As an organization, Asian Legal Business (ALB) aims to map the legal market in the region a variety of ways. Our law awards, held annually now in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea are among the most prestigious ones for the legal industry in Asia, and we also do a host of rankings every year. The award winners (and nominees), as well as the firms that make our rankings, give us an indication as to which law firms are winning the headline-grabbing deals, acting as counsel in important disputes, and keeping both their clients and their employees happy in the process.

The ALB Power List 2015 thus pulls together all this information and uses it to pick the most influential law firms in the region on the basis of work done, clients satisfied and talent acquired and retained. Since some firms have more a regional reach than others, we have two lists: the Domestic Power List, for firms that are most influential in their home countries, and the Regional Power List, which lists the most “powerful” firms across Asia. The lists are in alphabetical order. 

THE DOMESTIC POWER LIST

• Allen & Gledhill (Singapore)

• Deacons (Hong Kong)

• Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners (Indonesia)

• Kim & Chang (South Korea)

• Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (Japan)

• Rajah & Tann (Singapore)

• Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles (Philippines)

• Shearn Delamore & Co (Malaysia)

• Tilleke & Gibbins (Thailand)

• VILAF (Vietnam)

THE REGIONAL POWER LIST

• Allen & Overy

• Baker & McKenzie

• Clifford Chance

• Freshfields

• Herbert Smith Freehills

• Hogan Lovells

• King & Wood Mallesons

• Linklaters

• Maples and Calder

• Mayer Brown JSM

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THE DOMESTIC POWER LIST

ALLEN & GLEDHILL

SINGAPORE

Singapore’s largest domestic law firm in the ALB Top 50 Rankings for 2014, Allen & Gledhill picked up numerous awards and accolades in the past year, including Real Estate Law Firm of the Year at the ALB Southeast Asia Law Awards. And as Singapore had an immense M&A year in 2014, A&G made the top tier of ALB’s M&A Rankings 2014 for Singapore. Early on in the year, it launched a Myanmar firm in Yangon, which came months after the establishment of Allen & Gledhill (Laos) in Vientiane.

DEACONS

HONG KONG

Deacons remains Hong Kong’s largest domestic firm by some distance: The ALB Top 50 Rankings for 2014 had the firm at 253 fee-earners, with the second-placed firm well back at 86. Apart from a raft of nominations at The Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014, the firm came away with Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year. It was also voted by its employees as an “Employer of Choice” in Hong Kong, and made the M&A Rankings for the SAR as well.

HADIPUTRANTO, HADINOTO & PARTNERS

INDONESIA

Despite being dethroned as Indonesia’s largest law firm by ABNR in 2014, HHP had an otherwise good year, being named Deal Firm of the Year, Energy and Resources Law Firm of the Year and Indonesia Law Firm of the Year at the inaugural ALB Indonesia Law Awards, apart from being involved in a host of crucial deals such as XL Axiata’s Acquisition of Axis Telekom, which was named Indonesia Deal of the Year. It was named in the top tier of the ALB M&A Rankings for Indonesia as a result.

KIM & CHANG

SOUTH KOREA

The second annual ALB Korea Law Awards, held late last year, saw Kim & Chang win an impressive nine awards, including Korea Deal of the Year, Deal Firm of the Year, and Korea Law Firm of the Year. It certainly has the numbers on its side; the firm has about 1000 fee-earners, more than twice the number of its nearest competitor. The firm was also named in the top-tier of the ALB 2014 M&A rankings, capping off a successful year for the firm.

MORI HAMADA & MATSUMOTO

JAPAN

Apart from a number of deal award wins at the ALB 2014 Japan Law Awards, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto was named The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan Award Litigation Specialist Law Firm of the Year, the Japan Deal Firm of the Year, and – the icing on the cake – the Japan Law Firm of the Year. It also made the top tier in Japan in both the M&A and the IP rankings. Aside from a new office in Yangon, it was also involved in key deals like the Skylark IPO.

RAJAH & TANN

SINGAPORE

Rajah & Tann bolstered its disputes credentials last year after being named as the Arbitration Law Firm of the Year at the ALB 2014 Southeast Asia Law Awards, and also underlined its M&A prowess by being involved in the Southeast Asia Deal of the Year. In the various rankings, it was named in the top tiers of both the IP Rankings and M&A Rankings for Singapore. The icing on the cake was the launch of its ASEAN law firm network, Rajah & Tann Asia.

ROMULO MABANTA BUENAVENTURA SAYOC & DE LOS ANGELES

PHILIPPINES

One of the largest law firms in the Philippines, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles won the Philippines Deal Firm of the Year at the ALB 2014 Southeast Asia Law Awards. Aside from being feted as a top-tier firm in the ALB M&A Rankings 2014 for the Philippines, it was also named as an Employer of Choice, one of only two firms to receive the honour from that country. It was additionally involved in key deals like Robinsons Retail Holdings’ IPO.

SHEARN DELAMORE & CO

MALAYSIA

Shearn Delamore was named as a top-tier firm in ALB’s IP and M&A Rankings for 2014, and is currently the second-largest law firm in the country, according to the ALB Top 50 Largest Law Firms 2014. The firm was involved in the takeover of Fraser & Neave by TCC Assets and Thai Beverage Public Co, the deal that emerged the joint winner for the M&A Deal Firm of the Year at the Malaysia Law Awards.

TILLEKE & GIBBINS

THAILAND

At the end of 2013, Tilleke & Gibbins had expanded its reach in three new countries in the ASEAN region – Indonesia, Laos, and Myanmar – but it is in its key markets, namely Thailand and Vietnam where it remains most strong. It was named as the Employer of Choice in both those countries, and made the M&A rankings there too, but it is in IP where it remains a formidable force, making the top tier in both Thailand and Vietnam. More expansion is expected in 2015.

