Davis Polk & Wardwell has poached another rising star from the Magic Circle to join its burgeoning Hong Kong law practice. The New York-based firm announced Monday that Paul Chow, Beijing office head for Linklaters, will be joining its Hong Kong office next May.
The firm generally has been regarded as conservative when it comes to recruiting lateral partners. But Davis Polk has moved aggressively to assemble a Hong Kong law group in recent months. The firm, which previously practiced solely U.S. law in Asia, announced it was launching a Hong Kong practice in August. At that time, Davis Polk recruited two partners for the Hong Kong practice — Antony Dapiran, formerly the Beijing managing partner for Freshfields, and Bonnie Y. T. Chan, who had been the head of initial public offerings for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In recent years, Hong Kong has been a top destination for IPOs, especially of large Chinese state-owned enterprises. Davis Polk this year represented one such SOE, Agricultural Bank of China, in one of the biggest IPOs ever, raising over $22 billion. U.S. firms still play a major role in such listings because global investors typically insist that the biggest deals meet Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure requirements. But many firms are establishing Hong Kong law practices as a hedge against the future.
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