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Kirkland & Ellis is on track to launch its first Asian presence in Hong Kong before the end of the year after securing its local operating licence.
Partners within the firm confirmed that they expected to launch the local presence in November or early December after receiving regulatory approval.
However, the official launch date is being held back as the firm finalises its lease agreement and the appropriate immigration approvals for the three lawyers due to relocate to Hong Kong.
As reported on www.the lawyer.com (24 May), London-based private equity partner David Eich will move to Hong Kong to head the new office. He will be supported by two US-qualified associates.
Four year-PQE associate Tai Hsia, who has close relationships with CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital, is due to relocate from London, while five year-PQE Chuan Li will move across from the firm's Chicago headquarters.
The Hong Kong office will further the firm's global focus on private equity, servicing existing Hong Kong-based clients within the leveraged buyout market. Eich told The Lawyer that Kirkland has been "incubating" its Asian practice out of the firm's existing US and UK offices for two and a half years.
The firm is understood to have been in on-off discussions to make several lateral partner and associate hires over the past 12 months.
Initially Eich, Hsia and Li will be supported by around 10-support staff, including an office manager.