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UK law firm Charles Russell Speechlys has hired a team of four attorneys from SF Lawyers, KPMG’s law firm in Hong Kong, led by the firm’s founder and managing partner, Shirley Fu.

Fu’s move means that the Big Four’s Hong Kong arm is effectively shuttered after nearly five years of operations

Joining Fu at CRS are senior associates Rachel Kan and Bessie Chow, as well as senior legal manager Tom Wong. The whereabouts of two other associates – Bbill Tang and Hunter Wang – are currently unknown.

Fu is a transactions specialist with over two decades of experience advising clients in China and across Asia on M&A, private equity and joint venture deals. Her clients include Chinese state-owned enterprises, multinational corporations, Japanese conglomerates, global and regional financial institutions, and listed companies.

Fu’s appointment “reinforces our aims to enhance our footprint in Greater China to ensure we remain primed for continued growth across the region,” said Silvia On, the head of the Hong Kong office of private capital-focused CRS, in a statement. 

The closing of SF Lawyers comes weeks after EY Hong Kong member firm LC Lawyers shut shop, with its former managing partner, Rossana Chu, joining East & Concord alliance firm Yang & Yang.

Amid rising tensions between Washington, D.C. and Beijing, and reduced economic growth, international law firms operating in Greater China have been rethinking their strategy

Winston & Strawn closed its Hong Kong office on Feb. 1, 2024, after 15 years of operation in the city. It followed in the footsteps of Addleshaw Goddard in 2022, and Orrick in 2024.

In the Greater China region, the trend of closures of law firm offices has been accelerating. In the past few weeks, Weil has closed in Beijing, Perkins Coie has closed in Shanghai, and Orrick has closed in Shanghai and Taipei

 

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