US law firm Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker has hired Steve Winegar, a former Goldman Sachs managing director, as a partner in its Hong Kong office. Winegar worked at Goldman for 12 years, originally in New York, and since 2005 led the legal coverage team for investment banking, capital markets and principal investment in Asia ex-Japan.
In other words, Winegar has spent the past five years knee-deep in some of the region’s most exciting and important deals, from landmark debt and equity capital markets transactions, to financings and exits for the canniest private equity players, to cross-border mergers and acquisitions in and out of the region, as well as within it.
“Steve is an exceptional talent and a highly regarded US lawyer who brings with him a wealth of experience and contacts with many of the major global investment banks and private equity firms,” said Neil Torpey, the firm’s managing partner in Hong Kong.
Leveraged financings are thin on the ground right now, but Winegar will be kept busy with capital markets work – Paul Hastings has been in Hong Kong since 2002 and has an established capital markets practice that advised on deals totalling more than $5 billion in 2009, including IPOs, top-up placements, rights issues and bond offers. The firm’s private equity practice advised on the first successful formation and closing of a renminbi-denominated China real estate investment fund, recently completed by Prax Capital.
Winegar’s broad experience will come into play as market conditions improve and clients start to arrange more sophisticated financing deals. “To be effective, lawyers need to understand the full range of challenges that their clients face,” said Winegar. “In addition to legal and regulatory risks, sophisticated clients focus on issues such as corporate governance, the integrity of vendors, customers and counterparties, the environmental and social impact of their operations, and potential conflicts of interest that can arise out of running complex businesses.”
Winegar’s appointment follows several other hires the firm has made in Asia recently, including: corporate specialist Roger Peng, the former managing partner of Hogan & Hartson’s Beijing office; Chris Betts, previously associate general counsel for Asia at McKinsey; and Catherine Tsang from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.