

In financial services regulatory, the firm serviced clients in the financial services sector.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm was active in a cross-border restructuring in the aviation sector.

Shaun Langhorne joined the firm’s restructuring and insolvency department, from Hogan Lovells.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Pacific Andes Group restructuring

PizzaExpress Group restructuring

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Bank lending : Borrower side

"Deep bench, leading lawyers, commercial."

 

Banking and finance

"CC is the lenders' counsel in the transaction, and they have done a great job in giving professional advice to lenders to protect lenders' interest."

"They are responsive and clear with their advice."

 

Capital markets : Debt

"Generally open-minded about out-of-the-box ideas. Patient over discussing complex issues."

"Lawyers in Clifford Chance have a solid technical and execution skill, which especially can be distinguished in the sophisticated transactions or extremely short time frame. In addition, they are always reachable, which is really important from clients' perspective. As a conclusion, I am always happy to work with the Clifford Chance team and have a strong preference to have them on my deal."

"Proactive and professional in dealing with regulatory requirements."

"Provide prompt feedback on issues, knows the market well, handle multi banks proficiently, adhere to deadlines."

 

Financial services regulatory

"High levels of expertise and experience, particularly with respect to mis-selling claims - responsive, and speedy turnarounds - practical and good listeners - they don't produce things that we don't need/don't ask for."

"Experienced, knowledgeable, was able to manage expectations of senior stakeholders well and the advice was practical and supported by market practice. "

 

Investment funds

"Very knowledgeable, proactive and practical."

 

Investment funds: Hedge funds

"Commercial, appropriately technical, and expedient."

"Responsive and high level of expertise."

"Very experienced, responsive, comprehensive industry knowledge."

 

M&A

"Comprehensive experience in M&A work."

"Highly qualified in all aspects of M&A transactions. Top work products under high time pressure. "

 

Private equity

"Bryan Koo was the lead partner on this transaction. We like the fact that he is a straight, no-fuss sort of guy, that we know he will not just give us the textbook answers. He was able to pick up all the complicated, and often quickly evolving, details of the transaction very quickly and with high precision. He is always available, and feels enthusiastic and interested in the deal and what we do. "

"Very knowledgeable, proactive and practical."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Constructive and commercial."

"Proactive in raising issues and providing suggested solutions. Team well staffed to execute the transaction and work independently."

"The Clifford Chance R&I team works well from partner all the way down to their trainees. They are organised, efficient and always all over the detail."

 

Amy Ho

"Very experienced, responsive, meeting deadlines also when under pressure, reliable, building a trustful relationship with 'the other side'."

 

Anthony Wang

"Anthony Wang is a legend of the industry, he has been practicing for more than 20 years, and has been consistently delivering the highest quality of services to his clients."

 

Bryan Koo

"Very knowledgeable, proactive and practical."

 

Chin Seng Chew

"Very knowledgeable and responsive."

 

Donna Wacker

"Very practical - good listener - doesn't waste time or push things that we don't need - good at managing the relationship."

 

Joanna Charter

"Proactive, solutions-oriented, able to articulate complex issues in an understandable manner, responsive, can work independently."

 

Kasia Lorenc

"Kasia is an absolute pleasure to deal with. She is bright, extremely efficient and definitely one to watch."

"Responsive."

 

Mark Chan

"Open-minded about out-of-the-box ideas. Patient over handling complex issues."

"Client-focused, offers prompt actions, able to handle large syndicates and resolve issues in a professional manner."

"His responsiveness and the willingness to strike a balance between the interests of all parties are superb. He is able to leverage on his platform resources globally, take into consideration the market standard and local culture, and achieve the desired results within the tight timeframe."

 

Mark Shipman

"Commercial and solution-oriented, superior domain expertise compared to peers. Always available."

"Very knowledgeable, proactive and practical."

 

Matt Feldmann

"Industry knowledge. Thoughtful, balanced opinions."

 

Scott Bache

"Leader in his field, commercial and hard-working."

 

Teresa Leung

"Funds expert, very hands-on, knowledgeable."

"Response, high level of expertise, good client service."

 

Vicky Ma

"Vicky Ma is one of the few lawyers in Hong Kong who has expertise in project finance transactions, where she is the best among them."

 

William Wong

"Responsive, strong industry knowledge and market practice, prior in-house experience, good understanding of the investment banking business and manages senior stakeholders well. "

"Very strong regulatory/FSR knowledge - responsive and meets deadlines - practical, smart, good to speak to."

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Davis Polk & Wardwell is a New York-headquartered law firm with 982 lawyers across 10 offices in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Catering to its clients with Chinese interests the firm has offices in Hong Kong and Beijing.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

In Hong Kong and China the firm is best known for its equity and debt capital markets work, M&A and private equity across the technology media and telecommunications, banking, consumer goods, energy, healthcare and real estate sectors.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include LIZHI, Venus Medtech (Hangzhou), Tencent Holdings, China Yongda Automobiles Services Holdings, Tianfeng Securities, CNOOC, Baidu Holdings and I Squared Capital.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Capital markets

"Best-in-class service, always provide commercial advice and solutions to the underwriters when handling difficult issues. The partners are extremely knowledgeable in this space. Always diligent, comprehensive, responsive and provide excellent product output. Most importantly, they understand what's important for the underwriters and are not afraid to push for what's required to the issuers."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Professional, can work under tight deadlines and deliver high-quality work."

Gallant

Established in 1977, Gallant is an independent Hong Kong firm with over 40 solicitors and further representative offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou. It is also a member of Meritas, a global alliance consisting of 181 independent law firms.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm offers legal services in commercial, corporate and property related matters, including banking and finance, M&A, joint ventures, project finance, and Hong Kong IPOs.

 

Key clients 

Numerous Chinese banks are key clients of the firm.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

In the research period, the firm has been busy acting in a lot of conventional lending mandates, including term loans and revolving loans. The M&A team has been active in acquisitions, joint ventures, sales and disposals in natural gas, transport, offshore businesses, and pawnbroker businesses. 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking 

“Lawyers in Gallant are proactive in solving problems/legal issues we face in the transactions and provide useful opinions and suggestions. They are detail-minded and accurate when drafting the loan documents and always helpful to remind our bank for some considerations easily neglected. They are also hardworking to meet the tight schedule and provide good services to our client.” 

“Gallant was very thorough and detailed in arranging the whole case. this involved negotiation with a Singaporean lawyer working for Gallant, the Singaporean mortgagor, HK borrower, Singaporean 1st mortgagee bank, as well as DBS HK as 2nd mortgagee bank. There was so much work to do in the process, plus subtle differences between HK and Singapore law. Gallant followed up nicely and saved us a lot of trouble.”

 

Dorothy Lo

“Very thorough, conscientious, and knowledgeable, she talked very convincingly.”

 

Philip Wong

“The team of Philip Wong are very friendly and easy to talk to. They are helpful throughout the process and manage to follow up on the cases. They are willing to listen to our concerns and address the issues with possible solutions.”

Hauzen

Hauzen is an independent Hong Kong firm focused on financial services regulatory. It has an association with Chinese Anjie Law Firm giving it reach to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. 

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm specialises in financial services regulatory advice, and restructuring/rescues of distressed public companies. It handles both contentious and non-contentious aspects of financial services regulation and restructurings. 

In capital markets the firm has strong presence in the equity area often advising a mix of underwriters and issuers on IPOs in the SIX Swiss Exchange. It advises Swiss public companies on various capital raising issues and public offerings. The firm has notable underwriter counsel experiences across the equity transactions.

 

Key clients 

Key clients for the firm include Mobile Internet (China) Holdings, Siberian Mining Group, Rich Bay Securities, Jiainvestek, and Liandong (Hainan) E-Sports.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period the firm has kept busy with share acquisitions, SFC applications and investigations, and debt restructuring. 

Hauzen brought in regulatory partner Greg Heaton from Duff & Phelps, capital markets partner Anthony Chan from Squire Patton Boggs, and of counsel Josephine Chung from Compliance Plus Consulting. Zhao Rong Ooi left the firm in January 2020.  

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Jiainvestek HK$290 million share acquisition

Mobile Internet (China) Holdings debt restructuring 

Latham & Watkins

Established in California in 1934, Latham & Watkins is an international firm with 2700 lawyers across 29 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm’s office in Hong Kong leverages off its Asia network of offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.  

Focusses / specialisms

Latham & Watkins traditional strength in Hong Kong is in M&A and capital markets, but in recent times, it has made its presence felt in regional private equity, restructuring and insolvency, regulatory and leveraged finance, where it has a unique practice that acts for lenders, sponsors and borrowers.  

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Zhengzhou Zhongrui Industrial Group, China National Chemical Corporation, ESR Cayman, Bank of America, Vipshop Holdings, Huachen Energy and China Life Insurance (Overseas) Company.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s capital markets team kept busy advising on Hong Kong and US IPOs, high-yield bond issuance, corporate and convertible bonds and programme updates. 

In finance the firm acted in a range of conventional finance mandates, lender and sponsor leveraged finance, margin financing and bridge loans. 

The corporate team were busy with take-private mandates, investments, mergers, joint ventures, spin-offs, and acquisitions in the transport, automotive, telecommunications, data centres, healthcare, technology, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage industries. 

The private equity team assisted clients in various rounds of funding while the regulatory team handled a host of contentious and non-contentious mandates. 

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm acted for bondholders and advised in financial restructuring mandates alongside other matters in energy, mining and medical industries. 

The firm’s corporate team was hit with the departure of its Beijing office managing partner Yilong Du to private equity firm Warburg Pincus. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-China Biologic Products Holdings $4.6 billion take-private

-China National Chemical Corporation $2.5 billion multiple-tranche (3.125%, 3.375%, 3.875%, 4.75%) bond issue 

-Chongqing Sincere Yuanchuang Industrial $230 million 10% high-yield bond issue 

-DouYu International Holdings NYSE IPO

-ESR Cayman HKSE IPO

-Ruangguru $150 million series C financing 

-Shanghai Huaxin insolvency

-Tencent Asset Management $6.5 billion term loan and revolving credit facility 

-Vipshop Holdings Rmb3.4 billion acquisition of Shan Shan Commercial Group 

LC Lawyers

LC Lawyers is an independent Hong Kong law firm and a member firm of EY Law, the legal services arm of rebranded accounting firm Ernst & Young.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s core practices are in the equity capital markets, M&A, restructuring and insolvency.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Overseas Chinese Town (Asia) Holdings, Asia Allied Infrastructure Holdings, Greentown Service Group, HC Group, Fame Yield International and HKC (Holdings).

