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Morgan, Lewis & Bockius is opening an office in Hong Kong after recruiting nine partners from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

The new group, led by Orrick’s global head of capital markets Edwin Luk and global co-head of private equity Maurice Hoo, has resigned from the firm to form Hong Kong’s Luk and Partners. Morgan Lewis will then enter into an association with the new local firm. All the former Orrick partners will become partners at Morgan Lewis.

Seven of the nine partners will be based in Hong Kong while the other two will join Morgan Lewis’ offices in mainland China. Hoo said all the lawyers will work as one team despite their physical locations. “Rarely is a project carried out in only one office,” he said.

A start date for the Orrick team is still being worked out. Hoo said once the move is complete, the entire team will include 40 lawyers and other legal staff.

Luk, alongside partners Billy Wong, Keith Cheung, June Chan and Louise Liu, focuses on Hong Kong listings and related M&A deals. In 2015, Luk and Cheung represented China-based Bank of Jinzhou Co. Ltd. on a $794 million initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the same year, the duo also advised Chinese brokerage Guolian Securities Co. Ltd. on a $454 million Hong Kong listing.

Orrick hired Luk in Hong Kong in 2006 as its first lateral hire since launching the office a year earlier with a group of former Coudert Brothers lawyers. He practiced with O’Melveny & Myers as senior counsel before that. The rest of the capital markets partners were promoted at Orrick: Wong in 2010, Cheung in 2014 and Chan and Liu in 2015. (Liu, a registered foreign lawyer at Orrick, will be a partner at Morgan Lewis.)

In addition to Hong Kong listings, the new group will handle M&A matters, with an emphasis on private equity-related deals. Hoo and partner Connie Cheung will lead that practice. In 2015, both acted for Chinese online retailer JD.com on a $1.5 billion joint investment into online car marketplace operator Biauto with technology company Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Hoo joined Orrick’s Hong Kong office in 2010 from Paul Hastings, where he led the China private equity practice. He spent five years at Paul Hastings, coming to the firm in 2005 from Perkins Coie. Cheung made partner at Orrick in 2015.

Morgan Lewis’ office in Hong Kong will become the firm’s 30th location around the globe. In addition to the Hong Kong launch, the firm will also expand its offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Orrick corporate partner Ning Zhang in Beijing will join Morgan Lewis’ office in the Chinese capital, while Shanghai-based U.S. securities partner Mathew Lewis will move to the Philadelphia-based Am Law 100 firm’s five-month-old office in Shanghai. Zhang, a former counsel at O’Melveny & Myers, joined Orrick in 2015, while Lewis arrived in 2012 from Morgan Stanley.

Despite the group’s specialty in corporate work, Hoo said they were drawn to Morgan Lewis’ global platform and ability to facilitate clients’ full range of legal needs around the world.

“Our clients want us to be their company counsel; that means not only do they need us to do IPOs and large M&As, they also want us for specific regulatory questions relating to tax, real estate, data privacy or [U.S. investments reviewed for national security implications by the Committee of Foreign Investments in the U.S.],” Hoo said. “We want to be our clients’ counsel, not a hired gun for one project.”

Morgan Lewis chair Jami Wintz McKeon said the firm’s Hong Kong opening with Luk and Hoo’s team continues its strategy to launch Asian offices with experienced local lawyers.

“This really furthers and completes our footprint in Asia,” she said. “It is a significant extension of our mainland China with well-established individuals.”

Hoo said his group was also impressed by Morgan Lewis’ rapid Asia expansion over the last couple of years. In 2015, less than four months after absorbing 750 lawyers from now-defunct Bingham McCutchen, Morgan Lewis merged with then 80-lawyer Stamford Law Corp. in Singapore, gaining full local law capacity. In 2016, it launched a second mainland China office in Shanghai with a five-partner team from Dentons.

“We want to be part of that great expansion,” added Hoo. “Partners here,” he said referring to the team moving from Orrick, “are builders. We want to build something together with a similarly minded firm.”

Thanks to the additions from the Bingham McCutchen deal, the ex-Dentons hires and the new group from Orrick, in a little over two years’ time, Morgan Lewis’ China presence has grown from a small Beijing office to about 70 lawyers in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

McKeon said the firm is making an intentional effort to fully integrate these offices into the firm and is confident that it will be successful. She said Morgan Lewis has several regular programs in place for lawyers at different levels to visit other offices and meet, train and work with other lawyers.

“Partners on the Hong Kong team have already met at last 15 of our partners around the firm and found common interest,” she said.

The next step, added McKeon, will be to focus on growing the offices the firm already has.

“We are in a good place in terms of geographical spread,” she said, referring to Morgan Lewis’ offices in Singapore and Tokyo, where the firm took on a 16-person team from Bingham McCutchen. “Our goal to build on what we have into a world-class, highly-integrated global platform.”

The departures will leave Orrick’s Hong Kong office with only two partners: litigator Charles Allen, who joined the firm last August from Sidley Austin, and M&A specialists David Halperin and Sook Young Yeu, both members of the former Coudert Brothers team that launched the office in 2005.

Orrick, which recently promoted 18 lawyers to partner, said in a statement that it has the “highest regard” for its departing partners and wished “them the greatest success” at Morgan Lewis.

