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Clifford Chance

Hong Kong

Clifford Chance LLP - London
  • 28th Floor
  • Jardine House
  • One Connaught Place
  • Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong
  • China
  • www. cliffordchance.com
  • Managing Partner: David Childs
  • Senior Partner: Malcolm Sweeting
  • Number of partners: 5878
  • Number of fee earners: 3325

Firm Overview:
Clifford Chance is one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms with significant depth and range of resources across five continents. As a single, fully integrated, global partnership, the firm prides itself on its approachable, collegiate and team based way of working. The firm always strives to exceed the expectations of its clients, which include corporates from all the commercial and industrial sectors, governments, regulators, trade bodies and not for profit organisations. The firm provides them with the highest quality advice and legal insight, which combines the firm’s global standards with in-depth local expertise.

Main Areas of Practice:
Capital Markets:

The capital markets practice comprises over 420 partners and lawyers who concentrate on securities transactions and other products sold into the capital markets. The practice is founded on a full-service US and UK securities law capability, complemented by local securities law expertise in each of the key financial centres. It provides practical, integrated legal advice covering the full spectrum of global capital raising activities including public and private domestic and international offerings of traditional debt and equity securities as well as convertible and other derivative and structure securities.

The corporate practice, which comprises over 790 partners and lawyers worldwide, provides clients with a single law firm that combines a market leading practice with specialist, local expertise. Its global transaction capability includes English, US and civil law expertise in the key financial centres across the UK, Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The practice represents many of the world’s leading multinational and national corporations, financial institutions and sponsors on the largest and most complex transactions across the globe – from public takeovers, mergers and cross border acquisitions to strategic alliances, joint ventures, outsourcings and restructurings. The firm’s cross-border M&A experience is enhanced by a depth of sector expertise across financial institutions, energy and infrastructure, TMT, insurance, healthcare, private equity, real estate, funds and investment management, industrials, consumer goods & retail and transport and logistics.

Clifford Chance’s finance practice, which comprises over 700 legal advisers worldwide, is the leading international finance practice of any law firm. The practice provides highly commercial and practical advice across the full spectrum of financial products including syndicated lending and leveraged and acquisition finance, asset finance, derivative products, project finance, financial regulatory, insolvency, restructuring and structured finance. It advises regulatory authorities, supranational bodies, governments and government agencies and actively helps to shape the market through working with market organisations to develop documentation, policy and best practice.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution:
The firm has a team of over 500 litigators internationally and has experience in the full range of litigation and dispute resolution issues that their clients face. The lawyers work with clients to resolve disputes efficiently and effectively – whether through arbitration, litigation or other techniques. They also work with clients to develop compliance programmes that minimise future litigation risks. The firm offers clients a seamless team for cross-border disputes, with expertise in individual jurisdictions but also an understanding of the interplay between different legal systems. The team also advises on regulatory enforcement and criminal investigations into corporate activity across multiple jurisdictions.

Real Estate:
Clifford Chance’s leading real estate practice offers UK, European, Asian and US real estate capability. Over 300 partners and lawyers worldwide advise the real estate industry’s leading players on the entire property ‘life-cycle’ from the initial acquisition, development, leasing, joint venturing and financing through to the final exit, as well as tax structuring, PFI/PPP, corporate outsourcing, planning, environment and litigation.

Clifford Chance has one of the world’s largest international tax groups within a single law firm, with over 200 tax advisers worldwide. The firm is uniquely placed to provide leading edge advice to clients, and the practice is structured on an integrated global basis. Local tax groups within the practice work closely with areas such as securitisation, securities, M&A, corporate restructuring, private equity, real estate and funds. The pan-European VAT Group advises on all areas of VAT and has particular strength advising on novel and complex issues in the structured finance, financial services, corporate finance and real estate sectors.

Employment, Employee Benefits & Pensions:
Clifford Chance’s Employment, Employee Benefits and Pensions Groups comprises over 150 legal advisers worldwide. The teams of experienced employment, employee benefits, ERISA, immigration and pensions specialists work with clients from a wide range of sectors to address local and cross-border issues.


