Freshfields hires HK dispute resolution partner from Herbies

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has lured Herbert Smith Freehills partner Tim Mak to its Asia dispute resolution practice in Hong Kong.

Mak is an experienced financial services regulatory lawyer in Hong Kong. He has advised banks and other financial institutions in both contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters. His practice has a particular focus on regulatory investigations and related proceedings.

Mak has practised in Hong Kong for 15 years, with two years spent at the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) as an in-house counsel. He started his legal career with legacy Herbert Smith in 1995 and was made up in 2007. He is admitted to practice in Hong Kong and the UK.

“The regulatory environment in which global financial institutions operate has become more and more challenging over recent years and our clients require access to outstanding advice and support on both contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters in all the key global financial centres,” said Freshfields Asia managing partner Robert Ashworth in a statement.

Mak’s appointment is the most recent move taken by Freshfields in the last 12 months to build up its dispute resolution capability in Asia. Previously, the firm moved two of its global practice heads to Asia, Lucy Reed and Geoff Nicolas (21 February 2012), and promoted Georgia Dawson and John Choong to partners in its dispute resolution practice group.

It is widely understood that the SFC, led by former Herbert Smith Asia managing partner Ashley Alder, has taken a more aggressive approach on enforcement since Mak took over as chief executive of the regulatory body in 2011. Several other international firms have also blostered their litgiation capability in Hong Kong. Davis Polk, for example, hired two litigation heavyweights from Clifford Chance’s Hong Kong office to launch its Asia dispute resolution practice at the end of last year (13 December 2012).