MinterEllison Hong Kong more than doubles its Partner numbers to meet rising market demand

4 mins  17.12.2018

Leader builds on spheres of influence with lateral hires

Adds disputes (including international arbitration), regulatory, and IP bandwidth in Hong Kong, delivering expertise, extending Asian footprint.

Sought-after independent services and Australian DNA resonate with fast-growing Asian market.


International law firm MinterEllison today reinforced its position as a leader in the Asian region with the announcement of its expansion early in the New Year when it will add 10 new Partners as part of a total of 42 new staff to its Hong Kong office.

The additions to the Hong Kong office partnership means the firm will more than double its Partner numbers and considerably extend its services offering in the fast-growing Asian market where Australian and international expertise are in demand.

Annette Kimmitt, MinterEllison’s Chief Executive Officer, confirmed that a team of 10 lateral hire Partners would be joining the firm’s Hong Kong team from US heavy weight firm Reed Smith LLP. She said the Reed Smith hires would add considerable bandwidth to MinterEllison’s existing offer across the region.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the new Partners and their staff from Reed Smith in the New Year,” said Ms Kimmitt. “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 represent a team of 42 people in total."

Ms Kimmitt said that in an increasingly complex geo-political environment characterised by ‘trade wars’ there was strong demand for the advice of an independent Australian law firm in the Hong Kong and China markets.

“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 geo-political 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's Chairman and Managing Partner of the firm’s offices in Asia, who has been consistently rated as one of Asia’s leading corporate advisers, said he was delighted with the addition of such significant expertise from a global leader.

“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,” said Mr Kinmonth. “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.”

He said the firm’s aim was to help clients manage and minimise disputes – effectively reducing potential conflicts - and operate successfully in a location that is essentially the key “gateway” between China and rest of the world.

“In the Hong Kong marketplace, MinterEllison’s reputation as an independent and very well-credentialed Australian firm is highly valued by clients,” Mr Kinmonth said.

David Morrison, one of the Reed Smith Partners who will join MinterEllison in January 2019 said that the Hong Kong financial market had been on a remarkable journey over the past several 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.”

Mr Morrison, who has practiced in the Hong Kong market since 1984, said the need for experienced practitioners who had the experience and market knowledge to advise on corporate, regulatory and securities litigation and related public and constitutional law issues often in cross border settings had never been in higher demand. He said he and his fellow Partners and staff were delighted to be joining a leading firm like MinterEllison.

New Partners joining MinterEllison Hong Kong - January 2019

William Barber

Steven Birt

Nathan Dentice

Jonathan Green

David Harrington

Alex Kaung

Desmond Liaw

David Morrison

Eddy So

Desmond Yu


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