Kirkland & Ellis to open PE practice in Hong Kong

The international law firm will relocate London partner David Patrick Eich and two associates for the launch of its Hong Kong operations within the next year.

International law firm Kirkland & Ellis is to launch an Asian operation based in Hong Kong focused on expanding its geographical coverage for private equity clients.

A spokesperson for Kirkland & Ellis said that the Hong Kong office is expected to be operational in Q4 2006 or Q1 2007, subject to regulatory approval by the Hong Kong government.

David Patrick Eich, a private equity partner in the firm’s London office, will relocate in order to head up the operations. He will be joined by Tai Hsia, an associate in the London office since 2002, and Chuang Li, an associate in the firm’s Chicago office for the past five years.

The move has come as a response to client demand, said the spokesperson: “We’re simply following the private equity market’s move into Asia,” she said. Kirkland & Ellis will support existing private equity clients in transactions and fundraising in the region. “At the moment, we’re only looking to enhance the offering to our current client base rather than go after new clients local to Asia,” she added.

Eich previously advised on CVC Asia Pacific’s fundraising for CVC Capital Partners Asia Pacific II, which closed on $1.975 billion (€1.54 billion) in May 2005.

Another client is Bain Capital, the Boston-based private equity firm which launched a Hong Kong office at the beginning of this year. Bain has also recently set up operations in Shanghai and Tokyo. In January, Eich represented Bain in its $3 billion acquisition of the Massachuesetts-based Sensors & Controls business of Texas Instruments.

Kirkland & Ellis currently has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., London and Munich.