ABU DHABI: Tel: +971 2 419 2500

AMSTERDAM: Tel: +31 20 7119 000

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BARCELONA: Tel: +34 93 344 22 00

BEIJING: Tel: +86 10 6505 9018

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NEW YORK: Tel: +1 212 878 8000 

PARIS: Tel: +33 1 44 05 52 52 

PERTH: Tel: +61 8 9262 5555 

PRAGUE: Tel: +420 2 22 555 222 

RIYADH*: Tel: +966 1 478 0220 

ROME: Tel: +39 06 422 911

SÃO PAULO: Tel: +5511 3049 3188

SEOUL: Tel: +82 26353 8100

SHANGHAI: Tel: +86 21 6335 0086 

SINGAPORE: Tel: +65 6410 2200 

SYDNEY: Tel: +61 2 8922 8000

TOKYO: Tel: +81 3 5561 6600

WARSAW: Tel: +48 22 627 1177

WASHINGTON DC: Tel: +1 202 912 5000

* Clifford Chance has a co-operation agreement with Al- Jadaan & Partners Law Firm in Riyadh


Arbitration (International) - Asia-Pacific Region

Basic facts about the department
- 16 partners and counsel
- approximately 9 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Significant regional arbitration presence, with especially highly regarded teams in Singapore and Hong Kong. Prominent in arbitration cases involving high-profile international banking and M&A clients. Continued growth amongst clients across South-East Asia, winning significant mandates in jurisdictions such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Korea.

Notable practitioners  

Clients note the practical approach and ready availability that Cameron Hassall brings to substantial pan-Asian arbitration cases, acting for a wide range of regional clients from his Hong Kong base. He is a prominent player in such sectors as energy and infrastructure, private equity and aviation.

Singapore-based lawyer Nish Shetty is widely admired for his expertise in India-related matters, and is considered "tremendously experienced and technically excellent" by interviewees. 

Aviation - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for Pre-eminent player in the Asia-Pacific aviation finance market, with teams in Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo. Acts for lessors and major financial institutions, including Export Credit Agencies (ECAs), on the full range of aviation finance matters including commercial financings, lease operating contracts and acquisition finance.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "In aviation, Clifford Chance are number one; they do great work."

Work highlights Advised Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, BNP Paribas and some ECAs on the commercial financing for an A380 aircraft to be operated by Thai Airways.

Acted for GE Capital Aviation Services on a number of matters, including operating leases and portfolio sales.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Briscoe has "one of the best aviation practices in Asia" and is described by clients as being "very knowledgeable and capable." He is highly regarded for his work for banks and other financial institutions, and was part of the team advising a group of lenders on the financing for a A380 aircraft.

Hong Kong-based Paul Greenwell is highly regarded for his broad practice, particularly for his expertise in the Chinese and Japanese markets. He has acted on a number of transactions for major lessors, including GE Capital Aviation services, and for financial institutions such as Bank of China Hong Kong.

Fergus Evans in Bangkok handles aviation finance work as part of a broader banking and asset finance practice. Peers note his visibility in the market, and his considerable experience in acting for lessors on acquisition and lease financings.

Significant clients Bank of China, ICBC, Avolon, Development Bank of Japan, BNP Paribas.

Banking & Finance - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for Widely recognised as a leading banking and finance practice in the major financial hubs in Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. Equally accomplished at representing corporate borrowers and top-drawer institutional lenders. Has extensive experience in handling complex transactions such as leveraged buy-outs, project financings, syndicated lendings and restructuring.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "Their lawyers are very good and commercially articulate. You do not often see quality work like this."

Problem solving: "They are strong in problem solving and they have specialists for regulatory issues, who can jump in and help when needed."

Work highlights Represented The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in relation to a revolving credit facility to finance the acquisition of AEGIS Group by Dentsu, one of Japan's largest e-advertising companies. The loan amounted to JPY395.8 billion.

Acted for the mandated lead arrangers on a USD1.525 billion leveraged financing of the buyout of Focus Media.

Notable practitioners 

Mark Hyde, head of the Asia-Pacific finance practice is a key contact.

Significant clients Citi, Permira, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, UBS.

Capital Markets - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for Demonstrates exceptional expertise in a vast array of jurisdictions particularly in the areas of debt, equity, structured finance and derivatives. Also has capabilities in securitisation and high yield. Handles a very high standard of work in China and Japan and maintains strong coverage in Singapore, India and South Korea.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "The team has many good lawyers specialised in many different areas."

International capability: "Their ability to tap into their global knowledge base and experience is a key strength."

Work highlights Advised joint lead manager China Development Bank on two bond issuances totalling CNY2.5 billion. This sets a new precedent for the market as the CNY1.5 billion issuance of 4.3% bonds is due in 2032, the longest tenure for a dim sum bond.

