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Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2018

This year the Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards took place on Thursday, 1st February 2018 at Eaton House, Central, Hong Kong.

These awards honour the work of national and international law firms across the region on the basis of research for the recent edition of Chambers Asia-Pacific.  They recognise a law firm’s pre-eminence in key countries in the region.  They also reflect notable achievements over the past 12 months including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service.

Click here to view our Asia-Pacific Editor Sarah Kogan announcing the shortlist for the Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2018

Click here to view the photo gallery

Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2018 - Nominations and Winners

Lifetime Achievement Award – Jack Lange

Jack Lange is one of Hong Kong’s most highly reputed corporate partners having worked at the forefront of Asian private equity deals for over two decades. Joining Paul, Weiss in 1988 after a spell at the US Department of State, he moved to Hong Kong in 1994 and quickly built his reputation as one of the market­­’s most successful corporate practitioners. Over the years he has been a go-to name for prestigious clients such as KKR, Morgan Stanley Private Equity, Hillhouse Capital, Kraft Heinz and DiDi Chuxing amongst others.

His depth of experience on highly structured and innovative transactions is impressive, including recent highlights such as acting for Didi Chuxing on its USD2 billion investment in ride-hailing company Grab.

In testament to his leading reputation amongst both peers and clients, Jack has been ranked highly in the Chambers guides for 18 consecutive years, and has also been singled out as a star individual in the market for the last six years. Clients report that he is very thoughtful, smart, and can really think from the investors’ angle to protect clients’ best interests” and also emphasise that he operates with “the highest degree of professionalism” and is “always seeking alternatives and different solutions.”

Jack’s significant contribution to the wider legal community include serving as president of The American Club Hong Kong in 2012 and most recently taking on the role of chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

 

Asia-Pacific Law Firm of the Year – King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons has market-leading full-service offerings throughout mainland China and Australia and offers impressive coverage and cross-border capability across the region. Lately the firm’s established Hong Kong team has attracted a strong flow of outbound Chinese investment work, while the firm’s South-East coverage has been enhanced by the opening of the firm’s office in Singapore in 2015. The increased prestige of its energy & natural resources and capital markets practices in PRC mirror its upward trajectory across the Asia-Pacific region, and its multi-jurisdictional capability is well demonstrated by its role advising Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co. and Primavera Capital Fund II L.P. on their joint acquisition of 100% of ASX-listed Vitaco Holdings.

 


AUSTRALIA

Allens
Ashurst
Clayton Utz
Gilbert + Tobin
Herbert Smith Freehills
King & Wood Mallesons

Winner: Clayton Utz

Clayton Utz delivers outstanding expertise capable of servicing the largest national projects. Distinguished for its comprehensive construction, infrastructure and projects practice, it is frequently engaged by prestigious corporate clients and the largest government departments on transformative projects and developments. It continues to win roles on the most significant projects throughout Australia, and it also boasts impressive expertise in the capital markets, competition, environment, insurance, life sciences, real estate and restructuring practice areas.


CHINA

International firms

Corporate

Clifford Chance LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Linklaters
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Slaughter and May

Winner: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

With offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, this impressive corporate team has numerous individuals acting on high value cross-border deals and is renowned for its strong focus on transactions between the USA and China. Another area of particular strength is its regular pipeline of work handling take-privates for leading US-listed Chinese companies. In the past year the team has also advised a large number of high-profile multinational clients from industries such as technology and finance. The team’s work highlights have included representing Didi Chuxing in its acquisition of UberChina from Uber Technologies. The firm’s strong work is rounded off by the high level of satisfaction reported by clients, who highlight the team for its ability to deal with the most complex matters as well as for being one of the strongest deal makers in the market.