Copyright The Asian Lawyer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius is opening an office in Hong Kong after recruiting nine partners from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe .

The new group, led by Orrick’s global head of capital markets Edwin Luk and global co-head of private equity Maurice Hoo, has resigned from the firm to form Hong Kong’s Luk and Partners. Morgan Lewis will then enter into an association with the new local firm. All the former Orrick partners will become partners at Morgan Lewis.

Seven of the nine partners will be based in Hong Kong while the other two will join Morgan Lewis ’ offices in mainland China. Hoo said all the lawyers will work as one team despite their physical locations. “Rarely is a project carried out in only one office,” he said.

A start date for the Orrick team is still being worked out. Hoo said once the move is complete, the entire team will include 40 lawyers and other legal staff.

Luk, alongside partners Billy Wong, Keith Cheung, June Chan and Louise Liu, focuses on Hong Kong listings and related M&A deals. In 2015, Luk and Cheung represented China-based Bank of Jinzhou Co. Ltd. on a $794 million initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the same year, the duo also advised Chinese brokerage Guolian Securities Co. Ltd. on a $454 million Hong Kong listing.

Orrick hired Luk in Hong Kong in 2006 as its first lateral hire since launching the office a year earlier with a group of former Coudert Brothers lawyers. He practiced with O’Melveny & Myers as senior counsel before that. The rest of the capital markets partners were promoted at Orrick: Wong in 2010, Cheung in 2014 and Chan and Liu in 2015. (Liu, a registered foreign lawyer at Orrick, will be a partner at Morgan Lewis. )

In addition to Hong Kong listings, the new group will handle M&A matters, with an emphasis on private equity-related deals. Hoo and partner Connie Cheung will lead that practice. In 2015, both acted for Chinese online retailer JD.com on a $1.5 billion joint investment into online car marketplace operator Biauto with technology company Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Hoo joined Orrick’s Hong Kong office in 2010 from Paul Hastings , where he led the China private equity practice. He spent five years at Paul Hastings , coming to the firm in 2005 from Perkins Coie . Cheung made partner at Orrick in 2015.

Morgan Lewis ’ office in Hong Kong will become the firm’s 30th location around the globe. In addition to the Hong Kong launch, the firm will also expand its offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Orrick corporate partner Ning Zhang in Beijing will join Morgan Lewis ’ office in the Chinese capital, while Shanghai-based U.S. securities partner Mathew Lewis will move to the Philadelphia-based Am Law 100 firm’s five-month-old office in Shanghai. Zhang, a former counsel at O’Melveny & Myers , joined Orrick in 2015, while Lewis arrived in 2012 from Morgan Stanley .

Despite the group’s specialty in corporate work, Hoo said they were drawn to Morgan Lewis ’ global platform and ability to facilitate clients’ full range of legal needs around the world.

“Our clients want us to be their company counsel; that means not only do they need us to do IPOs and large M&As, they also want us for specific regulatory questions relating to tax, real estate, data privacy or [U.S. investments reviewed for national security implications by the Committee of Foreign Investments in the U.S.],” Hoo said. “We want to be our clients’ counsel, not a hired gun for one project.”

Morgan Lewis chair Jami Wintz McKeon said the firm’s Hong Kong opening with Luk and Hoo’s team continues its strategy to launch Asian offices with experienced local lawyers.

“This really furthers and completes our footprint in Asia,” she said. “It is a significant extension of our mainland China with well-established individuals.”

Hoo said his group was also impressed by Morgan Lewis ’ rapid Asia expansion over the last couple of years. In 2015, less than four months after absorbing 750 lawyers from now-defunct Bingham McCutchen , Morgan Lewis merged with then 80-lawyer Stamford Law Corp. in Singapore, gaining full local law capacity. In 2016, it launched a second mainland China office in Shanghai with a five-partner team from Dentons .

“We want to be part of that great expansion,” added Hoo. “Partners here,” he said referring to the team moving from Orrick, “are builders. We want to build something together with a similarly minded firm.”

Thanks to the additions from the Bingham McCutchen deal, the ex-Dentons hires and the new group from Orrick, in a little over two years’ time, Morgan Lewis ’ China presence has grown from a small Beijing office to about 70 lawyers in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

McKeon said the firm is making an intentional effort to fully integrate these offices into the firm and is confident that it will be successful. She said Morgan Lewis has several regular programs in place for lawyers at different levels to visit other offices and meet, train and work with other lawyers.

“Partners on the Hong Kong team have already met at last 15 of our partners around the firm and found common interest,” she said.

The next step, added McKeon, will be to focus on growing the offices the firm already has.

“We are in a good place in terms of geographical spread,” she said, referring to Morgan Lewis ’ offices in Singapore and Tokyo, where the firm took on a 16-person team from Bingham McCutchen . “Our goal to build on what we have into a world-class, highly-integrated global platform.”

The departures will leave Orrick’s Hong Kong office with only two partners: litigator Charles Allen, who joined the firm last August from Sidley Austin , and M&A specialists David Halperin and Sook Young Yeu, both members of the former Coudert Brothers team that launched the office in 2005.

Orrick, which recently promoted 18 lawyers to partner, said in a statement that it has the “highest regard” for its departing partners and wished “them the greatest success” at Morgan Lewis.

Copyright The Asian Lawyer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.