Mayer Brown names its Hong Kong-based corporate and securities partner Hannah Ha as chair of the firm’s Asia board, succeeding Duncan Abate, partner and head of its Asian employment and benefits group, who held the role since 2016.
Ha, who joined the firm in 2006, has served in several leadership roles at Mayer Brown, including as co-leader of the global corporate and securities practice and on the firm’s partnership board.
As the new Asia head, Ha aims to consolidate the firm’s presence in the regional hubs, namely Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
“Aligned with our firm’s global strategy and focus on key product and sector areas, we plan to consolidate the growth of our three regional hubs in Asia,” Ha told Asia Business Law Journal. “Our approach in Asia is about continuity and global alignment.”
As the firm celebrates its 160th anniversary in Hong Kong, Ha said the firm’s commitment to the city, the Greater Bay Area and mainland China remains steadfast.
In Singapore, following the launch of the joint law venture with local law firm PK Wong & Nair in January, the firm remains on track with its plan to double its headcount in the next couple of years.
Tokyo is also regarded as highly strategic and important to the firm due to the strength of the Japanese client base, and the volume of global matters across key product and sector areas.
“We will continue to leverage our global reach and local strength to support the evolving needs of our local and international client base,” Ha added.
Ha focuses on highly regulated sectors across mainland China and Hong Kong markets, with deep experience in advising on merger control issues relating to complex cross-border M&A transactions in the PRC. Amid the increasing number of PRC law firms entering Hong Kong and Asian markets, Ha saw it as a positive sign.
“This is an established trend which I think should be welcomed by the market,” said Ha. “It increases the opportunities for collaboration between international and PRC law firms, ensuring that PRC enterprises obtain holistic support on transactional and contentious cross-border issues.”
With the current slowdown in capital markets and property crisis in China, Ha saw that the benefit of having a diverse practice in Hong Kong and China is that the firm can support the clients through market changes.
“Coupled with our product and sector focus in these areas, we have found that while the issues we are helping our clients navigate may have changed due to market uncertainty, their need for premium quality legal advice remains.”