 

Dispute Resolution


Allen & Overy LLP
Clifford Chance LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills
Linklaters
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills

Market sources are swift to highlight Herbert Smith Freehills as one of the top firms for all areas in dispute resolution, including litigation and arbitration. The disputes team is instructed by an impressive local and international client roster, with a focus on financial services litigation as well as advising TMT, banking and hospitality companies in complex arbitrations. In a recent work highlight the team assisted BYD Company with High Court litigation proceedings brought by Foxconn. Feedback is also impressive, with clients noting the team's practical and commercial advice as well as its proactivity. The arbitration team is additionally praised for its advocacy skills. Corporate investigations is another key area of expertise, with the team remaining very active on white-collar, criminal and regulatory enforcement proceedings as well as internal compliance.

 

Finance

Allen & Overy LLP
Clifford Chance LLP
Kirkland & Ellis International LLP
Linklaters
White & Case LLP

Winner: Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy is singled out for its strong year in the finance field, maintaining top rankings in general banking and capital markets, while also winning a promotion in our Financial Services table for advising on highly structured securities transactions, with a special focus on the regulation of derivatives. The team counsels clients from its offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, with a roster that includes leading PRC and international banks as well as funds. In one work highlight, they advised MGM China Holdings in relation to a USD3 billion refinancing facility. Clients report on the firm's ability to navigate through complex matters and its attention to detail, which is topped off by the consistent level of quality it offers across the firm's multiple offices.


PRC firms

Corporate & Finance

Fangda Partners
Global Law Office
Han Kun Law Offices
JunHe LLP
King & Wood Mallesons
Zhong Lun Law Firm

Winner: Han Kun Law Offices

Having started off as a boutique focusing on private equity and TMT, today Han Kun Law Offices has developed into a well-rounded powerhouse with a 200-strong team of high-calibre practitioners, specialising in transactions across a wide range of areas including venture capital, M&A, ECM, general banking and aviation finance. Clients and peers alike highlight the firm's outstanding sector knowledge, business acumen and consistent service levels. In the past few years, Han Kun has attracted both young talents and market veterans from leading global firms, which has reinforced its strength in fields such as investment funds, and also bolstered its expansion into wealth management, financial services and overseas listings amongst other areas. Of late, the team acted as PRC legal counsel to China Literature on its global offering on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

 

Dispute Resolution

Fangda Partners
Jincheng Tongda & Neal
JunHe LLP
King & Wood Mallesons
Zhong Lun Law Firm

Winner: Fangda Partners

Fangda Partners is commended for the strong performance of its dispute resolution team, with an impressive bench of highly reputed litigators and arbitration counsel based across the firm’s offices in mainland China and Hong Kong. The firm continues to represent an enviable clientele including major industrial conglomerates, international brands and investment funds before courts and in arbitration proceedings. The firm's dexterity in dispute resolution, combined with its local know-how and international experience, enables it to handle complex disputes concerning intellectual property, employment, insolvency and antitrust issues. The bench strength of the team has been further boosted of late by the addition of former magic circle partner Fang Jian, augmenting its offering in the areas of corporate investigations and financial regulatory matters.

 

Client Service Award

Dentons
Global Law Office
Han Kun Law Offices
Llinks Law Offices
T&D Associates

Winner: Global Law Office

Global Law Office wins impressive client appraisals for its efficient communication and ease of contact. As one particularly happy source explains: "They put a lot of resources and lawyers into the matter. Their communication and way of handling things is very effective and smooth. You don’t need to repeat yourself and you can say one thing to one lawyer, and the rest is synchronised." Clients also attest to its familiarity with recent legal developments and its problem-solving approach, noting that "they are at the forefront of the market" and "they are able to solve tricky problems; their strength is having strong professional skills and ability in mobilising resources." Clients also single out the firm’s credentials in the areas of banking, capital markets and healthcare.


