Hong Kong

Elaine Lo, a former senior partner at Mayer Brown JSM in Hong Kong, has left the global legal giant to join a local law firm.

Lo has joined former partner Derek Tsang, who left Mayer Brown JSM and launched his own firm in April, according to official records. Lo is a consultant with the Derek Tsang Law Office.

Lo had been a lifer with legacy firm Johnson Stokes & Master, having joined the prominent Hong Kong-based outfit in 1979. A specialist in China-related deals, Lo made partner in 1986, and the next year set up JSM’s first overseas office in Beijing. In 2007, Lo was elected senior partner at JSM, the first woman to do so in the firm’s 150-year history.

Also in 2007, Lo led the negotiations for the 260-lawyer JSM to merge with Mayer Brown. Following that combination in 2008, she became head of the Asia board for the combined Mayer Brown JSM and joined the U.S. firm’s management committee.

Lo stepped down as Mayer Brown JSM’s senior partner in 2016, but remained as a partner and head of its China practice until retiring from the partnership this past June. Terence Tung, a disputes partner who succeeded Lo as senior partner in 2016, will also take over as the head of Mayer Brown JSM’s China practice.

Tsang specializes in corporate and securities transactions. In addition to Lo, former Mayer Brown JSM intellectual property partner Alan Chiu is also a consultant at Tsang’s firm. Tsang declined to comment about Lo’s move, while Lo herself could not be reached by the time of this story to discuss the matter.

Earlier this month, Mayer Brown JSM announced that it would end a three-year-old association with Chinese firm Jingtian & Gongcheng in Hong Kong by the end of August. Jingtian will launch its own Hong Kong law practice.

In June, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers’ affiliated Hong Kong law practice, Tiang & Co., hired longtime Mayer Brown JSM corporate partner Martin Robertson to expand its operations in the city. In May, British firm Bird & Bird brought on former Mayer Brown JSM corporate partner James Fong in Hong Kong.

With about 200 lawyers, Mayer Brown JSM has one of the largest Hong Kong offices among leading U.S. law firms.