Hong Kong.
Hong Kong. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ association with Luk & Partners has received official approval from The Law Society of Hong Kong, establishing the combined entity as a registered foreign law firm in Hong Kong.

The firms announced their plans for association in February, after Edwin Luk and Maurice Hoo left Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to form Luk & Partners and become partners of Morgan Lewis. Now the firms can operate as a single entity in Hong Kong, said Morgan Lewis managing partner Steven Wall.

“What that will do is just supercharge the integration efforts that have already been underway,” Wall said.

The association gives Morgan Lewis lawyers a Hong Kong platform to represent Chinese entrepreneurs and private companies in their U.S. investments, and to represent private funds in their China investments.

“With Morgan Lewis’s official association with Luk & Partners, we now have firmly in place an elite team of highly respected lawyers with broad capabilities to serve clients with interests in mainland China, Hong Kong, and throughout the vast, economically critical Asia-Pacific region,” Luk said in a statement.

Luk had been the global head of capital markets at Orrick, and Hoo was the global co-head of private equity. Their group’s move brought 40 lawyers and staff to Morgan Lewis in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, where the firm opened an office last year.

Since then, Morgan Lewis has closed five initial public offerings for Chinese companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Hong Kong lawyers have also collaborated with the firm’s Singapore office on several dual-listings on the Singapore and Hong Kong exchanges. And they handled a number of global private equity fund transactions, as well as matters originating in the United States.

The firm has already hired some associates in Hong Kong to build out the office, Wall said. It also added five lawyers from Simmons & Simmons to its Shanghai and Beijing office, including partner Lesli Ligorner.

In the next month or so, Wall said, Morgan Lewis is expecting to bring on additional partners in Hong Kong.

The firm is planning a second Asia partners meeting in October. The first, which took place in Hong Kong in March, allowed more than 40 partners from the firm’s Asia offices to meet with 25 from the United States.

“People who developed those relationships back in March are now executing on it by visiting clients together, working together,” Wall said. “As much as we can all talk about the importance of collaborating across our offices, there’s nothing better than personal contact about clients and strategy.”