August 02, 2010

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is further expanding its international platform by opening an office in Hong Kong.  The new Hong Kong office is Gibson Dunn's second office in Asia.  The firm opened an office in Singapore in 2008.

The new Hong Kong office will focus on corporate transactions and corporate compliance, regulation and investigations.  The office will be anchored by Kelly Austin, who joins the firm as a partner, after eight years in Hong Kong with General Electric International, where she advised on Asia-wide Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other compliance matters across GE’s Asian business units.  Gibson Dunn partner Joseph Barbeau, who previously practiced in Hong Kong from 1985 to 1997, is relocating to Hong Kong from the firm’s Palo Alto office.  Also joining them is associate Kate Yin, who is relocating from the Los Angeles office.

"Gibson Dunn has been expanding our global platform where our clients need us, recently in Dubai in 2007, Singapore in 2008 and São Paulo in 2009," said Ken Doran, Chair and Managing Partner of Gibson Dunn.  “We have been looking for the right opportunity in Hong Kong for some time, and the opportunity to bring Kelly on board was key to our decision.”

Doran added, “Kelly’s extensive experience in designing and running a world-class compliance program, leading internal and government investigations, and driving compliance leadership across the region will be a tremendous asset for our clients.  Her regulatory and compliance practice complements the firm’s compliance and enforcement practices, as well as other significant practices at the firm.” 

“Compliance issues in Asia present unique challenges and the risk of a local enforcement action for multinational companies operating in Asia is real,” said F. Joseph Warin, Washington, D.C. partner and Co-Chair of the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group.  “Many of the U.S.-based FCPA disclosure and enforcement actions in the last two years have had an Asia component, and combining on-the-ground expertise in Asia with extensive support from the U.S. offices positions us to be particularly effective for clients.  Kelly’s addition enhances Gibson Dunn’s ability to service client needs in the areas of antitrust, FCPA and related anti-corruption statutes, securities enforcement, money laundering, technological transfers and trade sanctions.”

“I have worked extensively with Gibson Dunn and was attracted to the opportunity to join one of the premier white collar practices among international law firms,” said Austin.  “I look forward to working with the team.”

Barbeau’s 12 years in Hong Kong include broad experience with foreign investment in China, cross-border mergers and acquisitions for Hong Kong and U.S. companies, and representation of private equity and pooled investment funds across the region. 

“With our strong Singapore team, we now have core capacities and plan to steadily build out more depth with leading lawyers who can benefit from the quality of the firm’s practices across our other offices,” said Barbeau.  “Our strength in New York and London with capital markets work, our depth in Northern and Southern California with technology and media companies, and our extensive, firmwide practices in the areas of FCPA and compliance, international arbitration, and project infrastructure practice, provide a foundation that we can build upon in Asia.”

The new Hong Kong office will be located at Gloucester Tower, The Landmark, in Central.

About Kelly Austin

Based in Hong Kong since 2001, Austin served as Compliance & Litigation Counsel for Asia Pacific for General Electric International, Inc., where she led compliance matters, government investigations, litigation and alternative dispute proceedings for GE’s diverse financial and industrial businesses throughout the region.  She coordinated an extensive staff of compliance professionals and was responsible for designing and implementing compliance programs, leading internal and government investigations and reviewing regional risks and remediation initiatives.  She received the 2006 GE Legal Merit Award for exceptional performance.  

Prior to her tenure at GE, Austin practiced with Zuckerman Spaeder in Washington, D.C. from 1994 to 2001, where she handled criminal defense, litigation, government ethics and regulatory matters, including Congressional and Independent Counsel investigations and inquiries into alleged Medicare fraud, competition law violations, environmental violations, government contract fraud and obstruction of justice.  In October 2000, she was appointed to serve as Special Counsel to the Executive Office of the President.

Austin graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1993, where she was Associate Editor of Law & Policy in International Business.  From 1993 to 1994, she was a law clerk for Boyce F. Martin, Jr., Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

About Joseph Barbeau

Barbeau is an international commercial lawyer who has extensive experience with a wide range of corporate and financing transactions.  His practice has been wide-ranging, including start-ups, public and private mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and major licensing transactions, and spans an exceptional breadth of businesses, including technology companies, medical devices and health care service companies, apparel, automotive and electronics companies, hotels, and project infrastructure companies.  He also has substantial experience representing pooled investment funds, both in formation and portfolio investment transactions.

Barbeau has practiced with Gibson Dunn since 2000, after 18 years with another global firm, where he practiced 12 years in the Hong Kong office and served as the Hong Kong managing partner.  His cross-border experience includes representing U.S. companies on their activities in Asia, and Asian companies on their operations in the United States.

He received his law degree in 1981 from the University of Minnesota, magna cum laude, where he was Articles Editor of the Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.  He was a law clerk to the Hon. Gerald W. Heaney of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  He is co-author of A Guide to Foreign Investment in the United States (2nd Ed. 1992 Longman).

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