K&L Gates adds second capital markets partner in a month in Hong Kong

Jay Lee’s arrival from Simmons & Simmons follows Iris Leung joining from Linklaters in October

Top 40 US law firm K&L Gates has added its second capital markets partner in a month to its office in Hong Kong – this time from Simmons & Simmons. 

Jay Lee has joined the firm after a decade at Simmons, having earlier served as head of debt capital markets legal for Northeast Asia at Standard Chartered Bank and as an associate at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. 

Lee is Hong Kong- and US-qualified and focuses his practice on advising financial institutions and corporations on debt capital markets transactions including bonds, equity-linked products and asset backed securities. He also advises on structured debt products and derivatives transactions as well as mergers and acquisitions, asset management and other general corporate and finance matters.

“We are delighted to welcome Jay to K&L Gates’ global finance practice,” said Jason Opperman co-leader of K&L Gates’ global finance practice. “His DCM experience and familiarity working across key regional markets in Asia will complement our existing Asia-Pacific and global capabilities.”

Lee’s clients include global, regional and PRC financial institutions, private equity, asset management and alternative asset management companies and corporates. 

K&L Gates’ Hong Kong office is home to 35 legal professionals according to its website, similar in size to Simmons’ base in the city, while its investment funds and wider corporate practice are ranked in the Legal 500. The office is led by Asia managing partner David Tang, who noted Lee's arrival would boost the firm’s debt capital markets offering across the region. 

Lee has joined K&L Gates as the 18th partner in its Hong Kong shortly after capital markets partner Iris Leung moved across from Linklaters. Like Lee, Leung is US- and Hong Kong-qualified and brought experience advising issuers and underwriters on landmark listings of Chinese and multinational companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as well as investment banks and private equity and venture capital funds in capital markets and M&A transactions. 

Last month Linklaters added partner Richard Woodworth to its restructuring and insolvency practice in Hong Kong from Magic Circle rival Allen & Overy, the same day magic circle rival Slaughter and May announced that disputes partner Ralph Sellar was joining in Hong Kong from US firm Debevoise & Plimpton, marking a relatively rare external partner hire for the prestigious firm. 

Meantime, in June Clifford Chance hired funds and investment management partner Liyong Xing in Hong Kong from Kirkland & Ellis as it looked to grow its Asia Pacific practice citing continued high levels of activity. 

And earlier in the year the head of Skadden’s China practice, Hong Kong-based Julie Gao, left the firm to be CFO at TikTok owner ByteDance after more than a decade as the firm’s top Asia capital markets lawyer.

A Simmons & Simmons spokesperson commented: “We can confirm that Jay Lee has decided to retire from the partnership. We thank him for his time at the firm and wish him well in the future.” 

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