Partner Moves and Promotions: 2010 Year in Review

Posted on December 16, 2010 at 6:12 PM


With dozens of partner moves and a wealth of promotions, 2010 has had its fair share of activity on the senior level.  The following is a list of some of the major partner moves and promotions, over the past six months, throughout Asia and the Middle East.

Beijing/Shanghai

July

*Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP hired Don S. Williams as a partner for the firm's corporate practice group in the Shanghai office. Williams has substantial experience representing both private and public companies across industries in an array of general corporate and transactional matters, including venture capital and private equity financings, public offerings and mergers & acquisitions.

August

*Veteran litigation lawyer Michael Vella joined Jones Day's Intellectual Property practice in Shanghai as a partner.  Vella, formerly a partner in the Shanghai office of Morrison & Foerster, led the firm's China litigation practice.

*Susan Deng joined Mayer Brown JSM's employment and benefits practice in China as a partner. Deng had left Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited, where she was a senior legal counsel specializing in employment matters.  She will be working out of the firm's Hong Kong office until May 2011 before transitioning to Shanghai.

*Mayer Brown JSM further strengthened its Asia practice by hiring Xiang Yang Ge as head of projects in the Beijing office.  Xiang Yang, formerly a partner at Winston & Strawn, has over twenty years of experience advising clients investing into China, as well as Chinese corporations on outbound investments.

*K&L Gates bolstered its corporate practice by adding W. Rose Zhu to its Beijing office.  Zhu, who left Allen & Overy LLP, recently led the team that advised on the global offering of common shares by the Agricultural Bank of China Limited, the world's largest IPO in 2010.

September

*Sheppard Mullin added Jenny Liu, previously with DLA Piper's Beijing office, as Special Counsel at their Shanghai office. This appointment follows the recent hire of Partner Don Williams, formerly with Wilson Sonsini, to their growing Shanghai corporate practice.

*King & Wood added Meg Utterback to its Shanghai office, where she will be a senior member in the firm's International Arbitration practice group.  A former partner in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's China practice, Utterback has years of experience in international arbitration and dispute resolution.

*Norton Rose enhanced its Beijing firm after hiring corporate partner Michael Yu from Global Law Office. This hire truly strengthens the firm's increasing push into the Asian Market.  Yu has corporate expertise in M&A work, IPOs and private placements.

October

*Hong Kong and English qualified lawyer Baldwin Cheng was promoted to partner in White & Case's banking practice in Beijing.  Cheng has experience in reconstructing and insolvency issues, and advising secure and unsecured syndicated, bilateral bank financing, and acquisition financing.

November

*Winston & Strawn LLP hired Jem Li as Managing Partner of its Beijing office in expansion of its China transactional capabilities.  Having practiced in China since 2004, Li is known as one of China's most active international lawyers, and has advised various mining rights investments globally. Li has experience in cross-border commercial transactions, private equity and venture investments, M&A's, and foreign direct investment in China.  His clientele has included Warner Music Group, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, AIG, and Merrill Lynch.

*Clifford Chance expanded its China litigation and arbitration team with the addition of Ann Chen, a senior IP lawyer and patent attorney, to its Shanghai office. She practices IP Law, focusing particularly on patent procurement and global IP strategy.

*Sidley Austin LLP hired partner Joseph Chan to its Shanghai office.  Chan's practice involves full life cycle of private equity funds from offshore and RMB fund information, and portfolio investments to M&A and capital markets.

*Bird & Bird appointed Weishi Li as partner of its Shanghai practice.  With extensive expertise in assisting multinational and Chinese companies in structuring and negotiating cross-border technology-related transactions, Li will be heavily involved in building the firm's transactional and IP expertise in the region.  Li's practice centers on commercial technology, licensing and IP work, with a particular concentration in technology, life sciences and healthcare sectors.

December

*Mayer Brown JSM promoted six lawyers to partnership in China as part of 32 partner promotions globally.

Hong Kong

July

*Bingham McCutchen LLP added to its Hong Kong investment management group with the appointment of Anne-Marie Godfrey as partner.  Godfrey, joining from Maples and Calder, is experienced in advising investment managers in Asia on hedge funds, mutual funds, and private equity funds.

August

*Clifford Chance litigation partner Denis Brock left the firm after nearly 25 years to join Australian leader Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Hong Kong.

*Shearman & Sterling further strengthened its capabilities in Greater China by adding Shuang Zhao as a partner to its Hong Kong office.  Zhao, a New York-qualified specialist on securities offering and mergers & acquisitions transactions, came to the firm as a lateral hire from Simpson & Thacher's Hong Kong office.

*Mayer Brown JSM further strengthened its Asia practice by adding Jason Elder to the Hong Kong office's capital markets practice.  Elder, who left Sidley Austin's Hong Kong office, possesses substantial experience in advising issuers and underwriters on capital markets transactions, particularly global debt and equity securities offerings.

