Withers hires partners, help expand Southeast Asia scope
Private client powerhouse and real estate partner sign deal in London and four lawyers promote to partner
Withers, which is currently in the top 30 list of UK firms has recruited two senior partners in south-east Asia to increase its global asset finance and hotels and hospitality team in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Paul Jebely and Tien Gui Koh are appointed to Withers from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) respectively. Jebley, who previously worked at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and firm will be the current head of the global asset finance practice in Hong Kong. Koh will be posted in Singapore and join the hospitality and hotels team of Withers.
Jebely, which is an aviation specialist by profession worked at Pillsbury as the managing partner and the co chair of its private wealth and asset finance practices for about 6 years before joining Withers. Prior to joining Pillsbury, he also has worked as the head of the aviation finance at Clyde & Co, having joined in 2011 from Ashurst where he headed the firm's aviation practice.
While being triple qualified in England and Wales, the US and Canada, Jebely adds 15 years of experience. He advises individuals with a high net worth and their business enterprises. Not just that, Jebely himself has served on more than $20bn in transactions ever since his career began.
The CEO of Withers' business department, Jeremy Wakeham remarked, "We are sure that Paul along with his new and talented team of Withers lawyers and staff will be leading the private asset finance space, involving yachts and aircrafts and will also improve the pace of the current work involving such assets.
Wakeham further commented that Jebely's top notch aviation capability would be highly beneficial for the firm as it would help in the expansion of its aviation clientele base to include a variety of operators.
Koh, who has moved to Withers KhattarWong in Singapore, has worked for four years at BCLP, eight years as a hospitality partner at regional giant Rajah & Tann between 2013 and 2018. Prior to that, Koh also worked at the Marriott and Jumeirah hotel groups as their general counsel and advised the group's legal teams for the Asia Pacific region.
While working as an independent director of the UK hotel chain, Travelodge in Asia, Koh represents developers, hotel operators and owners of hotels and service apartments in a variety of matters like joint ventures, franchise, leasing agreements and real property acquisitions.
According to Wakeham, "Tien Gui is a true gem when it comes to hotel and hospitality. He [Gui] being a legal advisor and a hospitality investor, entrepreneur, operator and in house lawyer, offers unique insight on the sector. The firm is ecstatic about having him in the team, especially when the hospitality and hotels market in Asia is getting ready for a steady post pandemic recovery.
Elsewhere, the firm hired Pervaze Ahmed, who is a specialist in advising on the purchase and sale of expensive properties in London to its residential properties team. He joined Withers after working at Howard Kennedy for five years as the head of its residential real estate.
The firm's four partner promotions took place in the beginning of the year, which was first announced in the latter half of 2021. It went to effect last week across Withers' Boston, Milan, San Francisco and British Virgin Island bases.
Andrew gay, who's the venture capital specialist got the permission, along with Amy Hespenheide who's an estate planning lawyer to join the firm's partner in San Francisco in the US. Sara Jane knock, advisor on fraud, commercial litigation and asset tracking and insolvency cases was promoted to the ranks in the British Virgin Islands. Simultaneously, trust and tax lawyer Roberto Bonomi also earned promotions in Milan.
Withers' extended period of growth enjoyed: in 2021 it grew revenue by 11percent to £243.7m against a 32 percent increase in profit-per-equity-partner (PEP) to £660k. Those results followed from equally notable figures for 2020, when revenue grew by 13percent and PEP by 40percent PEP.
All this time, Jebely was the only partner working at the Hong Kong branch of Pillsbury. Presently, the firm states that one of its associates is a resident of Hong Kong. In its latest issue to law.com, the firm stated that it intends to maintain the office to support and expand its growing China practice. The firm didn't respond to a request for comment but has offices in Shanghai and Beijing.