Linklaters re-hires partners from Paul Weiss and Latham in Asia boost

Arrivals include Linklaters' former China head and add private equity and financial regulation expertise


Linklaters has re-hired senior lawyers from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Latham & Watkins to bolster its private equity and financial regulatory teams.

Betty Yap and Carl Fernandes have returned to the UK giant as partners after departing the firm in 2016 for Paul Weiss and in 2018 for Latham respectively. Yap, who led Linklaters’ China practice between 2011 and 2016, re-joins the firm to co-head its financial sponsor group in Hong Kong, while Fernandes is expected to relocate to Asia after initially re-joining the firm’s financial regulation practice in London. 

The hires come as the firm continues to strengthen its platform in the region under the stewardship of regional managing partner and former China head William Liu, who stepped into the role when incumbent Nathalie Hobbs completed her term in June. 

Yap specialises in handling cross-border M&A, strategic investments, joint ventures, special situations transactions foreign direct investments involving China. She spent three years as Paul Weiss’ regional managing partner in China, having been promoted to the role in 2019. 

Her departure was first announced last month, according to Bloomberg, when Yap was reported to be leaving the Wall Street firm to ‘pursue other career opportunities’. 

“Betty’s extensive experience and broad range of expertise, across a multitude of sectors, will complement our existing team, strengthening our private equity and financial sponsor capability in Asia to support our clients in achieving their strategic inbound and outbound investment objectives,” said Alex Woodward, co-head of the firm’s financial sponsor group. 

Fernandes, meanwhile, has more than 25 years of experience advising a range of financial service clients across London, Hong Kong and Australia, according to the firm. He previously led the firm’s Asia financial regulatory practice and worked at Linklaters in both Hong Kong and London from 2001 to 2018. 

Peter Bevan, global head of financial regulation, said Fernandes’ longstanding relationships with firm clients in both Europe and Asia “will be invaluable in further expanding our service offering and coverage to clients” across its existing platform in both regulatory landscapes. 

Linklaters has made several other moves in Southeast Asia this year, particularly in Hong Kong. It nabbed two partners — M&A lawyer Xiaoxi Lin and leveraged finance expert Allesandro Nolet — from Kirkland & Ellis and White & Case respectively in March, a move that restocked its roster after former global head of finance David Mencacci exited the firm’s Hong Kong office for Milbank in January. It also promoted two Hong Kong-based lawyers — corporate specialist Iris Yeung and capital markets lawyer Taiki Ki — to its partnership in April. 

The firm also named Hong Kong-based partner Hwang Hwa Sim as its global head of capital markets for a four-year term which began in May after London partner Michael Voisin’s tenure in the role concluded at the end of April. 


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