Clifford Chance adds funds partner in Hong Kong from Kirkland & Ellis

Liyong Xing is the third partner to leave Kirkland in Hong Kong since the start of the year

Liyong Xing Image courtesy of Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance (CC) has hired funds and investment management partner Liyong Xing in Hong Kong from Kirkland & Ellis as it looks to grow its Asia Pacific practice citing continued high levels of activity. 

Xing has joined the UK magic circle firm after eight years at Kirkland, where she made partner in 2018. Earlier she was an associate in the New York and Hong Kong offices of Shearman & Sterling. 

She is the third partner to leave Kirkland's Hong Kong office since the start of the year, although the world's largest law firm by revenue has also added two partners.

Xing advises global and Asian fund sponsors on the structuring, formation and governance of private investment funds across strategies including venture capital, growth capital, buyout, real estate, infrastructure, secondaries and co-investment. 

CC head of corporate in Asia Pacific, Andrew Crook, said Xing’s track record of work on China-focused funds and depth of experience, including advising on the formation and structuring of tech and healthcare focused investment funds in Greater China, made her “an excellent fit” for the firm’s practice. 

Alexandra Davidson, global head of funds and investment management, added: "We continue to see high levels of activity across asset classes and are committed to growing our offering to clients across Asia Pacific in line with our global strategy. Liyong's wide range of experience will further strengthen our international practice."

The more than 300-lawyer practice was led by Hong Kong partner Mark Shipman prior to Davidson’s appointment in January and is ranked Tier 1 in Hong Kong by legal rankings guide The Legal 500. The practice’s key clients in Hong Kong include local private equity firm TR Capital, GE Capital and Brilliance Capital, China’s second-largest hedge fund. 

CC has been adding partners to its funds and investment management practice globally of late, earlier this month adding Ildefonso Alier in Madrid from King & Wood Mallesons and Vadim Avdeychik in New York from Paul Hastings. Avdeychik’s arrival followed Kelly Labritz and William Sturman moving over in New York in May from Covington & Burling. 

Xing’s move to CC follows capital markets partner Howie Fern leaving Kirkland’s Hong Kong office in March for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and corporate partner Li-Chien Wong departing in February to join Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing as managing director and co-head of IPO vetting. 

Kirkland currently lists just north of 100 lawyers as being based in its Hong Kong, including 30 partners. The firm has also added to its ranks in the city recently, hiring private equity and M&A partner Peng Yu from Ropes & Gray in March. That month, the firm also secured Brian Ho, a former executive director of corporate finance at the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong as a partner in its transactional team. 

A team from Kirkland & Ellis has just advised on the listing of special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Vision Deal in Hong Kong, the second such listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE).

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