One of the premier law firms in China, Han Kun Law Offices is headquartered in Beijing, with branch offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Haikou, Wuhan and Hong Kong. In June 2023 the firm opened its first-ever international office in Singapore, which was also its third new office in 18 months.
Founded in 2004, Han Kun Law Offices launched in Hong Kong a decade later through an associated firm. Last year, the firms officially merged to form Han Kun Hong Kong, a firm licensed to independently provide legal advice in Hong Kong SAR. According to the firm’s official release, Han Kun Hong Kong strives to carry forward its vision of ‘China Practice, Global Vision’ by enhancing a cross-departmental collaboration with other Han Kun offices.
Initially starting out as a private equity and venture capital specialist, Han Kun has since grown over the years to cover the full spectrum of corporate and commercial work. The Hong Kong office focuses on capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, compliance, general corporate and dispute resolution for local, regional and international clients. These include big-name tech and pharmaceutical companies and retailers. Earlier this year, Han Kun advised Subway on a large franchise agreement which will see the fast-food chain open more than 4,000 stores in China over the next two decades.
Han Kun has over 700 lawyers in Greater China, and hired a spate of senior partners in the past two years from Big Law rivals. The most recent recruits have come from Sidley Austin and Tian Yan Law Firm, the joint operation firm of Allen & Overy in Shanghai.
Han Kun Hong Kong has about 22 lawyers, including seven partners. Many of them are qualified to practise in multiple jurisdictions and can speak English, Chinese, Japanese or Korean. The firm offers about 14 internships over the winter and summer. Of these interns, it hires two Hong Kong trainees each year. Interestingly, there are no seat rotations during the training contract, with trainees spending two years in either the corporate, commercial or litigation departments. Partners and senior lawyers supervise and provide feedback to trainees. Han Kun also holds exchange programmes with overseas law firms, providing lawyers with opportunities to “grow and learn”. There are plans to resume the firm’s in-house secondment programme to Beijing or Shanghai.
The office is housed in The Landmark’s Edinburgh Tower, one of the most prestigious buildings in Hong Kong’s Central business district. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel is located on the lower floors. Han Kun occupies half of 39/F, sharing office space with other firms on the same floor. There’s a pantry where staff relax away from their desks and catch-up for a chit-chat over lunch.
When it comes to social events, Han Kun goes all out. The annual summer trip is eagerly anticipated; staff have been known to visit places like Disneyland and in previous years, they went to Japan and Taiwan. Another important event in the Han Kun calendar is the gala dinner held each year in the Beijing head office under normal circumstances but owing to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions, virtually for the last three years. Beyond this, there are parties around Chinese festivals and Christmas, as well as group hiking trips.
The firm takes its social responsibility seriously. It serves as a sponsor of the ‘Broken-winged Angels’ project, which seeks to provide treatment to children with congenital hand defects. Further, Han Kun has been running a scholarship for over ten years to support students hoping to make it as lawyers in mainland China. It also offers staff a ‘Growth Fund’ which is a 0% interest rate loan to cover things like accommodation or overseas study costs.