Debevoise scores HSF Asia managing partner Johnson for Hong Kong

Debevoise & Plimpton has hired Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) litigation partner and Asia head Mark Johnson, a leading force in the Freehills merger, to its Hong Kong office.

Johnson will join Debevoise as a litigation partner after 20 years at HSF.

He was most recently Asia managing partner and was in charge of overseeing the opening of disputes practices in Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai and Toyko.

Johnson was also a driving force behind Herbert Smith’s 2012 merger with Australia’s Freehills (28 June 2012).

Debevoise’s chair of European and Asian litigation Lord Goldsmith QC said that Johnson’s addition to the team would add weight to the firm’s global white collar and regulatory defence practice around the world.

Debevoise has three partners and five international counsel in Hong Kong, with a total of over 20 lawyers in the office.

After Johnson’s departure, HSF’s disputes team in Hong Kong is down to 10 partners and four senior consultants.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ joint CEO, Sonya Leydecker, said on Johnson: “He leaves behind a strong legacy, namely a regional practice which is second to none. We wish him every success in the future.”