*Davis Polk & Wardwell established a domestic law practice in Hong Kong by adding Bonnie YT Chan and Antony Dapiran as partners.  Chan, formerly the senior vice president of the listing division of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, had previous work experience as the executive director of the legal and compliance department of Morgan Stanley's Hong Kong office.  Dapiran is leaving Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's Beijing office, where he was a managing partner.  The firm hopes the new additions will help launch the firm's local practice, which is focused on giving the firm's clients a broader service in Hong Kong, especially in capital markets and mergers & acquisitions matters.

September

*Allen & Overy relocated London partner Gary McLean to Hong Kong and named him head of the firm's Asia-Pacific corporate practice.  The move underscored the firm's expanded corporate presence across Asia, which includes their recent office openings in Jakarta and Australia.

*Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker has hired former Goldman Sachs managing director, Steve Winegar, as a partner to its Hong Kong office. Winegar worked at Goldman Sachs for the 12 years.

*Former Slaughters and May litigator Mark Yeadon joined Eversheds in its Hong Kong firm to become the fourth partner in the Eversheds Hong Kong disputes team.

*Paul Hastings also relocated real estate partner Derek Roth to its Hong Kong office from Los Angeles. This firm is anticipating more big-ticket deals and fund work in the near future.

*DLA Piper appointed Paul Lee as a partner and head of its Finance and Projects group in Hong Kong.  Lee has over 17 years of banking experience, including complex cross-border financings, structured lending, acquisition financing, syndicated lending, project financing, receivables financing, convertible bonds and debt restructuring.

*Gibson Dunn & Crutcher established its second office in Asia, as part of its venturing into Hong Kong's legal market.  The new office is anchored by Kelly Austin and will focus on corporate compliance, regulation and investigations.  Austin has spent eight years in Hong Kong with General Electric International, where she advised on the implications of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as other compliance matters regarding the firm.  Partner Joseph Barbeau, who relocated from the firm's Palo Alto office, will join Austin.

October

*Debevoise & Plimpton partner Drew Dutton relocated from Paris to Hong Kong in a move to expand the firm's financial services and transactional private equity platforms in Hong Kong. Dutton will focus on domestic and international transactions throughout Asia.

*Milbank added Mallesons Stephen Jacques' Partner Dieter Yeh to its US and Hong Kong partnership, in hopes of capitalizing on Hong Kong's 40% jump in IPO activity, and to take advantage of China's booming deal activity.  His practice focuses on corporate finance, mergers, and capital markets in Mainland China.  Through the years, Yin has aided Milbank on deals, such as Mongolian Mining's current US$651m IPO listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Anthony Root, leader of Milbank's Asian corporate and China practice states that their Hong Kong and Beijing offices will add 5 more lawyers by next year.

November/December

*Ropes & Gray promoted 10 lawyers to partnership globally, including Hong Kong private equity lawyer Brian Schwarzwalder.

*Minter Ellison increased the number of Hong Kong partners by three with the hire of former Jones Day attorneys Barbara Mok, Anne Ko and Katherine Yu.  These moves follow the recent hires of Geraldine Johns-Putra from Linklaters and Anthony Chan from Hogan Lovells.

Japan

August

*Baker & McKenzie Japan member firm promoted three lawyers to partner and four to counsel, as part of its new financial year promotions. The firm will now have 44 Tokyo partners in total. The new partners are energy & resources lawyer Ian Gordon, antitrust and competition specialist Akira Inoue and corporate lawyer Kana Itabashi. New counsels are capital markets lawyer Toshikazu Miyamoto, financial services lawyer Takeshi Nishida and corporate lawyer Yoko Watanabe.

November

*Allen & Overy relocated partner Ashley Young from Tokyo to Hong Kong to strengthen its leveraged and acquisition finance practice. Young's experience includes advising both sponsors, borrowers and banks on international cross-border banking transactions, particularly in areas of leveraged acquisition finance, telecoms finance and syndicated lending.

December

*Eversheds appointed Stephen Chan as a partner in its Hong Kong corporate practice. Chan, who has spent more than 12 years as special counsel with Baker & Mckenzie, specializes in M&A and joint ventures as well as corporate and financing transactions.

*Kirkland & Ellis International LLP expanded its private equity practice in Asia by relocating partner Michel Debolt from London to Hong Kong.  Advising private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies in Asia, Europe and North America, he focuses on complex business transactions, including M&A's, joint ventures, interim and final liquidity realizations, equity restructurings and executive compensation.

Singapore

August

*Lan Hing Liew joined Baker & McKenzie Wong & Leow's corporate & securities practice in Singapore as a partner.  Liew, formerly an equity partner at Rajah & Tann LLP, has considerable legal experience handling capital markets transactions, mergers & acquisitions deals, and listing companies' corporate actions and regulatory compliance in Singapore.

