KMW expands in HK with partner duo from Mayer Brown

King & Wood Mallesons has hired two partners in Hong Kong: Ashley Wong joins the firm as its local aviation head from Mayer Brown, while Wang Yu joins as a partner from Morrison & Foerster, where he was of counsel.

Wong, has over 15 years of experience in aviation matters, advising airlines, leasing companies, maintenance and repair organisations and other market players on aircraft portfolio acquisitions and disposals, pre-delivery payments financing, sale and lease-back arrangements, acquisitions and disposals of new and used aircraft and engines, dry leasing and wet leasing of aircraft, long-term airframe and engine maintenance arrangements and other commercial arrangements.

Wang has more than 10 years of experience advising on securities offerings, private equity and other corporate transactions. He represents corporate clients, investment banks and private equity funds on transactional matters including capital markets, private equity and financial derivative products.  Wong and Wang join KWM a couple of months after the firm hired Ling Huang as a partner in its Beijing office.

London City

Crowell & Moring plans London training contract after Squires hire

Crowell & Moring’s new London managing partner Robert Weekes has set out plans to launch a training contract in the City office, having joined the US firm today from Squire Patton Boggs.

Weekes’ move was revealed by Leaders in Law last November, months after it was revealed that Squires’ global head Stephen Mahon would be relocating from the US to lead operations in London.

As head of Crowell’s London office, Weekes will be filling a similar position as before, having been a former City managing partner of Squires.

Now in his new role, Weekes said he plans to bring in a training contract to the London office from September 2021. His plans for the London office also include a pledge to triple its headcount by the end of 2022; Crowell currently has nine partners in London and six fee-earners.

To grow, Weekes has highlighted expansion in litigation, followed by the corporate group and regulation practices. Banking, insurance and financial regulation will be part and parcel of this growth plan. Weekes himself is a litigator, specialising in the financial disputes and investigatory work.

Litigator Weekes will take over from partner Jim Regan, who shares his time between the London and Washington offices. Regan had served as the point of contact between the firm’s head quarters and the London office.

Founded in 1979 by a group of 53 breakaway lawyers from Jones Day, Crowell totals more than 500 lawyers around the world.

Weekes said: “The firm wouldn’t have hired me if it didn’t want to grow. I have a reputation for expansion. I see myself as a person who knows how to grow teams that work well together across practice groups to find innovative and commercial solutions for clients.”

Crowell currently counts Microsoft, BMW, Siemens and BlueCross BlueShield among its clients.

Increase in share capital (football club – by extension)

The French Supreme Court related to private matters (Cour de cassation) ruled as a ratio decidendi on 28 November 2018 that the single vote on the resolution related to an increase in share capital reserved to employees is considered satisfactory to regularize an increase in share capital not subject to a vote on a preceding general meeting. This allows the possibility for a general meeting to ratify an increase in share capital reserved to employees (due to the relativity of the nullity – nullité relative). The legal concept that may be considered as underpinning the ratio decidendi is the French appearance theory: the ratification is being made possible by the subscribers (employees) having legitimately believed that the increase in share capital was regularly made.

This is in line with the spirit of company law to allow ratification as much as possible to ensure legal safety. In light of this, it is reasonable to think that this ratio decidendi can therefore be extended to other types of increase in share capital (not only reserved to employees). In particular, this ratio decidendi would be used (with an analogical reasoning) for an increase in share capital in the field of sports law (or IPOs), such as in football. In this respect, an increase in share capital of a football club would be subject to a ratification in the same manner.

Author: Ludovic Timbal Duclaux de Martin

indian flag

APT Legal to open new offices across India

New Delhi-based APT Legal, will be opening new offices in Mumbai, Jaipur, Allahabad (Prayagraj) and Patna. Having started out as Chamber Practice, APT Legal has been representing clients both in the private sector and public sector, pan-India.

The firm handles litigations before the Supreme Court, high courts and appellate tribunals. The firm’s partners focus on practices including mining and metal, arbitration, civil, corporate, and commercial laws. It also advises on insolvency and bankruptcy, white collar crime, competition, energy, environment and forest laws and telecom regulations, among others.