VILAF

VIETNAM

Vietnam International Law Firm (VILAF) was prominent in the ALB rankings in 2014, being named in the top tier of the M&A Rankings, and also named an Employer of Choice (one of only two in that country), apart from being ranked as the second-largest law firm in Vietnam. Last year it advised Mondelez International on its agreement to pay $370 million to buy an 80 percent stake in the snack business of Vietnamese company Kinh Do. Some months before that, it advising Vingroup on Vingroup Joint Stock Company on its $200 million U.S. dollar high-yield bond issuance, the first offshore public bond from a privately owned Vietnamese company, as well as the first from a Vietnamese real estate operator.

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THE REGIONAL POWER LIST

ALLEN & OVERY

Allen & Overy had two big awards nights last year, at the ALB 2014 Southeast Asia Law Awards — where it picked up awards in 10 categories, including the Southeast Asia Law Firm of the Year and the Emerging Markets Law Firm of the Year – and the China awards, where among other accolades, it was jointly named Real Estate Law Firm of the Year – International. It was a ranked M&A firm in multiple countries, and was the fifth-largest international law firm in Asia, according to the ALB Top 50.

BAKER & MCKENZIE

Asia’s largest international law firm by lawyer numbers, Baker & McKenzie was particularly prominent at The Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014, and also enjoyed recognition at the Southeast Asia and China Law Awards. At the Hong Kong awards, it was named both Tax and Trusts Law Firm of the Year and Wealth Management Law Firm of the Year. Additional, Bakers and its network/affiliate firms in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines were named as Employer of Choice in ALB’s annual list.

CLIFFORD CHANCE

Clifford Chance is Asia’s second-largest international law firm, with more than 450 fee-earners in Asia, according to the ALB Top 50. At the ALB 2014 China Law Awards, it was named as the International Law Firm of the Year, won Dealmaker of the Year – International, and also was on the CNOOC/Nexen Financing deal, which won the Energy & Resources Deal of the Year. In ALB’s M&A rankings for 2014, Clifford Chance was a top-tier firm in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, and was also ranked in Japan and Thailand.

FRESHFIELDS

Evidence of Freshfields’ regional reach was provided by the recognition it received last year in ALB’s China, Hong Kong, Japan and Southeast Asia law awards. Stephen Revell of Freshfields was named Southeast Asia Managing Partner of the Year in the Southeast Asia awards, where it was also on award-winning deals. At The Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014, Robert Ashworth was named the IPP Wealth Advisers Ltd Award Dealmaker of the Year. The firm is the sixth-largest international law firm in Asia, and was ranked for M&A in numerous markets.

HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS

Asia’s ninth-largest international law firm was successful in a variety of ALB awards last year, primarily in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Korea, with the occasional awards also in Japan and China. In Hong Kong, it was named Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year, in Korea it was on the Debt Market Deal of the Year, and at the ALB 2014 Southeast Asia Law Awards, it took home Corporate Social Responsibility Law Firm of the Year. Additionally it won M&A rankings recognition for multiple countries.

HOGAN LOVELLS

Hogan Lovells was a prominent feature in ALB’s IP rankings last year, being ranked in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Vietnam, and also made the M&A rankings in those countries. It is currently the eighthlargest international law firm in Asia, with 252 fee-earners, including 54 partners, according to the ALB Top 50 Largest Law Firms. In the past year, it also expanded its offices across Asia with some key partner hires in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, and continued to do the same into 2015.

KING & WOOD MALLESONS

Understandably, much of King & Wood Mallesons’ awards wins last year came in China and Hong Kong. In the ALB 2014 China Law Awards, KWM’s Xu Ping was named Dealmaker of the Year for China. The firm also won four key firm-category awards, including International Arbitration Law Firm of the Year, and Wang Ling was named Managing Partner of the Year. It also won Corporate Citizenship Law Firm of the Year at The Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014, and was ranked for IP and M&A in China.

LINKLATERS

As Asia’s third-largest international law firm, with 316 fee-earners (including 60 partners, according to the ALB Top 50, Linklaters was ranked in multiple Asian countries for M&A last year, including China and Singapore, where it made the top tier. At The Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014, it was named Deal Firm of the Year, while at the ALB 2014 Southeast Asia Law Awards, it was on both the Debt Market Deal of the Year, and the Equity Market Deal of the Year.

MAPLES AND CALDER

Winning the Offshore Law Firm of the Year at The Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014 capped off a successful night for Maples and Calder, which was also on the Hong Kong Deal of the Year, the M&A Deal of the Year and the Debt Market Deal of the Year. At the ALB 2014 China Law Awards, the firm was also named Offshore Law Firm of the Year, in addition to being on the Debt Market Deal of the Year, the M&A Deal of the Year, and the TMT Deal of the Year.

MAYER BROWN JSM

One of the top ten largest law firms in Asia by fee-earner size, Mayer Brown JSM won the Insolvency and Restructuring Law Firm of the Year, Insurance Law Firm of the Year and Real Estate Law Firm of the Year award at the The Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014 to mark a successful year for the firm. Also, in both the IP and M&A rankings last year, it ranked in both China and Hong Kong. The firm also has a presence in Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.

METHODOLOGY

Law firms and lawyers are picked on the basis of awards and nominations at ALB’s various law awards in 2014, appearances in ALB’s various rankings and lists in that year, and also on market feedback.

 

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