Llinks Law Offices, one of China’s most profitable firms, has changed its Hong Kong associate firm, entering a new association with Dennis Fong & Co.
The five-lawyer Dennis Fong split off from Llinks’ previous associate firm, Vivien Teu & Co. Llinks and Vivien Teu & Co formed an association in April 2015 when the Shanghai-based firm opened in Hong Kong.
Name partner Dennis Fong focuses on initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate finance and commercial matters. Before joining Vivien Teu as a partner in 2016, Fong was a partner at local firm Loong & Yeung. He previously did stints as a consultant at Loeb & Loeb and Eversheds Sutherland, and also practiced at Stephenson Harwood, Reed Smith and local firm Li & Partners.
Llinks managing partner David Yu said the firm will continue to focus on four areas in Hong Kong: asset management, equity capital markets, corporate and mergers and acquisitions, and dispute resolution.
With the departure of the five lawyers who formed Dennis Fong, Vivien Teu is left with two lawyers: sole partner Vivien Teu and associate Christina Suen. Earlier this month, the firm recruited Kenneth Yim as a tax consultant from professional services provider Equiom. And the firm, which had 14 associates as recently as April, lost most of its lawyers in recent months to such firms as DLA Piper, Goodwin Procter, and Sidley Austin. Former consultant Freda Lim left the firm to be a partner at boutique Hugill & Ip.
“On our side, we are re-focusing our practice in order to continue providing high-quality legal service in the areas of asset management, financial services, regulatory, corporate and trusts areas,” Teu said.
Before starting her firm in early 2015, Teu led the Greater China legal team for Atlanta-based asset management firm Invesco Ltd. She also did stints at Clifford Chance in Shanghai, and local firm Deacons and offshore firm Conyers Dill & Pearman in Hong Kong. She started her career in Singapore with local firms KhattarWong and Drew & Napier.
Teu’s specialty in investment funds and financial regulations was a fit for Llinks when it opened in Hong Kong. The Shanghai-based firm also has a strong asset management practice and wanted to add Hong Kong law services to existing Chinese financial institution clients.
Dennis Fong & Co. senior associate Simon Cheng advises on asset management matters. Yu said Llinks is on the lookout for partner hires in the practice.
Other Chinese firms have also switched their Hong Kong associations. In August, Jingtian & Gongcheng switched its three-year Hong Kong association from Mayer Brown to a firm launched by former Mayer Brown senior partner Elaine Lo; the firms expect to fully merge in early 2019. And in 2016, Han Kun Law Offices changed its Hong Kong association from Choy, Cheung & Co to Miao & Co after just 13 months.
With 95 lawyers, Llinks reported $46.9 million in gross revenue in 2017; the firm, which had 23 equity partners last year, had $923,000 in profit per equity partner, making it one of the most profitable domestic firms in China.
Last year, Llinks opened a fourth office in London, after Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. In April of this year, it recruited former Clyde & Co Beijing managing partner Patrick Zheng as head of dispute resolution.