Over a six-month period, Milbank raided its Magic Circle rivals for five new partners in Hong Kong. The first of the quintet was Alex Tao, a capital markets partner at Allen & Overy who joined in June of last year. Then in January, John Bona and Davide Mencacci, from Linklaters, and Neeraj Budhwani and Andrew Whan, from Clifford Chance—all private equity and leveraged finance experts—defected to the New York-based firm.

At a time when some global firms appear to have put hiring in Hong Kong on hold, Milbank is growing. The firm’s expansion in the city is part of an Asia strategy revamp that began seven years ago—a strategy that appears to be paying off. In recent years, more and more international firms have downsized and retreated from Hong Kong, largely due to the notoriously hyper-competitive market—particularly for China-related deals. But thanks to its unusual strategy, Milbank’s Hong Kong office, which focuses on the wider Asia region, is thriving.

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