Pricewaterhouse Coopers

The Hong Kong legal practice of Big Four accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has been on a hiring spree this year, recruiting four partners with international law firm experience in the past few months.

Trade lawyer William Marshall, who previously was the head of Baker McKenzie’s China trade and supply chain practice group, has joined Tiang & Co., together with former Minter Ellison projects partner Rebecca Silli and former Jones Day structured finance partner Michelle Taylor. The trio join fellow new recruit Martin Robertson, a longtime Mayer Brown JSM M&A partner.

Marshall, who was most recently principal of his firm William Marshall & Co., which he launched in March, has experience at another Big Four auditor, as he was the former head of Deloitte’s Asia Pacific global trade practice. He joins Tiang & Co. just as a trade war between the world’s two largest economies—the United States and China—has been escalating to new levels. On June 15, U.S. President Donald Trump approved tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports.

The Tiang & Co. trade partner says the increased tariffs on China imports will be a major issue for the firm’s clients and will keep the firm busy. ”It’s unclear what proportion of our work will be devoured by this,” he said,  adding that “escalating trade tensions will continue to impact our clients and will continue to be an area in which they seek our advice without doubt.”

Silli joined Minter Ellison in 2014. Before that, she was with the French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel for 15 years, seven as a partner, and served as the managing partner of the Hong Kong office. Silli is also the president of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hong Kong.

Taylor joined Jones Day in 2013, having come from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which she joined in 2006. In 2003, she joined Paul Hastings, where she made partner.

With the addition of four partners, as well as foreign registered lawyer Martyn Huckerby, a former King & Wood Mallesons international partner in Shanghai who also recently joined, Tiang & Co.—PwC’s associated law firm—has quickly grown to about 16 lawyers.

The firm was launched at the beginning of last year by David Tiang, formerly a Beijing-based partner with King & Wood Mallesons, and two former O’Melveny & Myers lawyers—capital markets partner Gigi Woo and counsel Joyce Tung. It is associated with the accounting firm’s Singaporean law practice, PwC Legal International, and cooperates with PwC China member firms Beijing Rui Bai Law Firm and Shanghai Xin Bai Law Firm.

The other Big Four auditor with a Hong Kong legal practice, EY, also recently expanded, hiring four lawyers from Troutman Sanders, which recently closed its office in Hong Kong. EY is also looking to grow. Rossana Chu, co-managing partner of EY member firm LC Lawyer, told The Asian Lawyer that she planned to expand the Hong Kong office head count to 30 people by the end of 2019.