News & Insights

Deacons celebrates 170th anniversary as Hong Kong’s leading independent law firm

Deacons, Hong Kong’s longest established and largest independent law firm, commemorates its 170th anniversary in 2021. While celebrations have been muted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the firm has marked this milestone in a number of ways over the year.

This extraordinary achievement comes at a time when Hong Kong’s fast-paced business environment is evolving with the launch of the Wealth Management Connect and the increasing access to the dynamic markets of the Greater Bay Area. Rapid strides are being made in the area of Intellectual Property Rights with niche topics such as Plant Variety Rights and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) becoming more widely talked about. Digitalisation in the financial space is the norm and new grounds are being covered in Fintech, digital payments, cryptocurrencies every day. The first special purpose acquisitions companies (SPACs) listing on the city’s exchange seems imminent.

It is against this background that Deacons’ connection with the market and insight into the regional business community is helping shape its vision and direction for the future.

Lilian Chiang, Senior Partner and Head of the Property Department, Deacons commented: “Back in 1851, who could have imagined that Hong Kong would become one of the top financial centres of the world? It has been an extraordinary journey, both for Hong Kong and for us as a firm. Deacons’ business has literally evolved with Hong Kong. As our clients’ needs have become increasingly diverse, there has been a constant need to adapt while being mindful of maintaining a strong culture of observing traditional values.”

A third-party perception study conducted in 2020 showcased that while the firm is seen as a strong local player, it retains its international perspectives and practices with clients highlighting the firm’s personal and friendly attributes.With the work it is doing in cutting-edge areas, the firm is perceived as being modern, youthful, energetic and more gender-balanced.

Taylor Hui, Partner in the Financial Services Group, Deacons highlighted: “Over the years, a combination of local and expatriate lawyers who have been long-term Hong Kong residents has given the firm very strong local roots. Recent developments have included forming collaborative sector groups such as private wealth, Fintech, financial institutions amongst others which are backed by our strong property, litigation and intellectual property practices.”

Sabrina Fung, Partner in the firm’s Corporate Finance Group commented: “Nearly 50% of our partners and key leaders are women and we believe that embracing cultural diversity is central to creating equal opportunities in our workplace. While that is a good thing in itself, it also really benefits our business.”

Deacons has been closely involved with the local community for many years. On the CSR front, it has been a staunch supporter of “Operation Santa Claus,” and also has a long-term commitment to many local charities, including the Hong Chi Association, ImpactHK, Hong Kong Red Cross and the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association.

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