The Legal Cheek View
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. It was founded in 2004 and opened in Hong Kong a decade later through an associated firm. A cocktail reception was held at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong to celebrate the tenth anniversary and new office opening. The firm strapline changed to ‘China Practice, Global Vision’.
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, which now works in association with Miao & Co, focuses on capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, investment funds and dispute resolution for local, regional and international clients. These include big-name tech and pharmaceutical companies.
Han Kun has over 700 lawyers in Greater China, with over 20 (including partners) working in the Hong Kong office. Many of them are qualified to practise in multiple jurisdictions and can speak English, Chinese, Japanese or Korean. The firm looks to hire five 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 recently visited 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.
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.