Acting for Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal on its USD1.2 million H-share IPO, underwritten by an international syndicate including BNP Paribas Capital and Macquarie Capital Securities.

Advised a consortium of international banks, among them Barclays and BNP Paribas, on the regulations for OTC Clearing Hong Kong. This is Hong Kong's first OTC derivatives clearing house.

Notable practitioners  

Hong Kong-based Crawford Brickley is the Asia and Pacific head of capital markets. Connie Heng and Amy Lo are also based in Hong Kong and has expertise in distressed debt and equity-linked work respectively. Equity capital markets (ECM) specialist Tim Wang is a key contact for capital markets in Beijing.

Significant clients HSBC, Standard Chartered, JPMorgan, Citi, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing.

Corporate/M&A - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for An extremely capable and well-rounded firm providing a broad jurisdictional representation. A natural choice for many heavyweight corporations in Asia in relation to acquisitions and divestments across the world. Represents both state-owned companies and investment funds in China on outbound investments and is highlighted for its extensive mining practice in Australia. Utilises its corporate expertise to advise on significant energy and construction projects in emerging jurisdictions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
International capability: "The reason why we like working with them is the good mix of local and international lawyers in the team. That is very useful in addressing the needs of a global organisation whilst having insight to local practices."

Work highlights Acted for HSBC and Heng Seng Bank in the disposal of their insurance businesses in Singapore, Argentina and Mexico for USD1.23 billion.

Advised Emirates on the formation of a global alliance with Qantas Airways, providing related competition advice.

Represented the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation in making a HKD5.4 billion investment in Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed insurance company China Pacific Insurance Group.

Notable practitioners  

Head of Asia corporate, Roger Denny leads the practice from Hong Kong. Andrew Whan and Simon Clinton are the key partners for the Japan and Singapore offices respectively. The primary contacts in Australia are Michael Lishman and Danny Simmons.

Significant clients NTT, HSBC, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, BAIC Motor, Lend Lease, Standard Chartered Bank.

Energy & Natural Resources - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for Offices across East Asia, South-East Asia and Australia act on a range of major transactions, recently undertaking significant mandates arising in the mining and oil and gas sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "Globally, they're very familiar with the energy and natural resources sectors."

Client service: "The chemistry is really there for us - they've demonstrated responsiveness and an understanding of our culture."

Work highlights Represented SapuraKencana Petroleum on its USD2.9 billion acquisition of Seadrill's tender rig business.

Acted for Vale in its AUD150 million purchase of the Belvedere coal project in Queensland.

Notable practitioners  

Perth-based Jon Carson has a wealth of experience in energy and natural resources matters, particularly in mining and utilities. He recently acted on the mining services and equipment leasing arrangements for the Ban Phuc nickel mine in Vietnam as well as shale field transactions and coal supply agreements.

Significant clients SapuraKencana, Vale, Chevron, Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal, Shell.

Investment Funds - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for First-class investment funds group with excellent capabilities to advise on private equity, real estate and registered funds. Popular choice for fund managers looking to diversify investments due to its substantial experience across all asset classes. Offers clients on-the-ground representation in China, Singapore and Tokyo.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
International capability: "They can cover a number of practice areas and have offices in various jurisdictions around the world, so whenever we have a problem, we use them as they are a true one-stop shop."

Work highlights Advised Phoenix Property Investors on the establishment of a parallel real estate platform for investments across the Asia-Pacific region.

Acted for AQG Capital Management on setting up 'Able Quant Asia Pacific Fund', a fund targeted at opportunities in various Asian countries.

Notable practitioners  

Kai Schneider leads the Singapore practice, while Mark Shipman remains the primary contact in Hong Kong. In Tokyo, the key partner is Eiichi Kanda.

Significant clients CITIC Capital Holdings, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, China Alpha Investment Management.

Life Sciences - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for Advises on M&A and other commercial transactions, financing and regulatory issues. Provides broad geographic coverage, working from offices in North Asia including Greater China and Seoul, South-East Asia, and Australia.

Work highlights Advised Phoenix Asia Investments on its USD50 million subscription of a minority equity interest in SC Sanitas.

Advised Galderma on the acquisition of a Japanese pharmaceutical business from Kyorin.

Notable practitioners  

Shanghai-based Emma Davies leads the Asia practice group.

Significant clients Siemens Financial Services, IFC, Bayer HealthCare, Actis, Pfizer.

Projects - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for Acts for a range of international financial institutions and project sponsors on the financing of high-profile projects in Asia. Handles a strong flow of deals involving outbound Chinese investment.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Our strongest competitors for high-end work."

