Partner Moves & Promotions - 12/02/09


Posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:12 AM

Linklaters' Asia managing partner Zili Shao will leave the firm at the end of January to become chairman and CEO of JP Morgan's China businesses.  He has been Asia managing partner since May, when after an election he replaced Giles White.

Shao specializes in M&A and private equity investments, and in his new position he will have responsibility for all of the investment bank's operations in China.

Managing partner Simon Davies commented: "While Zili's departure will be a great loss to the firm, we respect and support his decision to take on this exciting challenge with one of the world's leading financial services institutions. It is a testament to the leadership qualitites of Linklaters' many talented individuals that enables one of our own to move into roles of this nature."


Winston & Strawn have expanded their Asia presence by opening up offices in Beijing and Shanghai.  Xiangyang Ge, head of Baker & McKenzie’s China regulatory team, will join Winston & Strawn to head both bases.  He will focus on foreign investment work as well as cross-border M&A.  The firm has started that it has further growth plans for its China branches.

Managing partner Thomas Fitzgerald said: "We expect to continue our strategic expansion on a global basis and in regions widely viewed as having the greatest growth opportunities for the firm as well as its corporate clientele. As the world market continues to rebound from last year's downturn, we see Asia, and China particularly, continuing to play an increasingly important role."


Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has recruited Phoebus Chu, formerly a partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, to join as a partner in the firm's Hong Kong and Beijing offices.  Chu has over 15 years of experience in China and Hong Kong cross-border corporate finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and public company matters, and will work with Orrick's team of corporate and capital markets lawyers in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.


Herbert Smith has enticed Gatehouse Capital general counsel Adil Hussain to join as senior associate in its Saudi finance practice.  After some time in Dubai, he will be moved to Riyadh to work with Saudi and regional clients.

“Herbert Smith’s got a market-leading reputation for Islamic finance in the region - that’s the reason I’m here,” commented Hussain.


Nick Williamson will become Ashurst’s first Middle East managing partner from 2010.  His new responsibilities will include strengthening client relations, and local heads in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will report to him.

Additionally, current Dubai managing partner Nick Bryans will return to the UK at the end of this year after having led the Dubai office since November 2007.  The new Dubai managing partner will be by energy, transport and infrastructure partner Joss Dare.

Energy partner David Wadham will maintain his position as head of the Abu Dhabi office.Bryans said: "It is helpful if you have someone in place who has more of a strategic role, leaving the day-to-day running of the business to the office managing partners."


Management consulting firm Hildebrandt, a Thomson Reuters business which provides services to the legal market, will open up branches in Beijing, Hong Kong and Sydney, effective January 1, 2010.  The firm is eager to assist international firms that continue to invest in Asia, viewing many as missing a business plan for their offices.  The firm also anticipates a consolidation of Asia’s legal market between local and regional firms and also between growing Chinese firms and major US or UK firms.  Hildebrandt provides legal services, such as practice organization, strategic growth, client relations, compensation and governance.


Milbank, Mayer Brown JSM, and Latham & Watkins have announced a few new Asia-Pacific partners as part of their end of the year promotions.

Tokyo-based global project finance lawyer Mark Plenderleith got a promotion for Milbank.  He specializes in energy, mining and infrastructure, and has been involved on some of the firm’s most important deals in the region, which includes a finalist for the ‘Project Finance Deal of the Year’ award at the ALB South-East Asia Law Awards 2009, Sumitomo’s coal-fired Tanjung Jati B expansion project.

Mayer Brown JSM promoted Hong Kong-based Alan Yip, a real estate lawyer, to partner.  He focuses on Hong Kong and PRC real estate matters, but his practice includes town planning and building law advice and property-related litigations as well as property joint ventures and property redevelopment projects.

Latham & Watkins promoted Tokyo-based Hiroki Kobayashi to partner.  He is qualified in both New York and Japan and is a general corporate and M&A lawyer.  Two others were promoted to of counsel: project finance lawyer David Bills in Singapore and general corporate lawyer Karen Yam in Shanghai.

International firm promotions in Asia-Pacific






Mark Plenderleith



Mayer Brown JSM

Alan Yip

Hong Kong


Latham & Watkins

Hiroki Kobayashi



Latham & Watkins

David Bills


of counsel

Latham & Watkins

Karen Yam


of counsel

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