Stephenson Harwood ex-partners join HK boutique firm


Former Stephenson Harwood Greater China head Lai Voon Keat joined M.B. KEMP, a Hong Kong-based boutique law firm, as its managing partner in November.

Lai Voon Keat Stephenson Harwood
Lai Voon Keat

“These days, most international law firms are very similar, whether in their approaches or their cultures,” Lai told Asia Business Law Journal. “We aim to create a nimble, adaptable international practice, which bridges the East and West.”

M.B. KEMP was founded by two former partners of Stephenson Harwood, Malcolm Kemp, the former head of litigation and financial services practice in Hong Kong, and Yeeling Wan, a litigator who specialises in insolvency, commercial litigation and labour law. The firm focuses on dispute resolution, regulatory compliance, restructuring and capital markets.

Three other Stephenson Harwood partners, Wang Guijun, Ivy Wong and Ivan Tan, have also joined M.B. KEMP in September and November.

The firm is setting up a London office, which is expected to be operational in first quarter of 2021, according to its website.

“I believe it is healthy for international organisations to have a regular change of top leadership,” said Lai, who leaves after being the managing partner at Stephenson Harwood for more than 10 years.

Jamie Stranger succeeded Lai as Greater China head of Stephenson Harwood in May, and the firm has announced the closure of its one-partner Beijing office and shifted focus towards Hong Kong.