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On 1 November 2013, King & Wood Mallesons combined with SJ Berwin to create a firm that spans Europe, the Middle East, China and Australia and is headquartered in Beijing. The merger has been hailed as one of the first of its kind, giving clients direct access to solicitors authorised to practice Chinese law. The Swiss verein-structured law firm has a combined revenue of over $1 billion and is made up of four partnerships in Australia, China, Hong Kong and the UK.
|KING & WOOD MALLESONS|
|Arbitration||5||Labour & Employment||2|
|Asset Recovery||4||Life Sciences||3|
|Corporate Governance||5||Public Procurement||1|
|Corporate Tax||5||Real Estate||5|
|Energy||2||Telecoms & Media||4|
|Information Technology||3||Trade & Customs||3|
|Insurance & Reinsurance||1||Trademarks||5|
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
The legacy firm SJ Berwin brings with it an “outstanding” private funds practice. Jonathan Blake is head of the international funds group and concentrates his practice on advising private equity houses, funds managers and institutional investors. Simon Witney focuses his practice on private equity and funds and is “very capable” according to peers. Tamasin Little advises on the structuring and marketing of funds as well as on related regulatory matters. She has experience dealing with hedge, private equity and other fund managers, brokers, banks, investment exchanges, insurance companies and other investment firms. Benjamin Aller is managing partner, Middle East and is involved in the formation of a wide range of vehicles including venture capital, buyout, hedge, private equity real estate, infrastructure and fund of funds. Arnaud David is co-head of the investment funds practice in Paris. He works with fund sponsors on the formation and ongoing representation of private investment funds. His experience includes acting for Sagard, Activa Capital, BNP Paribas and CIC Mezzanine. Sydney-based Mark McFarlane specialises in private equity and other structured funds, and hedge funds and has “in-depth knowledge” of the regulatory requirements.
The firm’s M&A practice is particularly strong in the Asia-Pacific region and was ranked number one for announced M&A deals in 2013 by deal count according to Mergermarket’s latest APAC (excluding Japan) and Greater China league tables. In Sydney, David Friedlander specialises in mergers and acquisitions and securities law. He acts for both bidders and targets in takeovers and works closely with the teams in Hong Kong and China. Tim Bednall has a “high-profile” practice having advised companies including Challenger, ING Real Estate and Xstrata in M&A transactions. Stephen Minns is chairman, Australia of King & Wood Mallesons and specialises in public company acquisitions and equity issues. He advised AXA Asia Pacific in relation to its acquisition by AMP. Greg Golding is “highly sought after” in relation to contested public company takeovers, reconstructions and capital raisings. Mark Schaub in Shanghai specialises in foreign direct investment and private equity investment in China. Xu Ping has more than 20 years’ experience in mergers and acquisitions and advises multinational and major Chinese enterprises in their investment, acquisitions and restructuring projects. Her expertise covers a range of industries.
King & Wood Mallesons’ competition practice is “held in high esteem”. Key names include head of the international trade and antitrust and competition group Susan Ning and head of the Australia-based competition law and regulatory group Sharon Henrick. Ning focuses on securing MOFCOM merger clearance and advising on AML compliance issues and Henrick advises on transactions and investigations. In London, Stephen Kon is noted for his “significant expertise” in competition matters, both contentious and non-contentious, at EU and national level. Simon Holmes is head of EU, competition and regulatory law and is praised for his “no-nonsense approach” and “attention to detail”. Tom Usher advises on compliance, merger analysis, vertical agreements and abusive practices, horizontal agreements, cartels, public procurement and state aid. He is particularly well known for his work in the music, film, pharmaceuticals, betting and gaming, and pay-TV industries.
Capital markets is a further area of strength. Greg Hammond in Sydney leads the firm’s debt capital markets practice and is “sensational” according to peers. He is joined by Evie Bruce, a “dedicated” lawyer who has extensive experience in initial public offerings, secondary capital raisings and hybrid and retail debt securities offerings. In Hong Kong, Richard Mazzochi specialises in structured finance and has been involved in transactions in the European, American and Asian markets.
The commercial litigation practice is also well regarded. Hilton Mervis in London specialises in commercial, shareholder/joint venture, banking, corporate reputation and professional negligence litigation. Tim Taylor QC in Dubai acts for corporate and financial institutions, sovereign states and parastatals, high net worth individuals and heads of state in litigation. Karen Coleman in Sydney is an “accomplished litigator” who earns high praise for her “strategic thinking”.
|Total Listings in WWL||114||Established||2012|
|Home jurisdiction||China, Australia, UK||Total size of firm||2,700|
|Number of offices||30|
The firm is active in pro bono matters throughout its network. In London, the firm is a member of LawWorks and also provides debt counselling, housing and immigration advice through Toynbee Hall Community Centre. In Australia, the firm concentrates on helping children and young people at risk, and alleviating poverty and improving community welfare. Over 79 per cent of the legal staff in Australia are involved in the pro bono programme. In China, the firm commits resources to public interest projects in the community.
In Australia, the firm is 25 per cent owned and managed by women. The firm launched its Engaging Women programme in 2007 to support the career advancement of women within the firm.
In London, the diversity group generates ideas and implements projects to meet the firm’s objectives in the areas of gender, ethnic background and social inclusion, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability.
King & Wood Mallesons has been making headlines over the past few years with its bold mergers. The first in the world to practise Australian, Chinese, English and Hong Kong Law and the biggest firm headquartered outside of the US or the UK, the firm is positioned to take full advantage of the emerging markets in Asia.
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