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FAX:+852 2214 3710
32/F Gloucester Tower, The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Kelly Austin leads Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice for Asia, is a global co-chair of the Firm’s Anti-Corruption & FCPA practice, and is a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. She served as the Partner-in-Charge of the Firm’s Hong Kong office from 2012 to 2022. Ms. Austin’s practice focuses on government investigations, regulatory compliance and international disputes. She has extensive expertise in government and corporate internal investigations, including those involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-corruption laws, and anti-money laundering, securities, and trade control laws. Ms. Austin also regularly guides companies on creating and implementing effective compliance programs.
From 2001 to 2010, Ms. Austin served as the Compliance and Litigation Counsel for General Electric in Asia. In that role, she coordinated litigation, alternative dispute resolution proceedings, government and internal investigations, and compliance matters for the GE businesses throughout the region.
Before moving to Hong Kong in 2001, Ms. Austin practiced in Washington, D.C., representing individuals and entities in a wide variety of criminal and civil matters in federal and state courts around the United States. Her practice focused on government investigations, including a host of Congressional and Independent Counsel investigations. She also served as general counsel to non-profit organizations, providing guidance on a variety of legal, regulatory, and strategic matters, and regularly counseled individuals on government ethics and regulatory issues.
From 1993 to 1994, Ms. Austin served as a law clerk for The Honorable Boyce F. Martin, Jr., Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 2000, she served as Special Counsel to the Executive Office of the President, representing the White House in federal litigation.
Ms. Austin graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia and received her law degree from Georgetown University. She is a member of the bars of Virginia and the District of Columbia, and is admitted to practice in a variety of district and appellate courts in the United States. She is also admitted to practice as a solicitor in Hong Kong.
Ms. Austin has been ranked as a leading lawyer (top-tier) in the category “Corporate Investigations/Anti-Corruption: China” year after year by Chambers Asia Pacific and is now ranked as a leading lawyer (top-tier) in the inaugural Chambers Greater China Region rankings released in 2022. One client noted she is “very seasoned, very experienced and able to give advice based on that experience…she comes in and suggests exactly what we can try, steering us in the right direction through the legal technicalities.” Another client praised her “great understanding of the region and ability to enable business opportunities while complying with local and international legislation.”
Ms. Austin is also regularly ranked as a leading lawyer by Chambers Global and as a leading individual for “Regulatory: Anti-Corruption and Compliance: Hong Kong” by Asia Pacific Legal 500. She was listed for white-collar crime in China and Hong Kong by Benchmark Asia-Pacific’s Top 100 Women in Litigation 2021; was named a Global Elite Thought Leader and a leading individual for Asia-Pacific by Who’s Who Legal: Investigations 2021; was named by Expert Guides to its 2020 Guide to World’s Leading Women in Business Law; was ranked as a leading lawyer by Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defence 2019; was ranked as a “Disputes Star” in the category “White Collar Crime: Hong Kong” by Benchmark Asia-Pacific 2019; was named one of the “World’s Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers” by Euromoney’s Expert Guide 2018; and was awarded “The Mentor Award of the Year for Advancement of Women in Compliance” by C5 at its annual Women in Compliance Awards 2018.
Recent and Upcoming Professional Activities & Publications:
“Internal Investigations Across the APAC Region: Contrasting Regional Differences on Privilege, Evidence Gathering, Cooperation with Authorities and Cultural Norms,” 9th Summit on Anti-Corruption and Compliance-Asia Pacific, American Conference Institute, March 9, 2021.
“Global Anti-Corruption Risks and Risk Management,” LexOmnibus Course, Hong Kong, September 27, 2019.
“U.S. Regulatory Developments Impacting Asia,” Practising Law Institute’s Seventh Annual Institute on Corporate & Securities Law in Hong Kong 2019, Hong Kong, May 24, 2019.
“Directors and Global Risk Management,” Women’s Directorship Programme, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, September 14, 2018.
“Global Anti-Corruption Risks and Risk Management,” LexOmnibus Course, Hong Kong, September 7, 2018.
“The rise of China and implications for companies and investors in Asia Pacific,” RiskMap 2018, Control Risks Group, Hong Kong, January 26, 2018.
“Resolving Self-Disclosure Dilemmas,” American Conference Institute’s 6th Asia-Pacific Summit on Anti-Corruption Compliance and Risk Management, Singapore, November 1, 2017.
“Global Anti-Corruption Risks and Risk Management,” LexOmnibus Course, Hong Kong, September 1, 2017.
“Legal Liabilities and Corporate Governance,” Effective Non-Executive Director Workshop, Financial Times, Hong Kong, June 19, 2017.
“Enforcement Issues Today,” PLI Fifth Annual Institute on Corporate & Securities Law in Hong Kong 2017, Hong Kong, May 19, 2017.
“Anti-Corruption and Risk Management,” LexOmnibus Course, Hong Kong, September 2, 2016.
“Anti-Corruption and Risk Management,” Compliance Management Programme, Indian School of Business, Chandigarh, India, July 13, 2016.
“Legal Liabilities and Corporate Governance,” Financial Times’ Workshop “So You Want To Be a Non-Executive Director?,” Hong Kong, May 26, 2016.
“Anti-Corruption Issues When Doing Business in China,” Practicing Law Institute’s The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2016, New York, May 3, 2016.
“A Practical Guide to Effective Corruption Risk Assessments Specific for India,” American Conference Institute’s Fifth India Summit on Anti-Corruption, Delhi, February 22, 2016.
“Inside an Effective Internal Investigation: How to Scope an Action Plan,” American Conference Institute’s 4th Asia-Pacific Summit on Anti-Corruption Compliance and Risk Management, Singapore, October 28, 2015.
“Anti-Corruption and Risk Management,” LexOmnibus Law CPD Course, Hong Kong, September 18, 2015.
“Directors and Global Risk Management,” Women’s Directorship Programme, The University of Hong Kong, September 12, 2015.
“Obtaining Information about Employees and Third Parties in China without Violating Local Privacy and State Secret Limits,” American Conference Institute’s 9th Advanced Forum on FCPA & Anti-Corruption for the Life Sciences Industry, New York, April 27, 2015.
“In-house Perspective on Current Arbitration Practices – Diagnosis and Therapy,” Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Centenary Conference, Hong Kong, March 20, 2015.
“Global Anti-Corruption Trends and Effective Risk Management,” In-House Congress Middle East, Dubai, February 4, 2015.
Conference Co-Chair, “Strategies and Innovations for Anti-Corruption Compliance Programs in China,” American Conference Institute’s Inaugural Anti-Corruption Compliance Programs in China Seminar, Shanghai, January 28, 2015.
Georgetown University - 1993 Juris Doctor
University of Virginia - 1988 Bachelor of Arts
District of Columbia Bar
Solicitor of the High Court of Hong Kong