INDIA

National firms

AZB & Partners
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Khaitan & Co
Luthra & Luthra Law Offices
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Trilegal

Winner: Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas remains a favoured choice amongst Indian corporates and financial institutions as well as international clients. Clients praise highly the partners’ wealth of transactional expertise across banking, M&A, capital markets and restructuring matters, as well as its strong advisory offering in the areas of corporate governance and regulatory work. The firm is equally at home advising on complex, highly structured domestic mandates as it is advising on the Indian aspects of big-ticket multinational deals. Lately this has included acting for the controlling shareholders of Essar Oil during its takeover by Rosneft, the largest FDI investment into India to date. The firm’s sector strengths in the area of real estate and TMT are also noted, having improved its rankings in these areas in the latest edition.

 

International firms

Allen & Overy LLP
Clifford Chance LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills
Latham & Watkins LLP
Linklaters

Winner:  Linklaters


Linklaters stands out for the quality and depth of expertise offered by its global India group. Lately this has included involvement in a clutch of high-profile M&A deals in the resources and healthcare sectors, including acting for Accord Healthcare on its acquisition of Allergan's former pharmaceutical generics business in the UK and Ireland from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, as well as advising Rosneft on its acquisition of Essar Oil. The team also remains a key player for high-value Indian financing and dispute resolution work. Clients single out the firm’s consistently high standards of delivery and quality of execution amongst its key strengths.


INDONESIA

Domestic firms


Assegaf Hamzah & Partners
Ginting & Reksodpiutro in association with Allen & Overy LLP
Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners
Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung
Makarim & Taira S
SSEK Legal Consultants

Winner: Hadiputranto Hadinoto & Partners

This firm maintains a stellar reputation in Indonesia, representing an impressive list of blue-chip clients, including Credit Suisse, ENGIE, Mitsubishi Motors and Allianz. As a member of Baker & McKenzie International, the firm is able to combine market-leading local law expertise with an impressive international network of offices. It fields a number of outstanding practitioners in a diverse range of sectors, from employment and IP to real estate and finance. The firm's corporate team remains a go-to choice for inbound investment mandates from major international companies and financial institutions, for instance assisting HSBC in relation to its USD1 billion capital injection into Bank HSBC Indonesia to integrate both businesses.



International firms

Allen & Overy LLP
Clifford Chance LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
Linklaters
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

Winner: Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy continues to be regarded as a market leader for banking and corporate work in Indonesia, with a growing bench of partners advising on Indonesia-related work from the firm's Singapore office. Singapore-based partners Gautam Narasimhan and Jason Humphreys enter the rankings this year, further strengthening the team's offering across banking & finance and projects & energy. In an example of its recognised expertise in high-value project financing, the group advised the Asian Development Bank, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and a number of international lenders in connection with the USD12.8 billion project financing of the third stage of the Tangguh LNG development project in Indonesia. Clients benefit considerably from the firm's on-the-ground presence through its long-standing association with domestic firm Ginting & Reksodiputro.


JAPAN

Domestic law advisers

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)
Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
Nishimura & Asahi

Winner: Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

One of the 'Big Four' law firms of Japan, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune has excelled this year in a number of areas, maintaining its leading practice in capital markets, banking & finance and dispute resolution, while also improving its visibility in the tax, real estate, life sciences and insurance spheres. Clients are impressed not only with the firm's domestic law capabilities, but also by its smooth handling of international mandates. In a recent highlight the firm acted for Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Nomura as underwriters on the IPO of LINE, a USD1.15 billion deal. It also successfully enforced a JPY1.14 billion arbitral award concerning wrongful termination of distributorship for an international client.

 

International law advisers


Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills
Morrison & Foerster LLP
White & Case LLP

Winner: Morrison & Foerster

Morrison & Foerster maintains its leading practice in the Japan market, with an elite offering spanning from corporate/M&A and real estate through to intellectual property and dispute resolution. In addition to its leading US practice, it also has a large team of Japanese practitioners to ensure seamless cross-border execution. One recent example of its impressive work is its representation of Renesas Electronics on its USD3.2 billion acquisition of Intersil. The team also represents a number of household-name businesses, including Hitachi, Toshiba, SoftBank and Fujitsu.


