MinterEllison takes 42-strong team from US giant in Hong Kong

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MinterEllison has confirmed that a 42-strong team will be joining the firm in Hong Kong in the new year.

The team joining the Australian behemoth, which includes 10 partners, come from Reed Smith. The lateral hires more than double the firm’s partner numbers in Hong Kong and bolsters the firm’s capability in disputes, international arbitration, and IP in the Asian market.

The partners joining MinterEllison Hong Kong in January are:

  • William Barber
  • Steven Birt
  • Nathan Dentice
  • Jonathan Green
  • David Harrington
  • Alex Kaung
  • Desmond Liaw
  • David Morrison
  • Eddy So
  • Desmond Yu

“We are looking forward to welcoming the new partners and their staff from Reed Smith in the New Year,” said Annette Kimmitt, MinterEllison chief executive. “They will add significant expertise to our disputes, regulatory, and intellectual property offerings, bringing with them excellent knowledge and experience of the Hong Kong and China markets. The people coming across will include senior associates, lawyers and with support staff (and) represent a team of 42 people in total.”

She said that demand is high for Australian and international expertise in Hong Kong and China, particularly because of a progressively fraught geopolitical environment.

“We have seen the conclusion of negotiations for a milestone Australia and Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement on 15 November 2018,” she said. “Hong Kong is a significant trading partner for Australia - substantial trade and investment relationships already exist between the two countries. With heightened complexity in the geopolitical realm – and changing spheres of influence - we recognise the increasing demand for truly independent advice. This is particularly so in the areas of disputes and regulation.”

Fred Kinmonth, MinterEllison chairman and the firm’s managing partner for its Asian offices, echoed the sentiment.

“In 2018, the total market capitalisation of Hong Kong's stock market reached upwards of US$4.3 trillion yet there is also awareness of downside risk in the ongoing China-US trade wars,” he said. “In that context, MinterEllison’s expanded expertise in the disputes and regulatory areas means our firm will have an enhanced ability to help our clients to better understand and manage complex transactions. The addition of a full-service intellectual property capability covering IP registration, commercialisation, and enforcement provides our clients with these essential services in an increasingly competitive global environment.”

David Morrison, one of the partners moving to MinterEllison, noted how the Hong Kong market has significantly changed over the years.

“On 1 May 2018, we saw a brand new era begin when new rules took effect that opened the door to innovative companies that use non-standard share structures and pre-revenue biotech companies,” he said. “This was a significant transformative change to the local market and is just one example of the sort of change seen in the rapidly evolving regulatory market in Hong Kong.”