APT Legal’s Delhi office has two partners supported by 10 Associates while the Mumbai, Jaipur, Allahabad and Patna offices will be led each by a partner along with three associates.

Baker McKenzie Named Mainland Europe’s Strongest Law Brand

Leading Global law firm Baker McKenzie has been named Europe’s strongest law brand in the 2018 Acritas Mainland Europe Index.

The Firm received an overall score of 100 – nearly 30 points ahead of the firm that ranked second place – and ranked top for awareness, favourability, top level engagement, multi-jurisdictional deals, multi-jurisdictional litigation, high value usage and inbound usage. The Firm ranked number one in France and Russia, and placed high in Germany, Spain and Italy.

Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort, Baker McKenzie’s Chair of the EMEA region, said: “To be named the top legal brand in Europe is an outstanding endorsement of the work we do and is welcome validation from the European market of the progress we have made. We’ve built our business around investing in our client relationships and innovating to stay relevant to clients so we’re delighted that commitment has been recognised by senior legal buyers across Europe.”

Ranking is based on the responses of 448 senior legal buyers, based in Mainland Europe about their organization’s overall legal needs, and a further 311 senior legal buyers about their international needs in the key jurisdictions of France, Germany, Netherlands, Russia and Spain.

Esteban Raventós, a member of the Firm’s Global Executive Committee, said: “Brands are built upon trust, and in professional services trust is built through excellent service and expertise. We’re pleased to be recognised for the depth of our practice in mainland Europe and our unique ability to deliver global perspectives and local expertise simultaneously.”

The Firm’s European ranking follows Acritas naming Baker McKenzie the strongest global law firm brand in its Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index for the ninth year in a row. In the global survey, the Firm ranked at the top for each of the measures in the Acritas Index – awareness, favourability, consideration for multijurisdictional deals and for multijurisdictional litigation.

London City

Another $10m scalp for Kirkland as Freshfields star Maguire quits

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Adrian Maguire is understood to be joining his former boss David Higgins at Kirkland & Ellis, over a year after the US firm made a concerted push to expand its corporate credentials in the City.



Axiom appoints GM for APAC from Fitbit (双语)

Axiom, a global alternative legal services provider, has hired Yolanda Chan as general manager for the Asia-Pacific region from Fitbit, where she held a similar role.

With more than two decades of APAC experience with industry-leading brands, Chan brings a strong managerial and technology background to her new role. At Axiom, Chan will look into the business development as well as continue to focus on attracting and retaining talented professionals.

In her previous organisation, Chan launched the fitness tracker category in the APAC region. Prior to working with Fitbit, she was the vice-president of APAC at Promethean.

Earlier, Chan worked with Microsoft for 12 years where she held a range of senior positions across the APAC region. Her last role with that company was as the regional director of Microsoft’s Home and Entertainment Division.

CC launches new legal tech lab in Singapore

Clifford Chance, has launched a new innovation lab in Singapore, named Create+65, to identify, incubate, test and pilot new legal technology solutions.

Create+65 was designed to bring together venture capitalists, start-ups, product owners and developers, universities and private institutions with the goal of developing and testing new legal services tools and solutions.

Subject to their position in the innovation cycle, participants that join Create+65 would have access to insights from the firm and its clients about technology solutions that target the delivery of legal services as well as feedback and mentoring, data sets and connection to potential investment and/or funding vehicles.

Users would also have access to workspaces and gain the ability to partner with Clifford Chance to develop innovative legal technology solutions.

The firm has shown a drive to lead in tech this year. In April, it launched ‘Clifford Chance’s Tech Academy’, a global training programme dedicated to learning and development in the tech space. Meanwhile, in December, along with Latham & Watkins, the firm invested in Reynen Court, a tech venture sometimes called the app Store for legal tech. T

he latest initiative is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and in collaboration with Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL).

