Davis Polk

Davis Polk hires two Hong Kong litigation partners from Clifford Chance

Davis Polk launches an elite global enforcement and litigation practice, and recruits Martin Rogers and James Wadham to join its Hong Kong office.

Davis Polk & Wardwell has hired two new partners in its Hong Kong office, as the US law firm aims to further strengthen its presence within Asia.

The region’s continued economic resilience and robust business activity, despite problems elsewhere in the world, is putting pressure on law firms to beef up their physical presence.

In addition, a raft of new regulations since 2008, as well as US and European anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws, provide plenty of opportunities for litigators and enforcement experts.

Davis Polk’s new partners are Martin Rogers and James Wadham, who both have extensive experience in Asia, and are both qualified to practise English and Hong Kong law.

Rogers will join from the Hong Kong office of Clifford Chance, where he was the Asia-Pacific head of litigation and dispute resolution, and the Asia-Pacific co-head of financial services regulation. He has spent more than 22 years in the region advising and representing clients on complex, high-profile disputes, regulatory enforcement matters and white-collar crime cases.

Wadham has advised leading investment banks on regulatory matters and developed a reputation for complex litigation, including cross-border disputes, shareholder and investment disputes and professional negligence defence work. He practised for more than 10 years with Clifford Chance in Hong Kong.

“We are now uniquely positioned to provide counsel across an even broader platform — [that includes] capital markets, M&A, direct investment, corporate governance, risk management, internal investigations, regulatory enforcement, litigation and white-collar crime defence work: we now have a complete team of lawyers able to deliver all of these services in our client-focused, collaborative way,” said Thomas Reid, Davis Polk’s managing partner, in a statement last week.

The hires from Clifford Chance are “a major step forward” in providing clients with a global enforcement capability. Davis Polk has consistently been ranked as a leader in the US for trial work, regulatory enforcement, white-collar crime and internal investigations. The firm will now have an equivalent, market-leading litigation practice in Hong Kong and Asia, said the statement.

“Our clients will rapidly appreciate the importance of this development in our capabilities,” said Bonnie Chan, a partner in Davis Polk’s Hong Kong office and formerly head of the IPO transactions department at Hong Kong’s stock exchange.

“Earlier this year, the leading 23 investment banks reached out to Martin [Rogers] and me to ask us to co-counsel them as a group in responding to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s important consultation paper on sponsor regulation. We will collaborate closely as partners on Davis Polk’s elite platform.”

The Wall Street firm opened its Hong Kong office in 1993 and it has become its largest non-US office. Davis Polk has existed for more than 160 years and (including its associated entities) has more than 800 lawyers in offices in New York, Menlo Park, Washington DC, Sao Paulo, London, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo.

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