MALAYSIA

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill
Shearn Delamore & Co
Skrine
Wong & Partners, a member firm of Baker McKenzie International
Zul Rafique & Partners

Winner: Wong & Partners, a member firm of Baker McKenzie

Wong & Partners is the standout firm in Malaysian corporate/M&A matters, offering top-flight expertise and market-leading bench strength. It has bolstered its tax practice and delivers distinguished service in complementary areas including capital markets, banking & finance and intellectual property. Integrated into the worldwide Baker McKenzie network, it attracts a prestigious global client base, including Toyota, AstraZeneca and Mastercard.


NEW ZEALAND

Bell Gully
Chapman Tripp
MinterEllisonRuddWatts
Russell McVeagh
Simpson Grierson

Winner: Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp continues to offer a leading service across the New Zealand legal market. Its acclaimed capability in transactional, regulatory and dispute resolution practice across corporate, financing and development projects ensures it is consistently engaged on market-leading matters. Its client base includes major international investors into New Zealand, for instance advising the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in relation to its NZD580 million investment into Waiheke Inc. Other major clients that favour the firm include Tower, Vector and Airwork.


PHILIPPINES

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRALAW)
Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos
PJS Law (Puyat Jacinto & Santos)
Quisumbing Torres, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International
Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles
SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Winner: SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

SyCip Salazar maintains its superb reputation as a go-to firm across a variety of practice areas, including corporate/M&A, IP, banking & finance, tax, projects, energy & infrastructure and dispute resolution. It is called upon by an enviable list of domestic and international clients, including Dentsu Aegis Network, Bell Canada, Aboitiz Power and San Miguel Corporation. Some of the firm's highlights include successfully representing the PLDT before the Supreme Court in querying the validity of a Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission requirement that public utilities maintain at least 60% Filipino ownership in both voting shares and total outstanding shares, with a ruling that only voting shares required 60% ownership.


SINGAPORE

Domestic law advisers

Allen & Gledhill LLP
Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP
Drew & Napier LLC
Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP
WongPartnership LLP

Winner: Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill is regularly singled out for the exceptional breadth and depth of its offering across Singapore and South-East Asia. The firm possesses an unrivalled spread of top-tier rankings in the guide, demonstrating particular strength in the areas of corporate/M&A and capital markets, where it frequently handles challenging, innovative and high-value transactions. For example, the team advised OCBC on the establishment of its USD10 billion global covered bond programme by Red Sail, and assisted Singapore Telecommunications in its SGD2.47 billion acquisition of Temasek Holdings' stakes in Intouch Holdings and Bharti Telecom. The firm also leverages its associations with regional firms in both Malaysia and Myanmar to service clients operating across the broader South-East Asia region.

 

International law advisers

Allen & Overy
Clifford Chance
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills
Latham & Watkins LLP
Linklaters
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP 

Winner: Allen & Overy

This magic circle stalwart is a top choice for a number leading financial institutions and multinational corporates, as well as domestic Singaporean entities. The firm is well known for its expertise in banking & finance, corporate/M&A and capital markets, where it regularly attracts instructions on market-leading deals. This year, the group also gained a top-tier ranking in projects & energy, an achievement which highlights the firm's considerable expertise in project finance and development mandates across South-East Asia. In addition to its impressive transactional and corporate capabilities, the firm has a growing contentious practice headed by leading arbitration practitioner Judith Gill. This team has handled a number of significant arbitration mandates of late, for instance acting for construction company BDC in ICSID proceedings against the Republic of the Philippines for breach of its obligations under a bilateral investment treaty. Clients also benefit from the firm's ability to provide Singapore, US and English legal advice, drawing on its network of local law firm relationships across South-East Asia.


