KWM Hong Kong partners Kwok and Chan quit to launch boutique

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has been hit by the exit of a pair of heavyweight Hong Kong partners, Larry Kwok and Conrad Chan, who will leave the firm next week with a clutch of associates.

Kwok, who was managing partner for Asia strategy and markets at King & Wood Mallesons, is expected to launch a Hong Kong boutique with Chan. 

Kwok stood down in May 2013 to become a commissioner with the newly-created Hong Kong Competition Commission. 

Last week he was also appointed chairman of Hong Kong’s Police Complaints Commission, which supervises the state’s 28,000-strong police force. The partner will hold the position for two years. 

Kwok joined legacy Mallesons in 2004, after its merger with Hong Kong-based corporate finance boutique Kwok & Yih of which he was co-founder (2 August 2004). He also spent a stint in the role of Mallesons’ managing partner for mainland China and Hong Kong. 

The partner has played a key role in the development of the firm’s Hong Kong office. He is also believed to co-led the firm’s failed year-long merger negotiations with Singaporean firm WongPartnership in 2012/13 along with KWM global managing partner Stuart Fuller (17 May 2013). 

He is leaving the firm alongside fellow former Mallesons corporate partner Conrad Chan, who joined the firm in 2004. He sits on the Takeovers and Mergers Panel, and the Takeovers Appeals Committee of the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (SFC).  He is also a member of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal. 

Kwok’s exit from KWM follows that of fellow Kwok & Yih co-founder Dieter Yih in 2011. Yih left to head up Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy’s local Hong Kong law practice, which is currently thought to be in the process of winding up as part of the firm’s strategy to prioritise international work (10 March 2014).

Another partner from KWM’s Hong Kong office, insurance specialist Stuart Valentine, departed in April to take up a new role as international counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton (16 May 2014). 

King & Wood Mallesons declined to comment.