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the Over the research period, the firm kept busy with Hong Kong IPOs, corporate bonds, share issues and placings, privatizations, acquisitions, and disposals.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Overseas Chinese Town (Asia) Holdings $407 million acquisition of state-owned land use rights in Hefei Airport International Town

HKC (Holdings) $151 million take-private

Sail Link Holdings $305 million acquisition of Greentown Service Group

Vantage International (Holdings) HK$543 million take-private

Yue Kan Holdings HKSE IPO

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Capital markets: equity

“Professional, efficient and prompt services, expertise in legal compliance advice.”

“Rossana and her team provided very professional and solid legal advice to us on projects. And she also provided resolution to us from a commercial perspective. Her attribution is very useful and helpful to us.”

“We value LCL as a member firm of the global EY network which has international coverage with access to law firms of various jurisdictions. Meanwhile, we have known Rossana Chu (the managing partner of LCL) over ten years. With such a long-standing relationship, we are familiar with each other's teams and working style. Rossana and her team have extensive knowledge in Hong Kong laws and compliance. They always deliver work at top quality even within limited time. Rossana and her team are very experienced in aforesaid areas and we rely on and highly value their advices / opinions.”

 

M&A 

Strong Knowledge.”

“LC lawyers provided very useful and helpful legal services for such transactions, including reviews of transaction documents, negotiations and links with regulatory.”

“Very reputable law firm.”

 

Rossana Chu

“Professional, responsible, good concern with client, expertise in laws.”

“Rossana is a very professional and knowledgeable lawyer on capital markets and M&A areas. She can think the issues not only from legal perspective but also from commercial perspective. She can give us creative resolution to successfully address the issues.”

“Rossana Chu of LC Lawyers is undoubtedly a seasoned and experienced legal practitioner with plenty of skills to offer. From mega M&A and corporate finance deals to ad hoc specific advice in relation to some SFC's rules, she has consistently demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the letter of the law whilst the commercial practicality and usefulness of the advice is never compromised. Her understanding of Chinese institutions, culture and complexity involved is unrivalled, including deals and transactions with cross border elements. Her responsiveness to questions has been impressive even during unsociable hours. Overall, you will get what you wanted at a very reasonable price and in a timely manner.”

 

Ricky Ho

“Responsible.”

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown is a large international law firm with offices in 27 cities across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It has been serving its clients in China since the 1990s with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong where it has over 200 lawyers.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is best known in Hong Kong and China for its restructuring and insolvency, projects, banking and debt capital markets practice where it is ranked highest—its high-yield practice is active often representing trustees on bond issuances.  It also has a strong regulatory practice.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Asian Development Bank, SOCAM Development, HSBC, LimeTree Capital, Citibank, Excelsior Partners and China Everbright Bank.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"Knowledge and experience working in Korean regulation. Expertise in finance documents and strong negotiation skills."

"Highly motivated and super efficiency. Guiding the project and clients on both lender and borrower side."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Strong partners in Tom Pugh and John Marsden - know the jurisdiction, the region, the players, the commercial concerns and the law, so safe pair of hands to work with."

Seyfarth Shaw

Seyfarth Shaw was founded in Chicago and has established offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm’s strength lies in M&A, and equity capital markets.

 

In equity capital markets, the team acts for issuers in IPOs.

                                                                                                                                       

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include New Frontier Corporation, Diginex, Koppers Holdings, Universal Star Holdings, Kingsway Capital, SPDB International Capital and Aidigong Maternal & Child Health.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Formed in 1948, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is a New York-based international law firm with 1700 lawyers across 22 offices. The firm serves its clients’ Greater China interests from its offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing with over 70 lawyers.  

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm offers US, Hong Kong and English law advice from its Hong Kong office. High-end M&A and private equity are core to Skadden’s Hong Kong and China capabilities.

 

The banking team acts for borrowers and lenders in acquisition and corporate financing matters.

 

In debt capital markets, the team acts for issuers and underwriters in investment grade, green and high yield bond issuances. It is also a go-to issuer counsel for Chinese companies involved in US and Hong Kong IPOs alongside its strong funds practice and finance piece. 

 

Its fund team represents managers in private equity fund formations, investments and joint ventures.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Trip.com Group, JD.com, Sinopec Group Overseas Development, SSG Capital Holdings, BeiGene, Pinduoduo and Ctrip.com International. 

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood is a London-headquartered law firm with nine offices across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The firm has offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and an association—with PRC law firm Wei Tu—in Guangzhou catering to its clients’ interests involving Greater China.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm provides English and Hong Kong law advice especially in regulatory, banking and funds matters, and in restructuring and insolvency mandates.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include FundPark, Grand Capital Securities, Futu Securities International (Hong Kong), and Convoy Asset Management.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period, the firm advised on fintech mandates, securitisation, refinancing, supply chain finance, trade finance, conventional lending, and green finance. 

The regulatory practice handled matters involving online money lending platforms, virtual assets, mobile applications and SFC investigations and licensing. 

The funds team kept busy with hedge funds advisory, private equity fund formation,REITs, real estate investments, Cayman funds, and segregated portfolios. 

The restructuring and insolvency team were active in a range of mandates, advising on bankruptcies and provisional liquidations. 

The firm brought in funds specialist Penelope Shen from Kwok Yih & Chan, but lost banking partner Stephanie Wong to Eversheds Sutherland.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Beijing Enterprises HK$1 billion two bilateral term loan facilities

Beijing Enterprises Water Capital Management HK$1.8 billion term loan facility

Cecep Costin New Materials Group insolvency

Celestica $800 million refinancing

Grand Capital Securities OFC fund

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking 

“They are always responsive in providing professional legal advice, which assists us much in our BAU works.”

“They are reliable and responsive. Technically sound and offer practical solutions to complex issues.”

“The team at Stephenson Harwood Hong Kong is well structured and has ample bandwidth to support our requirements and work all these years. Their knowledge on the field in the context of Hong Kong is commendable allowing them to address our needs and doubts when they arise. They are able to support our work in a very timely and accommodating fashion as well which works very well in supporting our business.”

“Extremely responsive and knowledgeable. Excellent grasp of the technical aspects of the relevant laws.”

“Quick responses, good client management skills, efficient and professional services.”

“SH provided us with several helpful suggestions at key points before and after Brexit which shows its professional competence. Meanwhile, SH is very efficient, and the results of its work were reverted on the same day or the next one or two days. SH's understanding on the transaction structure and business purposes are also highly praised by the clients.  Last but not least, SH’s proficient in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and are able to provide English law and Hong Kong law services at the same time, which also brought great convenience to our clients.”

“They are very responsive, efficient and provide accurate and incisive advice.”

 

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitization

“SH is knowledgeable, responsive, pragmatic in providing useful advice and solving problems in a practical fashion.”

 

Financial services regulatory

“Stephenson Harwood analysed in great detail every aspect of the applicable financial services regulations. Not only did they systematically comb through the relevant regimes, they also 'tested' their understanding and applicability of them with relevant regulatory officials and also brought examples of cases in which some laws would apply to us.  This not only helped us get a full understanding of the regulatory landscape for the type of business we are but also equipped us with the necessary legal knowledge to evaluate our future strategic plans for the business.  We now know the legal implications of various business decisions which is invaluable.  Stephenson Harwood's entire team in charge of the project was at all times professional, responsive and extremely quick with regard to replying to our many questions.  At no time did we feel that our questions had exceeded the scope of the project or the time allocated to it. In fact, the team went above and beyond the project and spared no effort to ensure that all of our questions were answered and that we understood every aspect of their legal analysis.  The team fully understood the gravity of the project.  We are extremely satisfied with the process of working with Stephenson Harwood, their work ethic, client and time management and most importantly their knowledge of the financial services regulatory regime in Hong Kong. They also had up to date information of other players in a similar field and their various legal obligations.  This provided precedents and also helped to clarify the legal landscape for entities like us vis a vis other businesses.  The legal team had a fantastic combination of legal/business/commercial acumen which were all invaluable when navigating through the maze of various regulations, which are often grey, in a growing and ever evolving industry.”

“Provided us with practical and commercially sound advice.  Very client focussed.”

 

Investment funds

“Good attention to detail, thorough approach; exceptional value for money.”

“Penelope and her team are dedicated and responsive. They demonstrate a great willingness and aptitude to understand the business in all its subtleties.”

“Stephenson Harwood's team, Penelope Shen and her team, are dedicated and responsive. They also demonstrate a great willingness and aptitude to understand the business in all its subtleties. They also provide excellent business and industry knowledge.”

“Advises us on the latest developments in Hong Kong rules, regulations and laws in relation to the fund managers and funds under management and co-ordinate with Cayman lawyers to provide advices on the Cayman laws.”

“The firm is very professional on their work and could cater for our special requirements by thinking outside of the box. They could meet our tight deadline with lower than expected cost.”

“Good attention to detail, thorough approach; exceptional value for money.”

“Penelope and her team provide very client-oriented service; they provide excellent business and industry knowledge, and concise and to-the-point advice. They also had good attention to detail and thorough approach, exceptional value for money.”

“Penelope and her team provide very client-oriented service; they provide excellent business and industry knowledge, and concise and to-the-point advice.”

 

Restructuring and insolvency

“Responsive and diligent.”

“Great value for money, aggressive and commercial.”

“Proactive. Practical advice.”

“In-depth knowledge over insolvency law locally and also the cross-border situations, pragmatic approach to handle difficult issues and sensitive to concerns of different stakeholders.”

“Positive and eager to assist.”

 

Alexander Tang

“Addresses clients’ concerns and is responsive.”

