Latham & Watkins strengthens Asia PE group

February 25, 2016 Latham & Watkins is making moves similar to its previous private equity boost in Europe, but this time in its Asia practice. It has hired three new partners and is relocating two of its own partners from other cities to Hong Kong. The firm has also promoted two lawyers in Hong Kong to partner. The firm’s expansion is in line with its global efforts, making private equity and capital markets practices its principal focus.

The firm has hired three partners, Simon Cooke from Clifford Chance, Amy Beckingham from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Gary Hamp from Hogan Lovells.

Cooke spent 20 years with Clifford Chance before making the move, including nine as partner. He is known as a deal maker in Hong Kong, having sold companies through IPOs, and was Clifford’s Carlyle Asia relationship partner. He will work with Beckingham, who left her position as counsel at Freshfields to join Latham as partner. Bekingham does similar work to Cooke. Both of them will work with Hamp, who is a leveraged finance specialist.

From its own ranks, the firm is relocating high yield partner James Burnett from London and restructuring partner Jose Athanas from Chicago to Hong Kong. Additionally, it is promoting capital markets lawyer Ben Carale and project finance counsel Sungjin Kang to partner.

The hirings, relocations and promotions will mean the Hong Kong office partner head count will jump to 20 from its previous 13.

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