Goodwin Procter has recruited two former Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson private equity partners in Hong Kong, including former Fried Frank Asia chief Douglas Freeman.
Freeman and fellow partner Victor Chen are making the move together after two-and-a-half years at Paul Hastings. They joined the firm from Fried Frank in April 2015, on the eve of the closure of the firm’s offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Both had arrived at Fried Frank in 2011 from O’Melveny & Myers, where they had relocated to Hong Kong from the United States.
Freeman became an O’Melveny partner in 2002 through the merger of the Los Angeles-based firm and his old firm—New York-based private equity specialist O’Sullivan. At Goodwin, Freeman reunites with former O’Sullivan partner Ilan Nissan, who is now a senior partner at Goodwin’s private equity practice.
Both Freeman and Chen advise on mergers and acquisitions and take-private transactions involving private equity firms. In 2015, the duo represented Chinese private equity firms China Media Capital and FountainVest Partners on the sale of their shares in IMAX China Holding Inc. via an initial public offering in Hong Kong. The same year, Freeman was also part of the Paul Hastings team advising Singaporean sovereign investor Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. on its purchase of a stake in Korean retailer Homeplus.
Hong Kong is Goodwin’s only office in Asia, where the firm primarily covers two markets: China and India. The private equity practice in Hong Kong is a vital part of the firm’s international offering and covers the entire life cycle of clients’ investments—from fund formation to investments and exits, according to office head Yash Rana.
“Doug and Victor … are joining our platform at a time when we are seeing increasing client demand for local, cross-border, in- and out-bound support on Asia transactions as well as interest from investors seeking more specialized sector experience,” Rana said.
This past summer, Goodwin launched a summer associate program targeting Chinese-speaking law students in the United States. The goal was to create a pipeline of associates who will eventually join the firm’s Hong Kong office.
Goodwin now has 14 lawyers in Hong Kong, including five partners.