Latham & Watkins poaches seven A&O Hong Kong partners" />Allen & Overy (A&O) has lost a quarter of its Hong Kong office partners as seven corporate partners including its regional corporate head have defected to Latham & Watkins.
The seven partners make up the majority of A&O's corporate presence in Hong Kong and A&O fears that several associates may join the partners.
A&O managing partner Wim DeJonghe, who was in Hong Kong in crisis talks with staff and clients, said: "It's been a flat market in the last year so people have had time to think... Of course it's a blow, no one's going to deny that. But in a sense the timing is good. In a sense if corporate had been flat out, it would have been quite difficult to keep that work in-house."
The following Hong Kong corporate partners informed A&O on Wednesday that they would be joining Latham: regional corporate head Micheal Liu, Jane Ng, Simon Berry, Stan Chow, William Woo, Kenneth Chan and Cathy Yeung.
DeJonghe added: "I'd be very surprised if there's no associates following them. But we have about 100 corporate lawyers in the region so I'm not worried."