“Responsive and accessible. Knowledgeable in insolvency and restructuring matters.”

 

Anna Kwong

“Useful advice.”

 

Elton Chan

“Responsive, professional advice, quick turnaround with documents.”

 

Jamie Stranger

“Commercial, smart, decisive.”

 

Katherine Liu

“Very helpful. Good at problem solving and providing commercially sound advice.”

 

Mark Reed

“Responsive and despite his seniority is very responsive. Provides detailed analysis.”

“He manages his team well and kept us in the loop on changes within his team which ensures us that their level of support is never lacking.”

“Offers expansive explanation of the legal issues that may be confronted in a transaction.”

“Mark is very responsive and pragmatic in providing services in a prompt fashion.”

“Mr. Reed has an outstanding combination of legal/business/commercial acumen. He has deep knowledge of every aspect of financial services regulation in Hong Kong and he is up to date with all key players in the financial services industry and their various regulatory obligations. Mr. Reed also has great contacts with various industry leaders and regulatory bodies, and he does not operate in a vacuum. He is the perfect balance of a fantastic lawyer and a great businessman. Mr. Reed was professional throughout the entire process. He went above and beyond ensuring that no questions remained unanswered and unexplained. He kept us all up to date about each and every step of the work and analysis. He was very quick with completing all aspects of the project. His explanations and analysis were clear and articulate. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences even though the actual project was complicated and meant the 'life or death' of our company.”

 

Penelope Shen

“Demonstrates a great willingness and aptitude to understand the business in all its subtleties.”

“Good attention to detail; thorough approach; exceptional value for money.”

“Penelope and her team provide very client-oriented service; they provide excellent business and industry knowledge, and concise and to-the-point advice with commercial and pragmatic approach.”

“Responsive to our enquiries and provides constructive advice.”

“The lawyer is willing to listen to our needs and able to provide out of the box solutions. She gives good advice for fund specific matters as well as other legal questions. She is very mindful of the cost and able to keep the cost down.”

“Excellent team with an all-round attention to detail and a commercial, pragmatic approach.”

“We can rely on Penelope and her team to understand the complexities of the transaction and also give good, considered advice.”

 

Teresa Tsoi

“Customer-oriented, professional, responsive.”

“Teresa has solved many key issues for our clients in transaction structure and dispute resolution issues. She has not only demonstrated outstanding capabilities in the fields of banking and finance, aircraft and ship leasing, but also has great accomplishments in infrastructure projects.”

Timothy Loh

Established in 2004, Timothy Loh is an independent Hong Kong firm that advises multinational companies, family offices, asset managers, and financial institutions in matters of Hong Kong and international law.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is strongest in financial services regulatory matters but also undertakes mandates in M&A, private equity and investment funds.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period the firm has provided regulatory advice on cryptocurrency and AI platforms, investment exits, mergers in financial services, private equity acquisitions and fund formation, private credit funds, and derivatives funds.

Withers

Withersworldwide is an international law firm headquartered in London with offices in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. It has been established in Hong Kong since 2008 offering tax and wealth planning, trust, family law, charity, and corporate advice. 

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s transactional practice offers corporate services in real estate, M&A, joint ventures, private equity, reverse takeovers, banking, IPOs, and entity reorganisation.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Anatole Investment Management and Excel Precise International.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

The firm kept busy during the research period with acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, investments, private equity financing, conventional lending and share acquisitions in the investment management, financial services, real estate, beauty, gaming, and consumer goods industries.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Anatole Investment Management $15 million series C financing

Anatole Investment Management $30 million investment in PingCap

Strong Day Holdings HK$80 million loan facility

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Financial restructuring

“Expert knowledge and trustworthy lawyers.”

 

Project development

“Extremely responsive to issues and High efficiency in terms of feedback and following-up. Professional in providing sensible and practical advice. Client always feel well looked-after.”

 

Daniel Tang

“Daniel Tang is an experienced partner and knows his area very well. He is always there to offer sound and practical advice in sticky situations.”

 

Polly Chu

She always aims to excel herself through the years to improve her knowledge and service. She is extremely responsive, patient, and responsible to her client. She performs diligently and clients feel rest assured that problems are always well taken-care of.”

“Trustworthy and diligent.”

Ashurst

London headquartered multinational law firm Ashurst opened its Hong Kong office in 2008. Key figures at the firm include partner Chin Chuan Chen.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm boasts a well-diversified financial and corporate offering and is strongest in capital markets, project finance, financial services regulatory, restructuring and insolvency, and private equity and real estate funds.

 

Key clients  

The firm acts for the likes of China Development Bank, Bank of China, Deutsche Bank, China Construction Bank, Export Import Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Minsheng Bank, and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation.

Campbells

Campbells is a full service offshore law firm that was established as Bruce Campbell & Co in 1970 before rebranding in 2001. The firm opened its office in Hong Kong in 2016.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

Campbells offers Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands legal advice and is strongest in the equity and debt capital markets, banking, M&A and restructuring, hedge funds and private equity.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Hanison Constructions Holdings, XD, FriendTimes, Asia Debt Management, DeepBlue and EFund Management.

 

Deacons

Established in 1851, Deacons is Hong Kong’s oldest and largest law firm with 300 lawyers and further offices in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai. The firm has connections with independent law firms across the world through its membership of legal networks such as Lex Mundi, Interlex, World Services Group and Employment Law Alliance.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

Deacons has the largest investment funds team in Hong Kong and dominates in retail funds. It covers PRC-related funds and mandatory provident funds (MPF), which are unique to Hong Kong. The firm also has strong capital markets, corporate and regulatory practices.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Manulife, Kerry Logistics Network, Bank of China, BNP Paribas Securities, Mirae Asset Global Investments, Janus Henderson Management and The Bank of East Asia.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"They are always fast to respond and raise relevant concerns."

"Competent, efficient and pragmatic."

"Deacons is a large, well-staffed and experienced law firm in Hong Kong. Their positive qualities include Hong Kong SFC contacts and strong relationships that result in effective client-regulator advice and registrations. "

"Highly efficient, good communication and professional."

"They provided quality work at a reasonable price. They attended to details and raised sensible and relevant questions for feedback from business or operation. They are willing to update the T&Cs on several rounds with feedback from business and internal counsel. They also agreed to provide comments on regulatory issues not covered in their original scope of work under agreed fees."

"Very prompt and accurate opinion and work."

 

Investment fund

"Deacons is very professional, experienced and knowledgeable about not only the applicable rules and regulations, but also able to give valuable advice about best market practices. The team is also very accommodating about tight timetables."

"Deacons understands well the regulatory requirements and concerns in relation to fund registration process in HK. The savings on cost and time facilitate business development and time to market."

"They are responsive and can usually complete under budget."

"Very professional and familiar with regulations. Provides sensible and workable solutions."

"Expertise in the subject matter, strong and well-staffed team, very responsive and helpful."

"Good precedents, helpful."

"The partner in charge, Su Cheen Chuah, is very engaged and has been very helpful throughout the whole process, from the initial strategic planning to execution."

"They are the market leader in terms of HK authorised funds and understand the SFC's expectation and provide practical solutions."

"Very responsive, on top of the latest regulatory developments, knowledgeable on client's businesses and practical."

"Professional, tailored and practical advice on fund terms meeting our commercial needs while upholding investors' interests."

"They know us well and they work to very tight deadlines."

Debevoise & Plimpton

Debevoise & Plimpton is a New York-based global law firm with 655 lawyers across 10 offices in the US, Europe and Asia. The firm services its clients with Chinese interests from its offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

Debevoise & Plimpton is transactionally strongest in strategic and private equity, M&A and private funds.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Carlyle Group, Alibaba Group, Baring Private Equity Partners Asia, Ontario Teachers Plan Pension Board, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Wilsonart International.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Financial services regulatory

"They have very good lawyers who understand the issues and know the business."

 

Investment funds

"Expertise with ability to think commercially in biz fashion, smart and hard-working."

"Very client-friendly in terms of response time, knowledgeable on current market practice, very practical approach depending on the negotiation dynamic and leverage. Not trying to generate work for sake of fees."

"Timely - deep industry knowledge - problem-solving attitude."

"DP is the top investment funds firm in the market and have served as our go-to funds counsel for over a decade. Gavin Anderson is our relationship partner and is one of the best funds lawyers around - he is razor sharp, solutions-focused, user-friendly and brilliant."

"Gavin and his team have been very responsive to our requests and able to provide professional advice."

"Very experienced, technically strong, commercially savvy."

 

M&A

"Debevoise provides a full suite of corporate services for us, and we turn to Debevoise for a variety of corporate matters across Asia Pacific. One of their strengths is the breadth and depth of expertise they have here in Asia, which allows us to tap into their expertise and experience for a wide range of matters. We can depend on them to be a sounding board, even at very early stages of a transaction. We know we can count on them to be responsive, thorough, and that they would offer us thoughtful and commercial advice."

"I found the firm (and the partner, Edwin Northover) responsive, technically good and particularly commercial. They were proactive and considered in approach and in negotiations. They are familiar with the insurance industry which is particularly useful in drafting and also in identifying and navigating issues. I have been happy with the level of service received to date and no specific issues to call out."

"William Chua's team is super-responsive to our needs. They are technically strong and therefore are able to flush out all the legal issues pertaining to the deals - we work together on multiple a year - yet also commercial, which allows us to speak the same lingo, prioritise objectives, and come up with the right negotiation tactics."

"Debevoise is the market leader in insurance M&A in Hong Kong. Ed Northover is a key practitioner in this space and has great support from Jan Buschmann on the regulatory advisory side. They see everything happening within this field and are able to provide sound legal advice and strategic insights, in addition to be being great to work with."

Dechert

Founded in 1875, Philadelphia headquartered international law firm Dechert boasts a team of more than 900 lawyers spread across 22 offices. Key figures at the Hong Kong office include partner Michael Wong.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

Dechert in Hong Kong is best known for its high-quality funds practice, focusing on hedge funds, private equity funds, and retail funds.

