US-headquartered law firm Cooley has announced its plans to open up in Hong Kong to focus on capital markets and cross-border M&A deals.

The practice will be driven by corporate lawyer, Will Cai, who joins from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom where he had been partner since 2014. A native Mandarin speaker fluent in English, Cai has completed over 40 IPOs in the US and Hong Kong capital markets since 2008.

Joe Conroy, Cooley’s chief executive officer said: “Given our proven success in capital markets in the United States, Asia and around the world, a physical presence in this leading center for finance and innovation is a fundamental next step in our global growth strategy.”

Cooley has developed a strong reputation in the US advising on tech and life sciences IPOs and in representing non-US issuers. It first opened an office in Shanghai in 2011 and then in Beijing in 2018 where it consolidated its expertise in technology, life sciences and venture capital. It has helped over 80 fund managers form more than 100 Chinese venture capital and private equity funds.

The firm has applied to Hong Kong’s law society to register as a foreign law firm and aims to enter in an association with Cai Lee & Partners, the local Hong Kong solicitor’s firm formed by Cai and Cooley partner Pang Lee, who is focused on private equity and venture capital fund formation matters.