Efficiency: "The service is to the point and thorough." 

Market standing: "They're very good in this space. I'm always opposite Clifford Chance lawyers."

Work highlights Acts for China Development Bank and Bank of China on the USD4.7 billion financing of the Kazakhstan–China Gas Pipeline project.

Acted for Export-Import Bank of China on the USD1.2 billion financing for the PLTU Sumsel 8 mine-mouth coal-fired power plant in Indonesia.

Represents Weda Bay Nickel in the financing and development of a nickel mine in Indonesia.

Notable practitioners  

Stephen Harder recently acted for ICBC on the export credit financing of two government-backed power transmission projects in Zambia. Peers consider him to be a "fabulous lawyer," and he regularly acts for major Chinese lenders. 

Tan Ting Ting is widely praised for her work on the financing of power projects. She is "very good at drafting" and "energetic in negotiation," say interviewees. Recent work highlights include acting on major infrastructure projects in Indonesia, and advising Export-Import Bank of China on the PLTU Sumsel 8 mine-mouth project. 

Significant clients Export-Import Bank of China, Export-Import Bank of Malaysia, China Development Bank.

Banking & Finance - China

Peers recognise Peter Kilner as "a very well-known and excellent lawyer." He spent close to a decade managing the firm's Tokyo office before relocating to Hong Kong in 2012. His continued affiliation with the Japanese market is demonstrated by his representation of JPMorgan Securities in relation to its revolving credit facility to Sony.

Clients speak highly of Anthony Wang's "awesome performance, really fast turnaround time and detailed legal comments." A recent highlight involved advising a syndicate on its USD1.525 billion leveraged financing for the take-private of NASDAQ-listed company Focus Media Holding.

As part of his broad banking practice, Hong Kong partner Matthew Truman advises on acquisition finance and restructuring matters. He recently led the team representing CVC Asia in its USD900 million acquisition of all KFC franchises in Malaysia, Singapore, India and Cambodia.

Sources highlight Maggie Lo as a "very hard-working and patient" lawyer who "goes over and above what she needs to do." In the last year she represented a group of lenders regarding the financing of a USD6 billion facility to fund Chinese oil giant CNOOC's acquisition of Nexen.

Capital Markets - China

Connie Heng continues to impress market sources with her repertoire of services, particularly in debt capital markets (DCM) matters. Clients also appreciate her "responsive, commercial and very practical" approach. She acted for the joint lead managers (BOC International, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan) on Hainan Airlines's USD500 million credit-enhanced notes issuance.

Commentators praise Amy Lo's work in the equity capital markets space, and clients state that they have "a huge amount of respect for her." She receives particular praise for her advice on Hong Kong IPOs. 

Matt Fairclough recently advised joint lead managers BNP Paribas, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank in connection with Ageas Capital's USD250 million 4.125% guaranteed notes issue. Clients comment on his hands-on, pragmatic approach. 

A core part of Tim Wang's practice involves advising PRC enterprises on their Hong Kong listings and international equity transactions. In a notable exception, he acted for Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal Company on its USD1.2 million H-share IPO, underwritten by an international syndicate including BNP Paribas Capital and Macquarie Capital Securities. Clients consider him to be "very commercial and dynamic."

Virginia Lee recently represented the underwriters on Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group's USD296 million IPO.

Jean Thio is based in the firm's Shanghai office. She acted for China Longyuan Power Group and its subsidiary Hero Asia Investment in connection with Hero Asia Investment's USD400 million issuance of perpetual senior securities.

Richard Lee has a strong reputation for handling capital markets offerings by South Korean issuers. He also has considerable regulatory insight as a result of his time working at the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hyun Suk Kim is now based in the firm's recently opened Seoul office, having previously practised from Hong Kong for many years. He enjoys a good reputation in the Korean market, and recently advised Morgan Stanley as placement agent in SK Telecom's USD400 million block trade of POSCO shares.

Foreign Desks The Hong Kong office's South Korea desk offers additional support to its newly-opened Seoul branch. The Hong Kong team features several Korean-speaking lawyers and is highly experienced in representing both underwriters and issuers on the Hong Kong offerings by Korean companies. Richard Lee is the main contact for capital markets.

Capital Markets - China

Paget Dare Bryan leads much of the firm's derivatives work, including recent OTC derivatives clearing matters. He has advised a raft of international banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan on matters including regulatory reforms. Clients are highly impressed with his advice, with one source saying: "He is beyond being just a derivatives lawyer now - he's seen everything and can advise on the full range of products without having to bring in another partner. On top of that, he's technically strong, versatile and very solution-driven." 

