Results of 2020 Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide announced


Tanner De Witt is delighted once again to be recognised by Chambers & Partners in their 2020 Asia-Pacific Guide for each of its main practice areas in particular its Band 1 ranking for Labour and Employment.

Employment: Hong Kong Law (International Firms) — China (Band 1)

Strengths: One client asserts: “In general, I see the firm as pragmatic when it comes to mediation.”

What the team is known for: Strong contentious employment team with notable expertise representing employees in high-profile litigation cases. Active on matters involving individuals employed in Hong Kong, including supporting foreign domestic workers on a pro bono basis. Also advises employers on the transfer of employees to and from the PRC, work policies, contracts and post-employment restrictions. Highly active on cases related to race, disability and sex discrimination, and white-collar crime investigations.

Kim Boreham wins praise from a client for being “extremely professional, and very structured and thought-through in how she uses mediation to get a settlement.” She is held in high esteem for her work as a litigator representing employees on matters relating to unpaid wages and severance payments, wrongful dismissals and other employee complaints.

Russell Bennett is described by market sources as “very senior” and “very hard-working for clients.” He maintains a strong employment disputes practice, primarily advising on termination disputes and harassment claims, as well as pro bono employee defence work.

Corporate/M&A: Independent Hong Kong Firms (Band 2)

What the team is known for: Covers the full range of corporate and commercial matters, including investments, joint ventures and M&A transactions. Remains part of a global referral network with elite law firms, frequently handling cross-border mandates. Strong in dealing with regulatory compliance work related to corporate transactions. Additionally able to assist clients on venture capital transactions.

Strengths: A client likes that the team “makes sure I am always well taken care of and that the advice given is always sound and well rounded, taking into account short and long-term consequences.”

Another market source asserts that the firm “delivers solid work and is reliably time and cost-conscious, with good commercial judgement and a responsive and friendly manner.”

Work highlights Advised Infra Asia Investment on the sale of its 50% stake in Deep C Green Energy to TEPCO Power Grid and subsequent joint venture agreement with TEPCO for the distribution, sale and retail of electricity in Haiphong, in Vietnam.

Eddie Look is regularly engaged by clients for a range of corporate and private equity work, including share buy-backs, share capital restructuring and joint venture advice. One client enthuses that he is “always patient and trustworthy.”

Tim Drew advises both corporates and private clients on acquisitions and sales, corporate structuring and joint ventures. One market source describes him as “a very experienced commercial all-rounder.”

Edmond Leung is active on cross-border M&A and private equity mandates, with a notable strength in the energy sector. His client roster includes investment funds, auction houses and private individuals.

Restructuring/Insolvency (International Firms) — China (Band 2)

What the team is known for: Well-established independent Hong Kong firm with a strong reputation, particularly in relation to high-stakes contentious insolvency cases. Regularly handles large, complex domestic litigations and clients include distressed companies and liquidators. Also able to handle cross-border Hong Kong–Mainland China restructurings as well as non-contentious matters.

Strengths: One client comments: “The firm as a whole has a commercial and pragmatic approach to its work aimed at finding the right solution for the client.”

Another client adds: “The firm is highly regarded by the insolvency practitioners in Hong Kong.”

Work highlights Acted for the liquidators of a collapsed Cayman Islands investment fund on recovery action in Hong Kong.

Robin Darton has an outstanding reputation for his insolvency litigation practice and is also able to advise clients with regard to non-contentious matters. One interviewee comments: “His litigation knowledge is unsurpassed by others. He’s very hands-on and has a good understanding of what the client wants.”

Ian De Witt is described as “one of the bible writers for insolvency law” by one source who adds: “He’s a walking dictionary on legal matters relating to insolvency.” He often advises on contentious matters and counts distressed companies, liquidators and bond trustees among his clients. A market commentator notes: “He’s a safe pair of hands, he’s someone who really thinks of the problems that the cases give rise to and he’s got an almost encyclopaedic understanding of insolvency law.”

Dispute Resolution: Litigation (International Firms) — China (Band 4)

What the team is known for: Respected, independent Hong Kong firm, acknowledged for its broad commercial disputes offering. Areas of expertise include professional negligence claims, shareholder disputes, debt and asset recovery, fraud and contentious trusts and probate. Often acts for clients in the financial services sector, international investors and high net worth individuals and families.

Strengths: “I am most impressed with their professionalism, attention to detail and, most importantly, their commercial approach to problems,” notes one client.

Another impressed client reports: “The team is willing to deliver outstanding results and is able to work hard, steadily and speedy on the cases.”

Work highlights Acted for a high net worth family in a trust and estate litigation over a large estate worth several hundred million US dollars.

“Excellent litigator” Jeff Lane is “pragmatic, direct, understands all the issues and is very prompt in his responses,” according to one client. He is an experienced litigation practitioner, with a practice focus on handling cases related to fraud, asset tracing and recovery and cyber fraud.

Sources praise Mark Side‘s “excellent tactical awareness” and report that “his experience and understanding of the bigger picture is valuable in developing a sound litigation strategy.” His broad scope of litigation experience spans contentious regulatory matters, white-collar crime investigations and professional duty disputes.

New entry to the rankings Pamela Mak co-heads the firm’s dispute resolution practice and has over two decades of experience in handling commercial disputes. She is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English and regularly handles claims concerning contentious probate, asset tracing and shareholder and joint venture disputes. Interviewees praise her “hands-on approach,” adding: “She has very good attention to detail and understands the need to give technically accurate advice.”

Robin Darton has a strong reputation for his deft handling of contentious restructuring and insolvency cases. He also acts on shareholder and investment disputes and securities enforcement proceedings. Clients praise his practical knowledge, commenting: “He’s a very astute practitioner who knows the courts and the Hong Kong Bar well.”

Family/Matrimonial (International Firms) — China (Recognised Practitioner)

Sources say that Joanne Brownunderstands her clients very well and doesn’t mind going the extra mile in cases.” She has noteworthy expertise in advising expatriates and HNW individuals on a range of matrimonial matters. One interviewee reports: “Joanne has a reputation for getting cases resolved without unnecessary cost and delay,” while another source notes: “I would single out Joanne as someone who is exceptional in mediation. She behaves in an incredibly helpful way and really advances negotiations.”