The firm is experienced in advising on matters across a range of industry sectors and has a particular focus on financial services.

 

Key clients  

Recent clients include Hauck & Aufhauser, Ping An of China Asset Management, UBS Asset Management, Wells Fargo Asset Management, China Resources Capital Management, SK Holdings.

Dorsey & Whitney

Dorsey & Whitney is a US-based law firm with over 500 lawyers across 19 offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. In Asia the firm has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. 

From its Hong Kong office the firm is transactionally known for its India-focused capital markets practice alongside its China practice. It had been building its India debt capital markets since 2018.

Key clients of the firm include Indian Railway Finance Corporation, Eight Roads Ventures and Citicorp International. 

In the research period, the team was kept busy with Rule 144A offerings, block trades, and high-yield bond issues. 

The firm was recently hit by the departure of partner David Cameron to Candy Pang & Co. 

Deal highlights

-Fidelity International $32 million block trade

-Indian Railway Finance Corporation $1 billion dual-tranche (3.249%, 3.95%) bond issue

-Vedanta Resources $1 billion high-yield bond issue 

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland is the result of a 2017 merger between law firms Eversheds and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. It has over 2800 lawyers and 68 offices across 32 countries. The firm serves its clients with China interests from its offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

In Hong Kong the firm is most active in handling structured finance and securitisation mandates and has expertise in contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency-related matters.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Hong Kong Capital Finance Corporation, Meritz Securities, Oceanwide Holdings, DBS Bank, HSBC, Gibson Innovations and Liberty Group.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"Client and solution-oriented. Prompt and responsive."

"Eversheds Sutherland's wide specialisations within the HK office and its broad capabilities across different jurisdictions enables clients to more easily obtain all-round advice to manage legal risk. "

 

Capital markets

"Aside from being knowledgeable and responsive, brings a practical approach to transactions. Kingsley Ong is always available and prompt with his feedback."

"Mr Kingsley Ong and his team are very approachable, responsive and professional."

"Great commercial grasp of the transaction - deal-making attitude - legally sound and practical advice."

"Kingsley's team did an excellent job in leading the transaction as Hong Kong counsel and providing legal expertise as well as practical solutions to various issues throughout the transaction. "

"They are very commercial in trying to solve legal/structure issues to get a good faith compromise between lender and borrower."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Mr Kingsley Ong and his team are very approachable, responsive and professional. Their advice is practical and easy to understand."

"The lawyer and his team are very prompt and meticulous."

Fangda Partners

Headquartered in Shanghai, Fangda Partners is among the largest China-based law firms with further offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. 

The firm has traditional strength in private equity. It was one of the earliest entrants into the PRC fund formation market and its team has the dual capacity to advise on renminbi and offshore US dollar fund formation matters. M&A is a core focus of the firm, while its capital markets team has TMT expertise, and the finance team is especially potent in acquisition financing.

Key clients of the firm include Alibaba Group Holding, Budweiser Brewing Company, KKR, Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank, DCP Capital and Shenzhen Energy Group.

In the past 12 months, the firm has had a very active projects practice alongside its capital markets, M&A and private equity practices.

The firm brought in M&A partners Yi Chen, Tianyi Chen, Tony Zhong and Mark Lehmkuhler from Morrison & Foerster, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Norton Rose Fulbright and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe respectively. Colin Law also joined from Shearman and Sterling, while partner Diane Xue departed. 

Deal highlights

-Alibaba Group Holding HKSE secondary listing

-Alibaba $2 billion acquisition of HQG

-KKR NVC $794 acquisition of NVC Lighting’s China Lighting Business

Client feedback

Capital markets: Debt

“Christine and her team advised us on the successful issuance under a very unique structure in the industry. We have benefited from her rich experiences in capital markets and her professionalism. Her long experiences in international law firms and financial institutions enables her to work with multinational companies like ours very well. She is well respected and trusted by the relevant regulators, which is also of great help for us to communicate with the authorities in the course of the issuance.” 

“Fangda helps the company to focus on the key points of the transaction, and assists in the negotiation.” 

Capital markets: Equity

“Very responsive to clients’ enquires, great work ethic and strong teamwork.”

M&A

“Fangda’s mainland China offices (Beijing and Shanghai) and Hong Kong office really work as one team. Fangda is capable in organising lawyers from different practice areas to work together collaboratively and effectively.  They are very critical for a Chinese based firm in advising clients on complex cross-border M&A cases.”

“Conducted due diligence in limited time to help revise the transaction documents effectively.”

“The best M&A firm in China with deep understanding of the M&A law and capital markets knowledge. Always provides professional legal advice in a timely manner.”

Annie Shen

“Good communication, excellent in problem solving, and always acts in the best interests of the company.”

Dong Wu

“Very experienced in equity underwriting transactions and a quick problem solver.”

Jeffrey Ding

“Jeffrey is the most experienced M&A lawyer in China with extensive experience in private equity investment. He is very knowledgeable and always very hands-on in his projects.”

Li Kewu

“He has conducted due diligence in a limited time and helped to revise transaction documents.”

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Established in 1890, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is a Los Angeles-based international law firm with over 1300 lawyers across 20 global offices. The firm’s Hong Kong office opened in 2010 and works closely with its other Asian offices in Beijing and Singapore.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm offers US, Hong Kong and English law advice to its global and Asia-based clients and is best known for its private equity, investment funds, M&A, projects and leveraged finance work.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include I Squared Capital, Bain Capital, Hahn & Company, NetEase, Manila Electric Company, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation and IPI Partners.

Goodwin Procter

Boston-based Goodwin Procter is an international firm with 1200 lawyers and 13 offices across the globe. In Asia it has an office in Hong Kong.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is best known for its private equity, M&A and funds practices in technology, life sciences, financial services and real estate.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include PAG, TKK Symphony Acquisition Corp, FountainVest Partners, A91 Partners, Alpine Capital and DSG Consumer Partners.

Haiwen & Partners

Founded in 1992, Haiwen & Partners is a 200-lawyer-strong PRC firm with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The firm is a fully integrated partnership with a modified lockstep compensation system.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

Compared to other PRC law firms, Haiwen & Partners is relatively small and focused on cross-border securities, M&A transactions, private equity, investment funds, restructuring and insolvency.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Citigroup Global Markets, Huaneng Guicheng Trust, eWTP Tech Innovation Fund, Syngenta Group, Kuaishou Technology, DCP Capital, and China International Capital Corporation.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

In the past 12 months, the firm’s capital markets team has been busy with overseas bonds, green bonds, convertible notes, exchangeable bonds, education bonds, private placements, and IPOS in New York, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Singapore.

The funds team have handledLP work, investments, mixed ownership, and funds in Singapore and in logistics, manufacturing, and real estate.

M&A continues to be a core area for the firm wo were preoccupied with consolidation mandates, debt-for-equity transactions, acquisitions, mergers in agriculture, technology, education, insurance, financial services, and oil and gas. The private equity team facilitated its clients various funding rounds, investments,  and fund raising.

Haiwen & Partners strengthened its corporate team with the hire of partner Ye Taoye from Allen & Overy. Its capital markets practice welcomed of counsel Zhang Fan from CITIC Securities.

 

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

5G Fund

China Merchants Bank $800 million green bond issue

Kuaishou Technology HKSE IPO

PipeChina Rmb123 billion acquisition of Sinopec oil and gas pipeline business

Shenyang Machine Tool restructuring

Yuanfudao $1 billion G series financing

HM Chan & Co in association with Taylor Wessing

HM Chan & Co is a Hong Kong transactional boutique that formed an association with international firm Taylor Wessing in 2016.  Taylor Wessing has over 1100 across 16 jurisdictions in Asia, Europe and the Middle East including offices in Shanghai and Beijing.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

In Hong Kong, the firm is most active in the equity capital markets, M&A, private equity, venture capital and the regulatory space.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Southwest Securities, Ballas Capital, Acute Peak Investments, Earn World Enterprises, Music Sales Corporation, Recaro Aircraft Seating International and Chapman Freeborn.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Capital markets

"The Taylor Wessing team has provided outstanding services. particularly in preparation of documentation, providing advice to the sponsor, assisted the sponsor in negotiation with the listing applicant as well as other professional parties in the project. The team was also very diligent and dedicated to their work. When the legal adviser of the listing applicant (which was a less experienced new law firm) of that project failed to deliver satisfactory prospectus drafting, the Taylor Wessing team stepped up proactively to take up certain drafting work with high quality under a tight timeline."

"HM Chan & Co provided professional legal advice to its clients during the HKIPO execution process. HM Chan & Co also involved in prospectus drafting. Contributions from HM Chan & Co resulted in smooth execution process."

 

Financial services regulatory

"Fast reaction time. Good quality practical advice. Sensible billing."

 

M&A

"Awesome in follow-through. Spot-on with advice and counsel, brilliant client-management attitude."

"Mark has provided very valuable and pragmatic advice to the client. He dominated the entire process, outplaying all other law firms involved in this deal. It is good to have a responsive, intelligent and sharp counsel!"

Howse Williams

Howse Williams is an independent Hong Kong firm comprised of 90 lawyers including 26 partners. It covers a range of practices such as corporate and corporate finance, disputes, insurance, personal injury, labour law, family law, and real estate.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm has particular strength in financial services regulatory as one of the market’s largest contentious and non-contentious standalone regulatory practices with seven lawyers.

 

Key clients  

It often deals with the financial services regulators such as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Securities and Futures Commission, Insurance Authority and Hong Kong Stock Exchange on contentious regulatory investigations as well as non-contentious licensing and advisory matters.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Financial services regulatory

"The firm is able to fight against all the odds in the regulatory jungles and successfully convinced the opposite party of the points we tried to strike."

K&L Gates

K&L Gates is a US-based international law firm with 45 further offices across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. The firm assists its clients with Greater China interests from its offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. 

Its lawyers instruct on cross-border transactional, regulatory, and contentious matters, but are especially active in corporate and M&A. 

Key clients of the firm include Koppers, TCL Holdings, Greentown Education Investment, Luye Medical, KaiOS Technology, Bluescope Steel and DIC Corporation. 