SOUTH KOREA

National firms

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC
Kim & Chang
Lee & Ko
Yulchon LLC
Shin & Kim

Winner: Kim & Chang

This firm maintains a stellar reputation across all practice areas, with no fewer than 19 Band 1 rankings in areas such as corporate/M&A, shipping, IP and competition. The group is especially well equipped to advise clients on complex cross-border mandates and routinely assists major multinationals and Korean conglomerates with high-profile transactions. The firm's contentious practice continues to go from strength to strength and this year sees two former public prosecutors, Dong Min Cha and Sung Gwan Chun, gain rankings in the white-collar crime category, while former high court judge Hye Kwang Lee picks up a ranking for litigation. Notably, Kim & Chang is the only domestic Korean law firm to achieve a ranking in the Asia-wide International Arbitration category. The firm's recent work includes advising KB Financial on its USD1.1 billion acquisition of shares in Hyundai Securities, and defending Philip Morris against a claim for damages by the National Health Insurance Service in connection with smoking-related diseases.

 

International firms


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills
Paul Hastings
Clifford Chance
DLA Piper LLP

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills

The Korea practice at Herbert Smith Freehills continues to flourish, with a market-leading disputes offering and a notable track record advising on high-profile mandates in the projects and energy space. The disputes team saw a number of exciting developments this year, with partner Mike McClure entering the rankings and Philip Kim being listed as an Associate to Watch. Of counsel Dana Kim was also highlighted this year as an Up and Comer in the space. The firm's expertise in the contentious space is bolstered by its growing strength in the corporate field and the group recently advised YG Entertainment on its USD55 million sale of shares to Tencent and Weying Technology. In the energy sector, the firm continues to advise on a number of high-value, innovative transactions, demonstrating considerable expertise in both the financing and development of significant projects.


TAIWAN

Baker McKenzie
Formosa Transnational Attorneys At Law
Jones Day
Lee and Li
Tsar & Tsai

Winner: Lee and Li

A full-service firm with a stellar reputation and a deep bench in the Taiwan market, Lee and Li is entrusted on a full gamut of matters ranging from cross-straits financings to local regulatory proceedings. It has demonstrated dominance in the arenas of banking, capital markets and M&A, and counts leading financial institutions and companies from various industries including technology, energy and construction as its clients. It is also considered a go-to firm for issues concerning white-collar crime, international trade and intellectual property protection. A recent highlight saw the firm counselling Toshiba on a patent infringement lawsuit against four Taiwanese companies where the damage claim increased from TWD100 million to TWD200 million during damage investigation.


THAILAND

Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
Linklaters (Thailand) Ltd
Tilleke & Gibbins
Weerawong C&P

Winner: Baker McKenzie

This well-established firm demonstrates excellence across the board and earns market recognition for its unrivalled bench strength and depth of resources. It is considered a first choice by many leading financial institutions and multinational corporates, as well as some of Thailand's largest companies. The firm is a clear market leader in a range of practice areas, spanning from dispute resolution to real estate and corporate transactions. Financing remains central to the firm's offering, with a recent work highlight including advising Kasikornbank and a financial institution on a USD680 facility to CPF Netherlands for the acquisition of shares in STESHA. This year, the firm's already hugely impressive set of rankings has been added to with a new band one ranking in projects & energy, recognising the team's strength in project finance and development mandates.


VIETNAM

Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
VILAF
YKVN Lawyers

Winner: Baker McKenzie

The firm is highly regarded for its work in Vietnam including projects, banking and finance, IP, dispute resolution, M&A and TMT, demonstrating its long-standing expertise in the country. The team deals with blue-chip clients from the pharmaceutical and IT sectors, usually on the Vietnam aspects of high-value global M&A transactions. Recent work includes acting for Sun Life Assurance on its buyout from PVI Holdings of its 25% stake in PVI Sun Life Insurance. Also a standout for TMT, the team can be seen acting on entity formation and divestment in Vietnamese technology and telecoms markets, including acting for Global Fashion Group in the USD20 million sale of its e-commerce platform Zalora.