September

*Pinsent Mason's Singapore joint venture hired former Shearman & Sterling partner David Platt.

*After a nine-year alliance with WongPartnership, Clifford Chance landed partner Raymond Tong from the firm to their Singapore office.  Tong was previously the head of the capital markets of the former joint-venture firm between WongPartnership and Clifford Chance.  Clifford Chance also appointed Nish Shetty, previously a WongPartnership dispute resolutions partner, to its Singapore office.  Clifford Chance also hired one of Singapore's most highly regarded equity capital markets specialists, Raymond Tong, as a partner in its global Capital Markets practice.

*Sidley Austin relocated its corporate and capital markets partner, Prabhat Mehta, to its Singapore office after having spent six years in the firm's New York office.  Mehta will lead the firm's practice in Singapore and has experience in a range of securities transactions such as initial public offerings, offerings of high yield debt, convertible and exchangeable debt, hybrid securities and structured products. He has worked with sovereign wealth funds and major financial institutions on several recapitalization transactions in Asia.

October

*Norton Rose's dispute resolution partner, Guy Spooner, was appointed to the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) board of directors as of the first of this month. Spooner heads Norton Rose's Asia international arbitration and dispute resolution group, but will be stepping down as a director of Maxwell Chambers to SIAC.

*Norton Rose also transferred its London corporate partner, Anna Tipping, to head of its Singapore-based practice in an effort to bolster its insurance business. Tipping's practice centers on insurance law in both life and general sectors.

November

*K&L Gates LLP added Brian J. Wesol as partner to the firm's corporate practice in Singapore.  Wesol has practiced in the US and Southeast Asia for almost twenty years, advising corporate and government issuers and underwriters in capital markets transactions and representing companies and investors on domestic and inbound bank financings, joint ventures and corporate restructurings.  Wesol previously worked for Jones Day's Singapore office where he acted as lead lawyer on corporate finance transactions, handling the region's highest profile securities offerings of the last two years. In 2009, he represented Bumi Resources on a US$300 high yield bond offering and a US$1.9bn loan from China Investment Corporation.

*Herbert Smith Singapore promoted Lewis McDonald to partnership, along with recruiting several associates. The move reflects a major expansion strategy created in response to an influx of energy deals from South East Asia. The firm initially hired Nelson in July 2008 to aid with the development of an energy practice in Singapore.

Middle East

July

*Norton Rose LLP strengthened its Middle East practice with the return of Mohammed Paracha to the firm's banking practice in Bahrain.  Paracha, who rejoins the firm after leaving Al Salam Bank-Bahrain BSC, where he was executive vice president, is a specialist in Islamic financial and banking transactions and has been appointed as a partner and deputy global head of Norton Rose's Islamic finance practice.

August

*Clyde & Co LLP has appointed Joycia Young as partner in its Middle East Intellectual Property group.  She joins the firm from DLA Piper, where she was responsible for leading that firm's IP practice for the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Young's principal areas of practice are intellectual property and franchising, and she advises on the full range of transactional and contentious issues related to trademarks, domain names and copyright, as well as brand protection strategies.  Her recent work includes advising the media, retail and fashion.

October

*Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP hired Chézard Ameer as partner in its Dubai office to enhance its private equity funds practice.  Prior to his appointment, Ameer had been a partner in Ashurst since 2007, advising on Middle Eastern, European, and emerging markets funds, such as venture capital, infrastructure, private equity and real estate funds, and related carried interest and co-investment arrangements.

November

*Vinson & Elkins landed seven new lawyers from various international rivals. The firm's Abu Dhabi office has hired John Nash, a project development and finance partner, from Chadborne & Parke's London office. His experience includes clientèle from public and private entities across the MENA region in infrastructure, energy and logistics, transportation, and water sectors.  He has worked in various award-wining finance transactions in the infrastructure sector, including independent and water projects in the Middle East.  Nash has explained his rationale for moving to Vinson & Elkins in an interview with AsiaLegalNews, stating that "[he] felt that the firm's strong presence in Asia- from where so much of the world's economy is now driven... made it the most compelling choice."  The firm has also added three new associates:  Fahad Bahkeet AlMalki comes from King & Spalding as a projects & finance practitioner, Owen Delaney relocates from the firm's London office with a practice area in energy & projects, while Ziad Saad moves from Ashurst with a practice area in corporate law.  In Vinson & Elkin's Abu Dhabi office, Emile Boulous and William Page join the team from Herbert Smith, and focus on M&A/Private Equity and M&A/Corporate practices, respectively.  Allen & Overy's Carlo Pianese, a corporate law practitioner, has also been added to the Dubai office.

*King & Spalding hired Rizwan Kanji to help lead the firm's debt capital markets and sukuk practice. His previous experience includes advising several recent landmark sukuk and conventional transactions, such as the first Turkish sukuk of US$100m by Kuveyt Turk Katilim Bankasi in August 2010.


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