Over the research period the firm kept itself busy with corporate advice and restructuiring mandates, joint ventures, investments, stake sales and acquistions in the chemicals and financial services sectors. 

In 2019, the firm hired partner Guiping Lu from Haiwen & Partners and saw Grace Fan-Delatour depart for White & Case. 

Deal highlights

-Greentown Service Group A$67 million acquisition of 56% stake in Montessori Academy Group

-Fangda Carbon New Material and C-Chem $107 million acquisition of Koppers (Jiangsu) Carbon Chemical Company 

-KaiOS Technology restructuring 

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is a Hong Kong-based international firm that was formed as a merger between PRC firm King & Wood, Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, and UK firm SJ Berwin. It has over 2000 lawyers and 23 offices worldwide. Apart from Hong Kong the firm also has mainland offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Haikou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Qingdao, Sanya, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Suzhou.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The Sino-Australian venture is a dominant player in China’s legal market. It is the only international firm that can practise PRC law and so a go-to counsel for A-Share, H-Share, and panda bond transactions. The firm is also strong in projects, private equity, finance, M&A, and structured finance and securitisation—especially in Korean cross-border ABS deals, cross-border auto loan securitisations and retail structured products.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Castle Peak Power Company, CEIEC, China General Nuclear Power Corporation, CSSC Shipping, Zhong An Technology group, Shui On Land, Pamfleet, Ningxia Tianyuan Logistics Group and Shandong Chenming Paper Holdings.

Kirkland & Ellis

Established in 1909, Kirkland & Ellis (K&E) is a Chicago-based law firm with 2300 lawyers and 15 offices worldwide.  The firm caters to its clients with an interest in Greater China from its offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is best known for its strength in private equity and restructuring work, but it also has solid corporate, capital markets and investment funds practices and a growing regulatory presence.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Warburg Pincus, Showa Denko, Ascendent Capital Partners, KKR, Hammer Capital, China Minsheng Investment Group and Bain Capital.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"Very smart and commercial."

"KE are consummately professional, rigorously intellectual and unswervingly committed to delivering the best results for their clients. They draw on an awe-inspiring pool of highly talented lawyers that are not just experts in their respective fields but are emotionally aware and personable."

"KE is ardently committed to delivering creative well-thought-out solutions for their clients ahead of time and always go above and beyond what could be reasonably expected of them."

 

Capital markets

"Partner engagement and oversight."

 

M&A

"Generally high quality, very responsive, can give practical solutions."

Kwok Yih & Chan

Kwok Yih & Chan is an independent corporate law firm based in Hong Kong specialising in the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese markets.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm has a strong track record advising clients on non-contentious corporate and securities work owing to its strong relationship with capital market regulators such as HKSE and SFC.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include China New Energy, SMC Electric, Cirtek Holdings, Perfect Achiever Group, Golden Celosia and GenieBiome Holdings.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

The firm’s IPO practice has been busy in the past year acting China New Energy, the first issuer to be delisted from AIM and relisted on the HKSE in the last ten years. The practice also handled a number of other Hong Kong IPOs and proposed listings. 

The M&A team handled acquisitions, stake acquisitions, disposals, and investments across the biotech, gaming, food and beverage, financial services, and real estate sectors. 

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Cirtek Holdings HKSE IPO

Fortune Chance Global, Lam Man Ngar Norris, Huge Superpower and Ku Chi Pang Stanley $1.4 million investment in GenieBiome Holdings

Perfect Achiever Group HK$1.3 billion acquisition of 20.65% stake in Macau Legend Development

SMC Electric HKSE IPO

True Partner Capital HKSE GEM IPO 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Capital markets: Equity

“They can always give valuable legal advice to our particular situation.”

 

Financial services regulatory

“Partners and lawyers have strong technical knowledge on relevant laws/rules and are able to provide detailed analyses to help us understand the relevant regulatory requirements.”

 

M&A

“The team was very knowledgeable, prompt to respond and really put my interest at heart.”

 

Restructuring and insolvency

“KYC worked closely with us and was accurate in its advice. They're also flexible with fee arrangement.”

 

Conrad Chan

“Very knowledgeable in the area, really advocated my interest, good connections with relevant sectors.” 

“Always thinks out of the box to suggest solutions not only from legal perspectives but also considering clients’ commercial justifications.”

 

Leon Saw

“Leon's quite accurate in reflecting our business points when drafting and timely in pointing out areas of legal concern and/or requiring attention.” 

“Very responsive and patient in understanding our questions and issues and can provide practical advice and solutions to meet our needs.”

Mayer Brown JSM

Mayer Brown is a large international law firm with offices in 27 cities across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. It has been serving its clients in China since the 1990s with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong where it has over 200 lawyers.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is best known in Hong Kong and China for its restructuring and insolvency, projects, banking, and debt capital markets practice where it is ranked highest—its high-yield practice is active often representing trustees on bond issuances.  It also has a strong regulatory practice.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Mongolian Mortgage Corporation HFC, China Gas Capital Management, Jiu Zun Digital Interactive Entertainment Group Holdings, Leapfrog Investments, Maybank, and Asian Development Bank.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

The firm’s finance team has had a very busy year acting in pro bono emergency loans in response to Covid-19, water-related development and education financing, and other financing, refinancing, and restructuring mandates in agriculture, real estate, chemicals, biologics, logistics and financial services. 

In projects the firm handled PPPs and a range of outbound mandates in transport, aviation, pulp, tourism, telecommunications, hydropower, and conventional energy in jurisdictions such as Brazil, Kenya, Benin, Peru, Ukraine, Ivory coast, Uganda, and Nigeria. 

The regulatory team assisted virtual banks setting up in Hong Kong, financial crime reviews, whistleblowing allegations, market misconduct, investigations, and compliance matters. 

In debt capital markets, the team were preoccupied with sustainable bond offerings, sovereign bonds, high-yield offerings in Mongolia and Indonesia, programme establishment and updates, catastrophe bonds, ESG bonds, and convertible bonds, while the equity team handled Hong Kong IPOs, top up shares, conditional cash offers, rights issue, and privatisations. 

The funds team handled fund formation, VC funds, investments, real estate funds, technology funds, and compliance matters; the M&A practice advised on domestic and overseas acquisitions, disposals, restructuring, and joint ventures in commercial real estate, retail, private equity, aviation, and construction. 

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm acted in restructurings, insolvency, and liquidation issues of entities in the cruise and resort businesses, food and beverage, manufacturing, and construction industries. 

The firm strengthened its corporate practice in the research period with the hires of partner Steven Tran from Hogan Lovells and Sheng Wu and Paul Chen from DLA Piper. Its restructuring team was boosted with the hire of partner Adam Paul from Kirkland & Ellis and partners Michael Fiddy and Amy Jacks from DLA Piper. 

In the research period the firm was hit with the departures of finance partner Ben Sandstad to Asian Development Bank and restructuring partner Tom Pugh to offshore law firm Walkers.  

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Government of Mongolia $600 million 5.125% sustainable bond issue

Huiyuan Juice restructuring

Link REIT £380 million acquisition of The Cabot

New Hope International $400 million syndicated term loan facility

Onstar Express (SiCepat) $170 million series B financing

Sino-Entertainment Technology Holdings HKSE IPO 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"Committed professionals."

"Pragmatic advice on the disputed issues, abundant experience with similar transaction, prompt response on the queries and generous help with the frequent questions."

 

Capital markets

"Good professional advice. Good and prompt communication."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Responsive. Experience. Knowledge. Client-centric. Competitive pricing."

 

Investment funds

"Creativity regarding fund structuring and deep experience/expertise in technical aspects and process."

 

Private equity

"Highly knowledgeable and very client-friendly."

"Mayer Brown's private equity team provides timely and consistently high-quality legal advice to ensure our interests are protected, while at the same time acknowledging the commercial realities of our transactions. This helps us get deals done quickly, cost-effectively and with solid legal and commercial foundations."

"Very detailed-oriented yet commercial. "

 

Billy Au

"Frank and professional."

 

Boya Shen

"Advises on the drafting and negotiation of finance documents. Rich experience with market and documentation."

 

Hallam Chow

"Advises on the drafting and negotiation of finance documents. Rich experience with market and documentation."

 

John Marsden

"Client-centric. Experienced. Commercial. Flexible. Personable."

 

Mark Uhrynuk

"Very hard working and attentive to our needs. I am very happy with the relationship and help that Mark has provided."

"Very creative, solution-driven approach. "

"Highly skilled and knows exactly the right person to assign to the task within the firm."

"Mark is a key adviser to our business. He helps us navigate transactions on solid legal footing, with attention to the commercial realities of our deals."

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Philadelphia-based Morgan Lewis & Bockius is an international law firm with 2200 lawyers across 31 offices in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The firm services its clients with Greater China interests from its offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is strong in equity capital markets, private equity and M&A in the energy, financial services, life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, consumer goods, automotive, education and technology sectors.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include China East Education Holdings, Shanghai Gench Education Group, HealthCor Management, Ocean Link Partners, ANTA Sports Products, Warburg Pincus, Sequoia Capital and Gaorong Capital.

Morrison & Foerster

Formed in 1883, Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) is a San Francisco-based international law firm with 1000 lawyers and 17 offices across the United States, Asia and Europe. In Greater China, the firm established its Hong Kong office in 1983 followed by Beijing in 1998 and Shanghai in 2003.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

MoFo offers its clients US, English and Hong Kong law advice in China-related matters and excels in the equity capital markets, M&A and private equity.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Alibaba Group Holding, Softbank Vision Fund, Ascendent Capital Partners, Lvji Technology Holdings, Ally Bridge Group, Shenzhou International Group Holdings and China Harmony New Energy Auto Holding.

Oldham Li & Nie

Hong Kong-headquartered independent law firm Oldham Li & Nie is active in the financial and corporate space and was established in 1987.


Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is recognised for its corporate and M&A capabilities.

Sectors of activity include consumer products, insurance, logistics, automotive, banking and financial services, and food and beverage.