30 people to watch in the business of law in Asia in 2019

The Asia-Pacific legal markets in 2018 were characterized by trends including the exponential growth of technology deployment and innovation; the growing efforts of elite regional and local firms to adapt, innovate and compete; the potential limitations (and growth) in market access for foreign law firms; the expansion and diversification of alternative legal services firms, the expansion of the legal ecosystem surrounding China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative; the continued growth in legal startup activity; the competition for market share in Asia’s growing arbitration market; and the ongoing efforts by those who serve as consultants to the sector to best identify challenges and opportunities the region represents to law firms and legal services sector companies.  Based on these trends and the suggestions of Asia Law Portal readers, below please find the 2019 edition of 30 people to watch in the business of law in Asia:

  1. Teresa Cheng  – Secretary for Justice, Hong Kong – In a November, 2018 article, Anna Zhang reported that Hong Kong is making a big push to become the dominant Asia-Pacific locale for cross-border dispute resolution and international arbitration. “Arbitration lawyers say [Cheng’s] knowledge and expertise on the nuts and bolts of international arbitration will be an asset to Hong Kong and its efforts in building itself up as the region’s top dispute resolution destination” — amid ferocious competition from other cities seeking to become Asia’s arbitration hub, including Singapore, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul, among others.
  2. Melissa Kaye Pang – President, Law Society of Hong Kong and Partner, Pang & Associates – As Elizabeth Beattie detailed in Asian Legal Business in November, 2018, the Hong Kong Law Society has proposed some new restrictions on foreign lawyers. Pang has explained the proposed rules “do not change the law but are merely clarifications.” Anna Zhang and John Kang detail the newly proposed rules and the objections to those rules by foreign lawyers in Law.com.
  3. Nozomu Tsunoda – Founder, LegalForce Inc. As Beaumont Enterprise detailed recently: “LegalForce Inc. was established in [2017], and is led by 31-year-old lawyer Nozomu Tsunoda, who quit a leading law firm to go into business for himself. Even with only seven employees, Tokyo-based LegalForce checks contract documents such as a confidentiality agreement between companies.”  The service is already being used by several Japanese corporations.
  4. John Kang – Business of Law Reporter, The Asian Lawyer/The American Lawyer – Based in Hong Kong, Kang covers the business of law in Asia and Australia. His coverage of the region’s legal markets is superb in its’ depth and insight.  He’s a must-read for anyone seeking up-to date and highly informed insight into the region’s legal market.
  5. Elizabeth Beattie – Asian Legal Business – Beattie joined Asian Legal Business as a reporter in the fall of 2018 and her coverage immediately became essential reading for anyone interested in the business of law in the Asia-Pacific legal markets.
  6. Lesley Hobbs – Chief Executive Officer, Cognatio Law – Hobbs founded NewLaw firm Cognatio in early 2018. A veteran of NewLaw, Hobbs is very well placed to guide Cognatio to a successful future in the increasingly competitive Asia-Pacific region NewLaw marketplace.
  7. Kareena Teh– EY Litigation, Hong Kong – As John Kang detailed in early December 2018, Teh was part of a team recruited by EY to build out the Big4 firm’s disputes capability. In 2014, Eric Chin explained the competitive threat the Big4 accounting firms pose to BigLaw in Asia.  This threat has expanded over time and the appointment of The is an example of the Big4’s drive to compete for one of the most lucrative areas of legal work in the Asia-Pacific region.
  8. Estefania Altuve – Head of Client Solutions, KorumLegal. A unique NewLaw story in the Asia-Pacific region, Korum was founded in 2015 in Hong Kong, and has quickly expanded not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also into the EMEA region from a base in London. Most NewLaw firms have understandably focused on some of the major centers of corporate activity in Asia – Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.  But as Altuve has explained, the firm has remotely served clients in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea.  The firm is also now in initial conversations about the possibility of opening offices in Australia and New Zealand.
  9. Yolanda Chan – General Manager, Asia-Pacific, Axiom Law – Asia’s pioneer NewLaw firm named Chan General Manager for Asia-Pacific in December, 2018. “Chan brings a strong managerial and technology background to her new role, with more than 20 years of APAC experience with industry-leading brands including Fitbit, Promethean, and Microsoft”, as the firm detailed in announcing Chan’s appointment.
  10. John Chisholm – Australia-based Chisholm is among the world’s most respected consultants to the legal profession on strategy and management, having previously served as Managing Partner and Chief Executive to two leading Australian law firms. In October 2018, Chisholm was inducted into The College of Law Practice Management, “which honors and recognizes distinguished law practice management professionals” throughout the world.
  11. Mathew Chako – Partner, Spice Route Legal – Mathew helped found the firm in 2016, which has offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kochi and extensive affiliations across South East Asia, China, Japan, Europe and the Americas. As the firm details, it “is built on the idea that modern commerce respect neither jurisdictional boundaries nor traditional notions of compartmentalized competence”. The firm is, therefore, “cross-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary and focused on providing effective, efficient and practical transactional, advisory and regulatory legal assistance”.
