Law firm Ropes & Gray has hired two industry veterans as it boosts its exposure to Chinese private equity.
The firm is set to become formally licensed to practice Hong Kong law on May 28 in the latest expansion into the Asian market, which saw it open a Shanghai office in 2011 and double the number of partners in the region over the past 12 months.
Ropes & Gray also plans to open an office in Seoul this year and said it expects to have more than 60 professionals in Asia by the end of the year.
Its existing Asia-based lawyers have worked on deals and fundraises in both dollars and yuan valued at more than $14bn, including half of Asia’s six leveraged buyouts of more than $1bn.
Chairman Brad Malt said, “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.
“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.”
Former Hong Kong capital markets and public M&A lawyer Julian Chung is set to join the firm on May 28, and has advised on many precedent-setting IPOs and secondary offerings in China.
Fellow new hire Gary Li, an experienced China-based corporate lawyer, has previously represented firms such as Carlyle, KKR and Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia in investments, M&A and transaction financing.
Hong Kong office partner Marcia Ellis said, “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 for taking advantage of exciting new opportunities that arise as private equity clients continue to show increasing interest in deals involving public companies in this region.”
It emerged yesterday that Korean pension fund NPS, the world’s fourth largest, was planning on increasing its Chinese private equity allocation this year.
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