Law firm Ropes & Gray is to become formally licensed to practice Hong Kong law including the fields of private equity, M&A, public takeovers, equity capital markets and debt capital markets. Julian Chung, a capital markets and public company M&A lawyer in Hong Kong and Gary Li, also a China-based corporate lawyer will both be joining the firm as partners.
Ropes & Gray today announced significant developments in the expansion of the firm’s capabilities in China:
· On May 28, Ropes & Gray will become formally licensed to practice Hong Kong law, which will enable the firm to deliver a higher level of service across a full range of client needs in China, including private equity, M&A, public takeovers, equity capital markets and debt capital markets.
· Julian Chung, a veteran capital markets and public company M&A lawyer in Hong Kong, will join the firm on the same date. During the course of his 26-year legal career, Mr. Chung, formerly a partner with Norton Rose, has advised on many precedent-setting IPOs and secondary offerings for both state-owned and privately owned companies in China. He also has advised on landmark listings of international companies in Hong Kong, including the recent listing of Vale S.A., the Brazilian mining company, which was the first HDR listing in Hong Kong.
· Gary Li, another veteran China-based corporate lawyer, is joining the firm. Mr. Li, formerly with Paul Weiss, has represented top-tier investment firms such as The Carlyle Group, KKR & Co. L.P. and Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia in investment, mergers & acquisition and financing transactions.
Both Mr. Chung and Mr. Li will join the firm as partners.
“These moves reinforce our strong commitment to serving clients with their most critical issues in China and across Asia,” said Brad Malt, chairman of Ropes & Gray. “Julian Chung and Gary Li bring an unparalleled depth of experience and knowledge that will bolster our market-leading private equity franchise and expand the range of complementary capital markets services we offer our clients.”
The developments continue significant growth momentum for Ropes & Gray in Asia, and follow several significant milestones. The firm opened its Shanghai office in 2011, complementing existing operations in Hong Kong and Tokyo. The number of partners operating in Asia over the past 12 months has doubled. In 2012, Ropes & Gray plans to open an office in Seoul, and expects to have over 60 professionals in Asia by the end of 2012.
“The growth we have seen over the past year is a direct result of our clients’ growing needs in Asia and their demands for deeper and broader legal resources,” said Mr. Malt. “We have pursued a very thoughtful approach to growth as we organically add lawyers and expertise to meet our clients’ needs in this vital and growing marketplace.”
The firm’s Asia-based lawyers have advised the largest global private equity funds and leading investment banks on numerous hallmark mergers and acquisitions, debt financing and fundraising transactions encompassing multiple industries, geographies and deal structures. Over the last 12 months, the firm’s Asia-based lawyers have handled announced transactions and committed RMB and U.S. dollar fundraisings valued at more than US$14 billion—including work on three of Asia’s six leveraged buyouts valued at more than $1 billion.
The firm’s growing track record in Asia has earned it immediate recognition in the marketplace and numerous awards. Asian Legal Business recognized Ropes & Gray for “Deal of the Year” for China in 2010, and for Japan in 2009 and 2010. Also, Chambers and Partners has recognized the firm’s corporate, private equity and intellectual property practices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.
“The combination of the firm’s core strength in its private equity practice worldwide and Julian’s and Gary’s extensive experience in Hong Kong M&A and capital markets transactions will give the firm a unique platform to take advantage of exciting new opportunities as private equity clients continue to show an increasing interest in deals involving public companies in this region,” said Marcia Ellis, partner in the Hong Kong office.
Said Mr. Chung: “I am excited about joining the extraordinary attorneys of Ropes & Gray, and working together to build the new capabilities of the Hong Kong law practice to complement the firm’s vast experience with cross-border and international work across Asia and around the world.”
Said Mr. Li: “Ropes & Gray is already known as the world’s go-to firms for private equity, and has rapidly made a name for itself in Asia. I look forward to working alongside the firm’s exceptional team of lawyers in Asia, the U.K. and the United States.”