  12. Patrick Dransfield – Co-Director, In-House Community, which comprises over 20,000 in-house lawyers and compliance officers across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. A regular writer on the business of law, his writings are integral for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the legal landscape in the Asia-Pacific region.
  13. Laurent Tam Nguyen – Vietnam-based, Nguyen has more than twenty-five years’ experience leading marketing and business development operations in b2b professional services, e-business and commercial property.  His experience includes heading regional communications and marketing initiatives for leading ASEAN-region legal services organizations including ZICO Group and DFDL.  In addition, he is General Manager & Founder of Digital Mekong.
  14. Sarah Mateljan – Australia-based Co-founder of legal startup LawCPD, which provides lawyers with the means to complete their mandatory continuing professional development requirements through online learning.
  15. Robert Gilardino – Shanghai-based Partner with Horizons Advisory, which recently established the China Collaborative Group (CCG), a “multidisciplinary legal services collective…designed to provide Chinese clients with cohesive strategic solutions that facilitate cross-border investment under the Belt and Road Initiative and other global economic trade platforms.”
  16. Rika Beppu – Founding member and chair of Women in Law Japan and Partner, Squire Patton Boggs – As Vantage Asia details in an article in July, 2018: “Rika Beppu has more than 20 years’ experience advising on corporate M&A, joint ventures and commercial projects in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, most recently with Squire Patton Boggs. But in addition to her legal expertise is her strong commitment to gender equality in her position as founding member and chair of Women in Law Japan.” “Now in its third year, we have more than 300 members and supporters who gather for events five times a year. The most exciting development this year is the launch of a mentoring programme across the legal profession in Tokyo,” As Beppu explains.
  17. Ivan Lalamentik, Jakarta-based startup lawyer and Founder of  lexar.id – a tech-enabled legal startup which focuses on simplifying legal administration processes to help clients obtain “hassle-free administrative legal documentation with certainty, cost-effective[ness] and transparency.”
  18. Dion Cusack, President, Australasian Law Practice Management Association (ALPMA) – The Melbourne-based senior law practice management professional recently became leader of one of Australia’s most important legal services sector management organizations. In recent years ALPMA has expanded its’ reach to host an annual APAC region law practice management forum in Singapore.
  19. Rohan Mahajan, Founder, LawRato.com. Founded in 2013, the New Delhi-based company provides “an interactive online platform that makes it faster and easier to find and hire the best Lawyers in any city/court in India”.
  20. Ying Mei Lum, Chief Technology Officer, MahWengKwai (MWKA), Director, MWKA Technologies – MahWengKwai & Associates’ recently “set up its own technology research and development arm based in Singapore, under MWKA Technologies Pte Ltd, a member of ACCESS (the Singapore Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association) and Singapore Fintech Association. The research and development team, specialising in mobile strategy, digital transformation and the crossroads of fintech + law is led by Ying Mei Lum” (a Big4 management alumnus who recently was MWK’s COO and continues to remain the firm’s CTO). MWKA Technologies also offers advisory and project management services to the firm’s clients “who wish to explore these technologies to maintain or increase their competitive advantage.”
  21. Kanmani Gobal, Business Development Manager, Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill (LHAG) – Kuala Lumpur-based Gobal joined elite Malaysian law firm LHAG after helping the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) complete a major re-brand from its previous identity: the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration.  Gobal’s experience now spans both work to help a regional arbitration centre and a local elite firm gain competitive advantage amid unique competitive legal environments.
  22. Jonathan Wong – Founder, Law Guide Singapore – As Wong details: “LawGuide Singapore is Singapore’s fastest-growing and most-followed online legal information portal and platform in terms of social media reach and engagement…[with a] mission to give consumers easier access to basic law-related information to help them make better decisions and ultimately to help provide greater access to justice – through web, digital content, social media and Singapore’s first AI legal chatbot[emphasis added]
  23. Daniel Himpson, Head of Business Development, Asia-Pacific, Lex Mundi. In July, 2018, Shanghai-based Himpson was selected to lead strategy and business development for elite global legal alliance LexMundi in the Asia-Pacific region.
  24. David Eyerly, Communications and Business Development Director, SSEK Legal Consultants. Jakarta-based Eyerly, a long-time professional writer and editor, has helped position SSEK as one of the most well-recognized law firms in Indonesia through, among a range of efforts, the firms superb Indonesia Law Blog and social media presence.   This provides SSEK with a decided advantage in Indonesia as against existing domestic and potential foreign competitors in a market which in 2014 Hong Kong-based legal services management consultant Nick Seddon called “the most significant regional opportunity for foreign law firms”.
  25. Pixie Cigar – Chapter Co-Head, Legal Hackers Kuala Lumpur (one of Asia’s most important ecosystems of legal innovation) explains that: “My goal is to develop the legal Tech Community in Malaysia and enhance the innovation & efficiency of Law through technology.”

