Simpson Thacher raids Linklaters, Freshfields to launch Hong Kong law practice

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is set to launch a Hong Kong law practice later this year with a particular emphasis on capital markets and M&A.

The new Hong Kong offering will be led by prominent lateral hires Celia Lam, who joins as a partner from Linklaters’ Hong Kong office, and Christopher Wong, who joins as a partner from Freshfields’ Hong Kong branch.

Simpson Thacher expects the new team to build on the firm’s established Chinese practice and offer broader capabilities to clients, particularly focusing on capital markets and M&A transactions.

Once the US firm has completed necessary regulatory measures for the launch of the Hong Kong law practice, Lam and Wong will work closely with Leiming Chen, head of the firm’s China practice, as well as with more than 45 other lawyers currently based in Hong Kong and Beijing.

In a statement, Chen said: “Launching a Hong Kong law practice demonstrates the firm’s strong commitment to the region, and the addition of Celia and Chris are integral to this move.

“Having worked with each of them on numerous transactions in the China market, we have come to respect their great skill and depth of experience. Their high degree of professionalism and dedication to their clients make them a great fit for Simpson Thacher.”

Celia Lam brings 18 years’ experience in representing leading Chinese corporations and sovereign entities and their advisors in corporate finance and general corporate matters. She has advised clients on a wide range of corporate transactions including securities offerings, foreign direct investments in China and outbound M&A.

Christopher Wong specialises in corporate finance with an emphasis on matters involving Chinese enterprises including M&A, private equity and securities offerings. He has been a partner at Freshfields since 2005 and has been resident in its Beijingm Hong Kong and London offices.

Simpson Thacher’s executive committee chairman Pete Ruegger said: “Celia and Chris are preeminent corporate lawyers in the Greater China market. We are delighted that they will join us as we expand our China practice to include the offering of Hong Kong law.”

Simpson Thacher has had an office in Hong Kong since 1993.