Francis Edwards specialises in all forms of derivatives and financial market products and "does an excellent job," according to one client. Most recently he advised a number of international banks on complex equity solutions. In one example, he acted for a US bank on a structured equity financing linked to both convertible bonds and listed shares.

Dispute Resolution - China

Brian Gilchrist is widely praised by sources, who commend his insight into contentious employment and taxation matters in particular. One highlight of the latter was acting for Li & Fung in a Hong Kong Court of Appeal case concerning Hong Kong's status as a source-based tax jurisdiction. Interviewees note his "phenomenal reputation," and describe him as "an immensely impressive guy."

Wendy Wysong is the team's anti-corruption expert. She has particular expertise in white-collar crime investigations and export control regulations. Former experiences as a regulator and prosecutor in the USA give her an invaluable perspective in these areas. Sources say that she "has a very nice manner about her, is very easy to deal with and is highly experienced in this area." She divides her time between the firm's offices in Hong Kong and Washington, DC.

Donna Wacker has a broad practice, and is praised by sources as being "capable and practical," as well as "very hard-working." She represents international financial institutions, funds and brokerages in insolvency and enforcement proceedings. Recent highlights include advising the private banking arms of Deutsche Bank and ABN Amro on mis-selling claims relating to accumulator products.

Dispute Resolution - China

The "competent, capable and efficient" Cameron Hassall continues to act on a number of matters in Greater China and across the Asia-Pacific region. His focus is on cross-border investment arbitrations, including for clients in the energy, banking, pharmaceutical, aviation and private equity spheres.

Kathryn Sanger's expertise lies in PRC-related joint venture disputes. She is well respected in the market, with one peer commenting: "She's extremely knowledgeable and pleasant to deal with." She has written extensively on arbitration in China and Hong Kong, and is a member of the HKIAC Council. She speaks and reads Mandarin.

Intellectual Property - China

Clients say that Ling Ho is the go-to person for difficult trade mark cases because of her "deep knowledge of trade mark law." Recent work includes successfully representing the Philippines-headquartered BDO Unibank in a trade mark infringement and passing-off case brought against it by international accounting firm network Stichting BDO.

Investment Funds - China

Global head of funds and investment management Mark Shipman receives strong endorsement for his "great expertise in funds and corporate issues." He is well regarded for his work across all categories of investment funds, including real estate, private equity and renminbi funds.

Market commentators highlight Matthias Feldmann as "one of the key players of the funds world in Hong Kong." He maintains a prolific practice handling investment fund mandates on behalf of Chinese clients. Last year he assisted Hosen Capital with the launch of 'New Hope Agriculture and Food Fund II,' which will invest in China's agriculture and food industry.

Teresa Leung specialises in onshore private fund formations. She was part of the team acting for Phoenix Property Investors regarding its establishment of a parallel fund platform for real estate investments throughout Asia-Pacific.

Ying White heads the firm's funds and investment management practice in China, advising hedge and private equity fund clients. Over the past year she played key roles in the formation of multiple onshore structures.

Projects - China

Stephen Harder is held in high regard with over two decades of experience in project financing. His practice extends to Asia, Africa and Latin America. Recent work highlights include acting for ICBC on export credit facilities to a power producer in Zambia, for the development of two power projects.

New partner Maggie Lo "comes up with practical solutions," according to sources. She frequently acts on project financing, recently advising China Development Bank on a number of multibillion-dollar Central Asian gas-pipeline projects. She is also identified for her general banking and finance practice.

Capital Markets - South Korea

Hyun Suk Kim is based in the firm's recently opened Seoul office, and is highly rated for his expertise in advising both Korean and foreign clients on international transactions. He recently advised Morgan Stanley as placement agent on SK Telecom's USD400 million block trade of 1.24 million POSCO shares. 

Counsel Richard Lee is based in Hong Kong and is highlighted for his sound advice on cross-border IPOs. Having worked previously at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Lee's regulatory experience is also emphasised by sources.

Foreign Desks The Hong Kong desk continues to handle Korean work, working in close co-operation with the new Seoul office, and drawing upon almost 30 years' experience in the market. The Hong Kong team has five Korean-speaking lawyers. Hyun Suk Kim in Seoul is a key contact, while Richard Lee is a point for enquiries for clients in Hong Kong.