(26-30) The team at Lawtech.Asia  – (“Southeast Asia’s foremost Law & Technology Review”) — As Lawtech.Asia details: “The march of technological advancements is unrelenting. Yet, there is a paucity of understanding about how these developments will influence – and are influenced by – underrepresented regions such as Southeast Asia (SEA). This is where we come in. LawTech.Asia hopes to bring a unique perspective to the discourse surrounding law, technology and policy issues… LawTech.Asia is currently run by a small team of law students and law graduates based in Singapore who are interested in the intersection of law and technology. However, our mission is not exclusive to certain specialties or nationalities. Those with the right fit, talent and passion are always welcome – please contact us if you’d like to join us in growing this together!”

  1. Josh Lee (Kok Thong) – “presently serves as a Legal Policy Officer and Criminologist in the Legal Policy Division in Singapore’s Ministry of Law…”
  2. Amelia Chew – “graduated with a double degree in Law and Liberal Arts from the National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS College and joined Luminance as a Legal Product Expert…”
  3. Jennifer Lim — “graduated from the National University of Singapore, Faculty of Law in 2017. Growing up designing websites and dabbling with HTML, she sees legal technology as a perfect marriage of both her loves: technology and the law…”
  4. Wan Ding Yao – “is a rising 2L in the Singapore Management University School of Law. Having a keen interest in the technical aspects of cyber security, he presently leads the School of Information System’s Whitehat Society…”
  5. Irene Ng (Huang Ying) – “is a corporate and legal counsel at a Singaporean listed company and a PhD Candidate at the University of Vienna…”



An introduction to our law firm: Allen & Overy

At a time of significant change in the legal industry, we are determined to continue leading the market as we have done throughout our 88-year history. We will do this by ensuring we always challenge ourselves to bring new and original ways of thinking to the complex legal challenges our clients face.

Over the past year we have worked with some of the world’s leading businesses on transactions that have changed their industries. These include advising: HSBC globally on the project to restructure its legal and business structure to meet the post-crisis regulatory reform agenda and is the single largest project undertaken by the UK financial services industry to date; 21st Century Fox on its proposed acquisition by The Walt Disney Company; the second restructuring of Edcon Holdings Ltd and Edcon Ltd, one of the market’s most significant restructurings, which brought together experts advising on South African law, English law and New York law; and Worldpay on its merger with Vantiv, which involved lawyers from 20 A&O offices.

Building on our long heritage enables us to attract the most talented people and continue to deliver this level of innovation with and for our clients.

To support our clients’ international strategies, we have built a truly global network now spanning 44 offices in 31 countries. We have also developed strong ties with relationship law firms in over 100 countries where we do not have a presence. This network makes us one of the largest and most connected law firms in the world, with a global reach and local depth that is simply unrivalled.

Global coverage in today’s market does not simply mean having offices in important cities around the world. For us, it means combining our international resources and sector expertise to work on cross-border transactions directly in the markets and regions important to our clients.