Partner and three associates leave Withers to launch Hong Kong family law boutique
Rita Ku departs after more than a decade; Withers mentor Sharon Ser will join her later this year
Highly regarded litigator Rita Ku has left Withers’ Hong Kong office after more than 11 years to set up her own family law boutique, taking a trio of associates with her.
Ku, who has been a partner at Withers since 2012, said on LinkedIn she was ‘delighted to embark on a new journey with the establishment of my firm, Rita Ku & Solicitors (RKS).’
Senior associate Elaine Chung and associates Natalie Leong and Sarina Cheung have moved over from Withers alongside her, with the rest of RKS’ team made up of senior associate Sindy Wong, who has joined from HSBC but before that was also an associate at Withers, and client solutions director Leo Leung.
Long-time Withers partner Sharon Ser, who said on LinkedIn that she had been a mentor to Ku at the beginning of her legal career, is also set to leave the firm later this year to join RKS.
Ku said RKS “was founded with a mission to deliver positive impact to clients through bespoke advice and nurture the next-generation talent for the legal industry. We see substantial growth opportunities in service demand driven by the fast-growing private client segment and surging wealth in Greater China”.
She added that the firm’s specialism in all aspects of family matters spanning cross-jurisdictional family, matrimonial, death and incapacitation, trusts and wills as well as family legacy, probate and succession planning “well positions us to serve the unmet and growing needs of private clients in an international environment.”
The chairman of the Family Law Committee of the Law Society of Hong Kong, Dennis Ho, is also acting as a consultant for RKS and Ku's firm has formed an association with his law firm, Ho & Ip Solicitors, to provide ancillary services to its clients.
Ku is ranked Band 2 by Chambers for family/matrimonial law and was the regional divisional leader of Withers’ dispute resolution team in Hong Kong as well as a partner in the divorce and family team. She has close to 20 years of experience in family law and focuses on dispute cases concerning jurisdiction, divorce, children and ancillary relief, regularly advising on ancillary relief cases involving complex asset holdings structures.
Her non-contentious work focuses on wealth preservation for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, particularly preparing pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements and advising on trust structures from a litigation perspective before it is set up.
Withers said it ‘continues to offer clients in Hong Kong one of the largest and strongest family law teams in the market, with partners Jocelyn Tsao, Billy Ko and Samantha Gershon,’ adding that the Hong Kong practice ‘is backed by the international reach of leading family teams based in Singapore, London and California.’
The firm said that following the departures it is looking to grow the team again and hopes to announce some new hires later this year.
Ku is one of a number of prominent litigators to have left large law firms recently to set up their own business. Just last week Raza Mithani, a Dubai-based partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, departed to launch his own specialist disputes and investigations firm.
And earlier this month the global co-chair of the Denton’s litigation and dispute resolution practice, Barton Legum, and the firm’s head of international arbitration, Jean-Christophe Honlet, left to set up their own independent boutique in Paris.
Last October also saw a trio of former Addleshaw Goddard partners including the firm’s former head of litigation, Michael Barnett, team up to launch a specialist commercial disputes-only boutique practice in London.