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison

Originally founded in 1875, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison is a New York-based international firm with over 1000 lawyers across eight offices. The firm services its Greater China clients from its offices in Beijing and Hong Kong.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is best known for its private equity work and technology expertise. It also has a strong M&A team alongside a leveraged finance and capital markets practice.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include KKR, APM Monaco, Tencent, IDG Capital, Wumei Holdings, State Grid International Development and Wanda Sports Group.

Proskauer Rose

Proskauer Rose is a New York-headquartered law firm 12 global offices and 725 lawyers. The firm caters to its clients with Chinese interests from its offices in Hong Kong and Beijing.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

From its offices in Hong Kong the firm is best known for its private equity, M&A and regulatory enforcement work.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Grifols, Accor, RRJ Capital, CCB International Asset Management, Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, Adamas Asset Management and Parker-Migliorini International.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"They were very commercial in their approach which helped focused on key issues."

 

Investment funds

"Extremely responsive. Knowledgeable. Professional. Helpful."

 

Private equity

"Provides practical and commercial advice. Very responsive."

"Very knowledgeable, proactive and practical."

Reed Smith Richards Butler

Reed Smith is an international law firm headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with over 30 offices across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm has over 30 years’ experience in Greater China with its offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.  

 

Focusses / specialisms 

Transactionally it is best known for its M&A work acting for private and state-owned PRC entities from its offices in Beijing and Shanghai and advising Hong Kong-listed corporates on Greater China and regional transactions.

 

Key clients  

Key clients include China Agri-Industries Holdings, Gangtai Group Corporation, E-Commodities Holdings, Shandong Heavy Industry Group, Ali JK Nutritional Products Holding and Automated Systems Holdings.

Ropes & Gray

Established in 1865, Boston-based Ropes & Gray is an international law firm with over 1400 lawyers and 11 offices across the United States, Asia and Europe. The firm caters to its clients with Greater China interests from its offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong.  

 

Focusses/specialisms  

Ropes & Gray offers Hong Kong, US and English law advice and has an increasingly active sponsor side leveraged finance and capital markets practices alongside its strong private equity, M&A and fund formation practices.

 

In banking, the team represents borrowers in the banking and financial services industry on acquisition, margin loan and corporate financing, as well as refinancings.

 

The capital markets practice represents issuers in equity matters such as IPOs, PIPEs, secondary listings and direct listings. It also works on investment funds, acting for managers for private equity and pension funds in fund investments and formations.

 

In M&A, the team works with sellers in strategic and private equity acquisitions. It also represents companies in strategic investments and joint ventures.

 

The firm also has a strong restructuring and insolvency team primarily advising bondholders. 

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Bain Capital, KKR, Alibaba Group, Baring Private Equity Asia, NetEase and Siguler Guff & Company China. 

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling is a New York-based international law firm with 850 lawyers across 23 offices. The firm’s Hong Kong office leverages off its global and Asia network to carry out transactions in Greater China, South East Asia, Japan, India, Mongolia and South Korea. 

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm has a very strong debt capital markets practice in Hong Kong advising on investment grade and high yield capital markets transactions across the region.

 

The firm also has a diverse funds practice offering private equity and hedge funds expertise to its GP and LP clients.

 

In M&A, the team works with acquirers and sellers in private equity and strategic acquisitions across numerous industries. It also works with clients on other corporate matters including joint ventures, strategic investments and mergers.

 

Its project development team is highly regarded for its outbound work in the energy industry. The team works on both project development and financing matters. It also works on secondary project acquisitions.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include China National Petroleum Company International, Joyvio Group, Poly-GCL Petroleum Company, Etihad Airways, Central Retail Corporation Public Company, Nomura International and JPMorgan Securities.

Sidley Austin

Formed in 1866, Sidley Austin is a Chicago-based international law firm with over 2000 lawyers across 20 global offices. In Asia-Pacific the firm has 200 legal professionals in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Its Hong Kong office was established in 1994. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm offers US, Hong Kong and English legal advice to its clients and excels transactionally in the equity capital markets, the debt—especially high-yield bond issuances—capital markets, investment funds, M&A and private equity. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Springland International Holdings, Vivo Capital, CanSino Biologics, Kaisa Group Holdings Company, Standard Chartered Bank, DBS Bank and Fosun International. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s equity capital markets practice was very active during the research period advising on Hong Kong IPOs, share placements and rights issues; while the debt team handled corporate bond issuances alongside high-yield, convertible and green bond issues. 

The M&A team acted in take-privates, joint ventures, disposals and acquisitions in the transport, real estate and construction industries. In private equity the firm assisted clients in various rounds of funding and in investments.  

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-China Evergrande Group Rmb13.2 billion acquisition of Shengjing Bank

-Fosun International €400 million 4.35% high-yield bond issue 

-HiFiBiO Therapeutics $67 million series C financing

-Kaisa Group Holdings $400 million 11.95% high-yield bond issue

-Shanghai Henlius HKSE IPO

-Springland International Holdings HK$4.5 billion take-private 

-Vodafone Idea $3.5 billion rights issue 

-Zhongliang Holdings HKSE IPO 

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is a New York-based international law firm with 900 lawyers across 11 offices across the Americas, Asia and Europe. The firm services its clients Greater China interests from its offices in Hong Kong and Beijing.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is strong in private equity and is also known for equity and debt capital markets, M&A and leveraged finance. The team has pan-Asian capabilities, and often works on crossborder deals.

 

In banking, the team acts for borrowers and lenders in acquisition and corporate financing matters.

 

The capital markets team represents issuers and underwriters in matters related to debt and equity. Debt related matters include investment grade, sustainability and convertible bond issuances. Equity related matters include IPOs, secondary listings and global depositary share offerings.

 

The practice also does great work in investment funds, where it represents managers and sponsors in fund formations and raises.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include KKR, Softbank Group, Alibaba Group Holding, Zhongliang Holdings Group Company, Goldman Sachs, Qudian, J-Star and Aspirant Group.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Banking and finance

"They are extremely proactive, their turnaround is superb and they are prompt in giving practical and sound legal advice."

 

Investment funds: Private equity funds

"The firm knows many outcomes resulted from a negotiation between GPs and LPs. The outcomes are almost industry benchmark, so we can avoid unnecessary or meaningless negotiation from LP candidates."

Slaughter and May

Established in 1889, Slaughter & May is a London-based magic circle law firm with 560 lawyers across additional offices in Brussels, Beijing and Hong Kong.  Compared to similar firms of its stature the firm has a minimal overseas presence relying instead on relationships with local law firms for its international practice. The firm became the first London law firm to establish an office in Hong Kong when it opened in 1974.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is unique in Hong Kong’s legal market as it has no hourly or billing targets for its lawyers and takes a multi-specialist approach to developing its lawyers in a collegiate atmosphere. Its corporate practice is renowned for public takeovers, mergers and private acquisitions and it has strong capital markets, finance and regulatory practices.

 

The banking and finance team works on transactional and regulatory matters. In banking transactions, the team acts for both lenders and borrowers in acquisition, project, sustainability and corporate financing matters. In financial services regulatory, the team represents clients in the banking and financial services industry in matters related to acquisitions, AML, cybersecurity, data protection and general compliance.

 

In capital markets, the team works on debt and equity matters, representing issuers and underwriters. Debt capital markets matters include convertible, investment grade and green bond issuances. Equity capital markets matters include direct listings, share offerings, private share placements, recapitalizations, IPOs and secondary offerings.

 

The M&A practice acts for buyers and sellers in both private and strategic acquisitions. It works on high value acquisitions, in addition to joint ventures, mergers, spin offs, restructurings and strategic investments across a variety of industries.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Tencent Holdings, United Energy Group, Haitong International Capital, Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing and FWD Group.

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Bank lending: Borrower side

"High quality and efficient."

"Responsive, professional, meticulous and with commercial sense."

 

Bank lending: Lender side

"Besides the preparation of the loan agreement, S&M also provides advice on the rule and regulation related to privatisation, in order to guide us to well understand the loan agreement structure and to set the appropriate control on drawdown."

"S&M not only prepares the loan agreement, they also provide professional advice and explanation on the rule and regulation in relation to a listed company's privatisation, in order to guide us to fully understand the loan agreement structure and set the appropriate control on drawdown."

"The law firm provided timely response on enquiries and worked on schedule. It acted professionally and provided comprehensive advice."

 

Banking and finance

"Fast, smooth, perfect."

"Professional and efficient services were provided."

"Professional, efficient and ability to meet deadline under very tight time pressure. Strong knowledge and experience in the relevant field."

"Slaughter provides timely responses and explains in detail in both written replies and verbal elaboration."

"They provide constructive advice in a timely manner."

 

Capital markets: Debt

"Slaughter and May always respond to our issues swiftly and professionally. S&M also demonstrates a good understanding of our company when giving advice."

"The firm demonstrates strong leadership - anticipating issues that may be faced, selecting experts and leading the team to help solve them in advance. Has relationships and contacts and are able to pick up the phone to them and help solve issues (before they arise). Provides clear advice. "

 

Capital markets: Equity

"1. Able to provide professional and well-balanced legal advice. 2. Senior partners were very hands-on. 3. Access to regulators. 4. Provided high-quality training to our team."

"The Slaughters team, led by John Moore and Jing Chen, provided responsive and practical legal advice and structuring guidance. They threw in a lot of resources to help facilitate the work and time demand and were very responsive. Very goal-oriented - they would not shy away from any suggestions and would work with us to explore ways to get the deal done more efficiently, while helping us to maintain our risk exposure."

"Able to quickly identify and resolve issues for first of this kind of IPO."

 

Financial services regulatory

"Very business-minded, responsive, highly professional."

"Comprehensive analysis of local law requirements, understanding of Euroclear's business model, meaning that the advice was immediately applicable in practice."

 

M&A

"Slaughter and May provide simply outstanding service; they are the benchmark I measure other firms against. They match technical brilliance with commercial acumen and a deep knowledge of our business. We feel Slaughter and May care about our business and value our relationship. A key aspect is their responsiveness and the ease of doing business."

