US firm Orrick has taken on a former Davis Polk & Wardwell partner in Hong Kong – the first lateral hire following the exit of the bulk of its Asian office in January.

Mark Lehmkuhler has joined Orrick as a partner in the firm’s M&A and private equity group in Hong Kong.

He previously spent 20 years with Davis Polk and was made up in Hong Kong in 2008. He left the Wall Street firm in March 2015.

“Mark is a terrific addition to our Asia team, and in particular our China corporate practice as we focus on serving Chinese state-owned enterprises and private companies in their outbound investment activities,” said Xiang Wang, Orrick’s Asia managing partner.

Lehmkuhler focuses on M&A, private equity transactions, debt restructurings and other complex cross-border transactions, with particular experience in technology, energy & infrastructure.

It is Orrick’s first partner hire in Hong Kong since January 2017, when the bulk of its Hong Kong team left to launch the Hong Kong office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

The nine-partner team was headed by capital markets partner Edwin Luk and private equity partner Maurice Hoo.

In March this year, The Lawyer reported that Davis Polk appeared to have tweaked its Hong Kong capital markets offerings, which resulted in several associates and star partner Antony Dapiran departing the firm.

Orrick will have four partners in Hong Kong when Lehmkuhler joins.