Winston & Strawn hires DLA Piper Asia corporate head in Hong Kong

Winston & Strawn has hired a team of four corporate lawyers from DLA Piper’s Hong Kong office led by Asia corporate head Mabel Lui.

Lui will become a partner in Winston & Strawn’s corporate department in Hong Kong. Lui was a veteran in DLA Piper’s Hong Kong office, who had been a partner at the firm since 1999 when legacy Dibb Lupton Alsop merged with Lui & Carey Dibbs, a firm that Lui founded (25 October 1999).

She has extensive experience in China related matters. In addition to corporate and transactional work, she also advises on real estate and private client work.

She will be joined at Winston & Strawn by local partner Daniel Tang, of counsel Polly Chu and associate Natalie Tsang, who all worked with her at DLA Piper’s Hong Kong office.

The team’s practice focuses on cross-border M&A transactions, and general commercial and corporate matters.

“The addition of this group is in line with our growth strategy for specific practice areas in Asia and significantly expands our capabilities within the corporate practice globally,” said David Hall-Jones, Winston & Strawn’s Asia managing partner.

Winston & Strawn has been expanding in Asia. Earlier this year, it launched a Taipei office following the hire of a four-partner team from rival Washington DC firm Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner in August 2013 (6 January 2014). However, last year it lost its Beijing chief Jem Li to Minter Ellison and has since left the office partnerless (28 November 2013).

DLA Piper, meanwhile, has been undergoing major strategic changes in Asia. At the end of last year, it unveiled a major overhaul of its management structure in Asia in a bid to increase the integration between the Asia offices and its US partnership (18 December 2013).

The firm has installed a newly created Asia advisory committee, consisting of global co-chief executive officer Terry O’Malley and Americas co-chair Jay Rains, both based in San Diego, and Australia managing partner Andrew Darwin.

The new US-led committee took over the leadership responsibility from Asia Pacific managing director Bob Charlton, who stepped down from the partnership to take up a consulting role as a special supervisor to the Asia committee.

Since the new management team took effect, DLA Piper has made a number of hires. But apart from investing in and growing certain practices, there is market speculation that it will axe certain practices that are mostly domestic focused in Hong Kong.

In response, O’Malley told The Lawyer in February: “The firm is clear in articulating its vision and goals. That allows people in the firm to make good decision on whether it’s the right place for them. We will continue to have changes in personnel over the time, but we will end up growing and more successful.”

Click here to read The Lawyer’s full interview with O’Malley regarding DLA Piper’s new Asia strategy in February 2014.

DLA Piper declined to comment on Lui and her team’s depature and is in the process of annoucing the new head of corporate for Asia, who is understood to be based in Hong Kong.