"We had to work under extremely tight deadlines. Peter Lake could immediately set up a team to work in a coordinated manner on different aspects of the deal. The team was extremely responsive, dedicated and had an excellent understanding of the matter. We were extremely well served. At the end, a work of excellent quality was delivered on time. As usual with Peter Lake."

"Had a very thorough understanding of the HK merger code and relevant regulatory issues. They were exceptionally diligent in ensuring we remained informed and compliant on all the applicable rules, and helped with SFC submissions exceedingly conscientiously. Their advice ensured the smooth execution of our role as a financial adviser at the highest standards."

"Lisa Chung is very experienced in corporate M&A matters and she has been able to provide, based on her expertise and transactional experience, helpful and crucial legal advice on our transactions and effectively manage local counsels when they are involved."

"They know us and our business very well and effectively act as an outsourced part of the in-house team. They are prepared to go out on a limb and provide clear recommendations on difficult issues."

"They were helpful and always helped us negotiate for the best terms and highlighted which areas we should be careful on. "

 

PPP/PFI

"1) Thorough review of the documentation and constructive feedback on potential risks and oversigh.t 2) Diligent follow-up on areas of concern raised. 3) Extensive coverage in the key areas for due diligence with professional input."

 

Project development

"Professional and detailed advice - adequate industry know-how."

Tiang & Partners

Tiang & Partners is a single office firm in Hong Kong that specializes in corporate matters. Despite only have one office, the firm has a global reach thanks to its collaboration with global firm PwC.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is best known for its work in M&A and structured finance and securitizations. The M&A team acts on the buyer side in private acquisitions. It also represents companies in joint ventures, strategic investments, restructurings and incorporations.

 

The structured finance and securitization team represents arrangers in ABS and securitizations. It specializes in credit card, aviation, mortgage and auto backed receivables.

                                                                                                                                       

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include LifeTech, EXOR, CargoSmart, ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance and DBS Bank.

Vivien Teu & Co – Hong Kong

Established in 2015, Vivien Teu & Co is a boutique independent Hong Kong law firm.

The firm is specialised in asset management and financial services. The firm has strong experience on a range of investment funds and strategies, including retail, securities, hedge, private equity and real estate funds.

Key clients of the firm include SingAlliance, Guotai Global Investments, ABC-CA Fund Management, China Southern Asset Management, Yinhua Fund Management and Vistra Trust.

In the past year, the firm has been active in fund structuring and formation, and regulatory matters. It has also strengthened the ESG focus of its investment funds and corporate practice, and works with charities, foundations, social enterprises and impact investors in this regard.

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) is a London-based international firm with 15 offices across Europe, Asia and USA. Its Hong Kong office was established in 2012 and in 2015 it established an association with Hanoi-based boutique firm LVN & Associates.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is traditionally known for its shipping and shipping finance practice but has since developed its energy and infrastructure, natural resources, real estate and transport expertise. From Hong Kong it is most active in banking, project development, project finance, and restructuring and insolvency.

 

In banking and finance, the team acts for borrowers and lenders in asset financings, largely related to the shipping industry, as well as refinancing matters.

 

The restructuring and insolvency practice represents creditors in out of court restructuring matters.

                                                                                                                                       

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include China Merchants Commerce Financial Leasing, Asian Development Bank, CMB Financial Leasing, Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade and Toyo Ink.

Weil Gotshal & Manges

Weil Gotshal & Manges is a New York-headquartered international law firm with Asia offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. 

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is best known for its high-end private equity practice and accompanying leveraged finance practice. It is the go-to law firm for take-privates of US-listed Chinese companies and has strong expertise in the consumer goods and technology, media and telecommunications industries.

 

In banking, the team acts for borrowers and lenders in acquisition financing matters. Many of these matters are related to private equity buyouts.

 

The M&A team represents buyers and sellers in strategic acquisitions and partnerships, in addition to restructurings. It also represents private equity buyers and sellers in private equity acquisitions and investments.

 

                                                                                                                                       

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Taobao China Holding, Huanxi Media Group, TPG Capital Asia, Primavera Capita, MBK Partners, SoftBank Vision Fund and Anchor Equity Partners.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Bank lending: Lender side

"1. Knowledgeable. 2. Commercial. 3. Super-practical. 4. Professional and solid."

Winston & Strawn

Established in Chicago in 1853, Winston & Strawn is one of the largest and oldest firms in the city. It has nine offices in the United States and six offices in Europe and Asia. With offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong the firm assists its global and Asia-based clients navigate inbound and outbound opportunities in Greater China. 

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm’s transactional practice is most active in M&A and equity capital markets work, particularly in structuring special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) where it has a niche enabling its clients to go public as an alternative to the traditional IPO process.

                                                                                                                                       

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include New Frontier Corporation, Diginex, Koppers Holdings, Universal Star Holdings, Kingsway Capital, SPDB International Capital and Aidigong Maternal & Child Health.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Private equity

"Very responsive; and responses are very detailed."

Financial and corporate : Offshore
Maples Group

Maples Group is an international law firm, headquartered in the Cayman Islands. The international firm has over 330 lawyers and 17 offices including Asia-Pacific offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai. The Asia team collaborates with its lawyers based in the BVI, Cayman Islands, Dubai, London and Luxembourg offices.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has expertise in corporate and finance and is particularly active in capital markets on the debt side of transactions. Restructuring and insolvency is an area of focus for the firm. The firm actively serves clients in the TMT sector.

 

Key clients

Key clients for the firm include 58.com, Alibaba Group, Baidu, Bitauto Holdings, BNP Paribas, CCRE China Logistics, Citigroup First Investment Management, The Export-Import Bank of China, TransAsia and Xiaomi Corporation.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period, the firm was active in capital markets.

In capital markets, the firm advised issuers on note offerings. The firm also clients in the TMT sector, serving as issuers, on debt transactions.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

China Resources Mixc lifestyle services HKSE IPO

Kuaishou Technology HKSE IPO

Meituan $2 billion bond issue

Xiaomi corporation $4 billion bond issue

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Banking and finance

"Outstanding client service and proactive approach, particularly legal advice, structuring and transaction management."

"The Maples team are responsive, price-competitive and flexible. Their ability to act as coordinator for Liberian and Bermudan counsel is also a big bonus for us because it saves my associates from having to deal with three different sets of foreign counsel."

 

Investment funds

"Legal structuring insight. Legal advice is practical not academics. Fast/prompt response. Professional."

 

Investment funds: Hedge funds

"Very responsive; commercial. "

 

Ann Ng

"Ann Ng is very experienced and knowledgeable. She understands what clients need and will always be able to present a pragmatic solution with professional advice. She always manages to deliver a prompt response to clients."

"Very practical; focused on getting the job done."

 

James Kinsley

"James is our most trusted legal adviser who has assisted us in building our global platform; structuring complex legal transactions whilst offering clear, value-add legal advice with a commercial perspective. "

 

Jonathan Silver

"Jonathan is responsive, practical, sensible and commercially minded."

Appleby

Originally established in 1898, Appleby is an offshore law firm with over 200 lawyers across offices in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Mauritius and Seychelles. The firm also has offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

Its office in Hong Kong has Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking lawyers providing Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands legal advice.

It is most active in the equity and debt capital markets, M&A, aviation, shipping and structured finance, fund formation and technology matters.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Li & Fung, Shenwan Hongyuan Group, China Tianbao Group Development Company, ARA Private Funds, Global Logistic Properties, Infrared NF and DBS Bank.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"Quick, efficient, prompt execution of transactions."

 

Capital markets

"Very experienced, efficient and quick turnaround time."

"They are very familiar with the law and provide practical advice to resolve the issues encountered by client."

 

Investment funds

"Very responsive and commercial - clearly know what they are doing."

 

M&A

"Professional advice and deep knowledge; very responsive."

 

Private equity

"Very knowledgeable about Cayman Island-related issues and how to tie into what we are trying to achieve in our private equity investments. Very responsive and creative in coming up with solutions. "

Carey Olsen

Carey Olsen is an offshore law firm with 235 lawyers including 59 partners. The firm has offices in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Cape Town, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey, London, Hong Kong and Singapore. The firm is on a growth trajectory in Asia and opened its Hong Kong office in 2016.

Carey Olsen offers Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey legal services from its offices in Asia and is the only offshore firm with a Channel Islands Desk in Asia. It initially offered litigation and restructuring services from Hong Kong but bolted on corporate, funds and finance capabilities in 2019. 

Key clients of the firm include Bridgepoint and Glory Star New Media Group.

In the research period the firm kept busy with private equity work, IPOs, finance and acquisitions in the media and publishing industries. The firm also assisted clients in various rounds of funding and the funds team was preoccupied with LP work, venture capital, real estate funds, closed-ended funds and mutual funds.

In 2019 the firm brought in partners Michael Padarin and James Webb from Walkers and counsel Andrew Tually from DMAW Lawyers. Counsel Alan Hughes left for Vistra and partner Linda Lee retired from practice.

Deal highlights

-Ocorian acquisition of Estera

-TKK Symphony Acquisition Corporation $525 million acquisition of Glory Star New Media Group

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“James and the team are very proactive about establishing a new business and seeking out new clients - they are very motivated and responsive.”

Investment funds

“Michael Padarin has been very responsive to our enquiries round the clock and he has demonstrated his solid knowledge and skills in advising on complex legal issues arising from the establishment and management of Cayman investment funds.”

Conyers Dill & Pearman

Originally established in 1928, Conyers Dill & Pearman is an offshore magic circle firm with 130 lawyers across six offices in Bermuda, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Hong Kong, London and Singapore. It is a member of Lex Mundi, an association of independent law firms.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm offers expertise in Bermuda, BVI and Cayman law to its Asia-based clients and is very strong in the equity capital markets alongside debt issuances and take-privates. It has sector expertise in education and real estate and an experienced investment funds team advising international and Asia-based fund management houses, financial institutions and entrepreneurs.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, MBK Partners HK, China Resources Microelectronics, Luckin Coffee, Beijing Tongchuangjiuding Investment Management Group, CAR and Central China Real Estate. 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Capital markets

"Provide prompt, accurate and practical legal advice, aiming to solve the client's specific problems. Always willing to go the extra mile to help."

