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Revolving doors: HSF appoints Singapore head, while Kirkland and Hogan swap partners in Hong Kong

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) announced its management successor in Singapore, while Kirkland and Ellis, and Hogan Lovells made partner exchanges in Hong Kong. 

In Asia, HSF announced that from October Singapore-based partner Alastair Henderson would take on the role of South East Asia managing partner after incumbent Michael Walter announced his decision to retire at the end of July 2015. Until then, Walter will continue with client work and contribute to South East Asian projects including practice management.

Walter joined legacy Herbert Smith in 2005 and was its global corporate head for five years. He relocated to Singapore in 2012 when he was appointed as the firm’s south east Asia managing partner, where he strengthened the firm’s presence, particularly in corporate and M&A, in the region.

Asia managing partner Mark Johnson said: ‘Alastair is a true expert in the region having spent more than two decades in Asia. He also leads the firm’s highly successful international arbitration practice in the region and will work closely with myself and other Asia Pacific regional and practice leaders to keep Herbert Smith Freehills as the leading practice in the region.’

Also in Asia, top ten global firm Kirkland & Ellis added Hogan Lovells’ restructuring partner Damien Coles to its global restructuring practice in Hong Kong. Coles joined fellow head of Hogan Lovells business restructuring and insolvency practice, Neil McDonald, who joined Kirkland within the same week.

Coles experience includes advising on cross-border transactions involving Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. He has previously advised creditor groups in relation to the restructurings of Arpeni Pratama Ocean Line, Blue Ocean Resources, Berlian Laju Tanker and Bumi Resources. His clients include credit and private equity funds, banks, insolvency practitioners and turnaround professionals.

‘Damien has established a reputation as one of the region’s rising stars in restructuring,’ said Jeffrey Hammes, chairman of Kirkland’s global management executive committee. ‘We are delighted to add Neil’s and Damien’s outstanding experience, capabilities and energy to our premier restructuring platform and top-tier Hong Kong team.’

Within the same week however, Hogan Lovells added Kirkland’s corporate partner Steven Tran to its Hong Kong corporate practice. Tran specialises in private equity and M&A in both local transactions as well as complex multi-jurisdictional cross-border deals across the Asia-Pacific region. His client base consists of private equity houses, funds and corporates.

Tran said: ‘Hogan Lovells provides an exceptional, high-quality global platform ideal for executing sophisticated cross-border transactions. This combined with the firm’s commitment to the Asia region makes it an exciting time to join the team and help to expand the private equity and M&A practice in the region.’

In London meanwhile, Addleshaw Goddard strengthened its financial litigation team with Richard Clayton who has joined as a partner from TLT. Clayton has been at TLT for the last four years, where he specialised in finance litigation and contentious regulatory work. He was also seconded to Barclay’s Bank’s Group litigation team earlier this year, and completed a seven month secondment with the litigation team at Barclays Investment Banking Division in 2010 and 2011.

He has experience of advising banks, funds, investment managers and financial institutions on investment products and structures, including derivatives and structured finance, securitisations, bonds, mandate and prospectus issues, and regulatory investigations and enforcement action.

Addleshaw Goddard litigation divisional managing partner, Michael Barnett, said: ‘This is a key appointment for us as we seek to consolidate and continue to strengthen our offering in the finance litigation and contentious regulatory work arena in the City. He has great connections with our bank panel relationships but he will also seek to create new opportunities for us, adding new work streams as well as referral relationships.’