Harneys

Established in 1960, Harney Westwood & Riegels is a global offshore law firm with offices across Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. In Asia the firm has 60 lawyers across Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai. 

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm provides advice on British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Bermuda and Anguilla law and is known for its strength in finance, and in corporate deals including M&A, private equity, restructurings, joint ventures, investment fund formation and general corporate matters.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Wingtech Technology, China Merchants Bank, China Feihe, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, New Frontier Corporation and ICBC International Investment Management.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"Very responsive, commercial, reliable. Technically excellent. Very good value for money."

"Harneys is very responsive and knowledgeable on Cayman and BVI matters. They are also able to be flexible on various administrative arrangements especially in light of varying time zones and, more recently, Covid-19 related issues."

 

Financial services regulatory

"Knowledgeable, timely, accurate, fair."

 

Investment funds

"1) Very proactive approach - timely response with professional advises. 2) Business-oriented approach if sometimes required."

"Acted as Cayman legal counsel for fund, giving professional suggestions and solutions matched with client's situation and request. Well knowledged about Cayman structure private and hedge fund. Quick response during the whole project."

"Harneys lawyers are considerate and always provide excellent solutions."

"Highly professional team with great client-servicing skills. Very responsive and efficient.”

"In-depth professional and technical knowledge in meeting client's needs. Efficient services."

"Maggie is very knowledgeable about the latest market trends. She's very responsive and always thinking of the best ways to meet client objectives."

"They are professional and quick - responsive."

"Very efficient, professional and responsive."

"The team is knowledgeable and is on top of the latest law and regulations of the Cayman Islands. They also provided commercially sound advice to the client."

"They attended to details when drafting and revising documents."

"Amazing team, effective work, high-quality and impeccable service."

"Competitive pricing and response from partner was swift."

"Prompt responses and detailed analysis."

"Very responsive, commercial and practical."

"They are always responsive and have been providing useful and practicable advice, recommendations and solutions."

"They are client-focused, responsive and provide competitive fee structures."

 

Private equity

"For PPM and supplement, Harneys provided authoritative legal advice on Cayman Private Funds Law that we are not familiar with, and Harneys responded quickly to our suggestions for amendments on the drafted fund documents while adhering to professional principles. Harneys was willing to work hard to match our tight schedule so that our fund could be registered with CIMA before the long Chinese New Year, as scheduled."

Mourant Ozannes

Mourant Ozannes is a magic circle offshore law firm that was formed in 2010 following the merger of Mourant du Feu & Jeune and Ozannes. The firm has 250 lawyers and 60 partners across six global offices in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Jersey and London. 

The firm is strongest in private equity, real estate transactions, fund formation, leveraged and acquisition finance, fund finance, asset finance and general corporate lending.

Key clients of the firm include China Minsheng Banking Corp, China Huarong, Citigroup Global Markets Asia, Gaw Capital Advisors, The Blackstone Group and FPEF1 Partnership. 

During the research period the firm kept busy with real estate acquisition finance, debt and corporate restructuring, stake acquisitions, investments, term loans, convertible loans, margin loans, US IPOS, bond issues, and private equity. The funds team were preoccupied with real estate fund mandates, LP work, cryptocurrency funds, and hedge funds.

Mourant Ozannes is the exclusive member firm of Multilaw for the BVI and Cayman Islands, and Lex Mundi for Jersey and Guernsey. Its Hong Kong office also has a unique 50% equality ratio in male and female partners.

Deal highlights

-Brightoil Group debt restructuring

-Gateway Fund VI

-HKBN HK$10.5 billion acquisition of WTT

-Orix Corporation $2.2 billion acquisition of 30% stake in Avolon Holdings

-Tamarind Group $50 million term loan facility 

-Vivocity Shanghai $1.3 billion acquisition financing

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Asset finance

“Responsive and available, industry and technical knowledge, quality product.”

Banking

“Commercial, intelligent, reasonable, easy to work with, committed to delivering quality support.”

“Technically strong lawyers; very responsive; commercial; really good to work with.”

“Really responsive and professional. Always quick to put together a quote to help at short notice. Their knowledge of the market is good and always good on their legal knowledge updates. Danielle is great to work with.”

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

“The team at Mourant are extremely responsive, providing feedback and input on a timely basis. The team is technically proficient, and is proactive in identifying issues and proposing solutions on the matters and transactions they advise on. This proactive, problem-solving approach goes beyond the firm's remit of advising on Cayman and/or BVI law, but extends to identifying issues, problem solving and providing useful input and support at the level of the transaction as a whole.  This goes beyond the level of service that is often experienced with other Cayman and BVI counsels, whose service is often reactive in nature and narrowly confined to limited local law issues.”

Investment funds 

“Practical solutions even in light of all the regulatory changes in the Cayman Islands. Value for money for our clients.”

“Team was very responsive, technically strong and picked up issues that other firms had missed.  Pricing was also significantly lower than competitor firms.”

“Very Responsive. The team takes the extra effort to understand the commercial drivers behind the legal analysis, and delivers a sensible commercial outcome.”

Restructuring and insolvency

“They give clear and strong advice and avoid equivocating on the issues that matter. Strong senior team of lawyers. Very responsive and willing to put in the hours for urgent matters.”

“Responsiveness, commerciality, professionalism underpinned by sound legal knowledge.” 

Ogier

Ogier is a Jersey-based offshore magic circle firm with nine global offices and 325 lawyers. It has offices in Greater China in Hong Kong and Shanghai where it was the first offshore law firm to establish an office.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

From its Hong Kong office the firm offers BVI, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey legal services to its Asia-Pacific clients alongside access to Luxembourg legal services. Ogier is strongest in finance, investment funds, private equity, M&A, capital markets and finance.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group, CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping Company, China Communications Construction Company, RRJ Capital, Hammer Capital and 8F Asset Management.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"Ogier are commercial, flexible, friendly and responsive."

"Ogier are timely, accurate, commercial and willing to go the extra mile. The team are friendly and easy to communicate with, especially the partner leading the team, Anthony Oakes."

"Responsive, constructive and sensitive to the commercial dynamics and the needs of the ultimate client (the financial sponsor)."

 

Capital markets

"Ogiers are very responsive and are pragmatic in their advice to us. They also do a great job communicating with the working group and ensuring deadlines are met."

 

Investment funds

"Kate and Alan provide practical and precise advice promptly, which is very helpful and exactly what we are looking for! They are very experienced and commercial in the investment funds area. They can also deeply understand our business needs and help accordingly."

"Ogier is very responsive, efficient in providing Cayman/BVI law-related services. They are always online and reachable, providing practical and sensible advice."

"Kate Hodson and Alan Wong are knowledgeable and responsive. I have worked with a few other offshore firms too and they are definitely one of the best in town."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Dedicated to meet client's requirements - reliable advice to protect the best interests of client."

"Michael Snape and Oliver Payne are the partners handling the matter. Michael is the primary handler. He is hands-on, familiar with the legal issues and gives spot-on advice. "

Travers Thorp Alberga

Founded in the Cayman Islands in 1978, Travers Thorp Alberga is a boutique firm specializing in Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands financial law. It maintains four offices in the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, BVI and Australia. Its Hong Kong office has been open since 2009.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm only practices Cayman Islands and BVI law. It is focused on securities and regulatory matters.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Capital markets: Equity

"TTA has provided very good legal advice for us, especially during the IPO; their response was very prompt and the quality was very good."

 

Investment funds

"Generally responsive. "

"Responsive and experienced with issues. Jos Briggs in particular is excellent."

"Very supportive, responsive and reasonably priced."

 

Investment funds: Real estate funds

"TTA is extremely responsive and client-oriented. They provide an excellent client experience and appear to be pushing hard to provide great service."

 

M&A

"TTA were very responsive to our requests given the very tight timeline to the transaction. The amount of partner time of this file from TTA was also noted and appreciated."

Travers Thorp Alberga

Founded in the Cayman Islands in 1978, Travers Thorp Alberga is a boutique firm specializing in Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands financial law. It maintains four offices in the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, BVI and Australia. Its Hong Kong office has been open since 2009.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm only practices Cayman Islands and BVI law. It is focused on securities and regulatory matters.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Capital markets: Equity

"TTA has provided very good legal advice for us, especially during the IPO; their response was very prompt and the quality was very good."

 

Investment funds

"Generally responsive. "

"Responsive and experienced with issues. Jos Briggs in particular is excellent."

"Very supportive, responsive and reasonably priced."

 

Investment funds: Real estate funds

"TTA is extremely responsive and client-oriented. They provide an excellent client experience and appear to be pushing hard to provide great service."

 

M&A

"TTA were very responsive to our requests given the very tight timeline to the transaction. The amount of partner time of this file from TTA was also noted and appreciated."

Walkers

Walkers is a Cayman Islands-based offshore magic circle law firm that practices the laws of six jurisdictions across 10 global offices. It is one of the largest offshore law firms in Hong Kong with a 14 partner strong team.

The firm offers Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey and Ireland legal advice and is known in Hong Kong for its M&A, finance, funds, regulatory and restructuring and insolvency work.

Key clients of the firm include China Yangtze Power, New World Development, ESR Cayman, Standard Chartered Bank, Cathay Pacific Airways, Ascentage Pharma Group International and PrimeCredit. 

In the research period the firm kept busy advising on IPOs, private equity, securitisation mandates, bond issues, funds work and acquisition mandates in the insurance, energy and aviation sectors.

In 2019 the firm brought in partner Nicholas Davies from Appleby but lost partners James Webb and Michael Padarin to Carey Olsen. 

Deal highlights

-Ascentage Pharma Group HKSE IPO

-Cathay Pacific HK$5 billion acquisition of Hong Kong Express

-China Yangtze Power $3.6 billion acquisition of Luz Del Sur

-ESR Cayman HKSE IPO

-New World Development $2.8 billion acquisition of FTLife Insurance 

-Sands China $1.5 billion dual-tranche (3.8%, 4.375%) bond issue