Hong Kong’s most influential lawyers under 40
Four women and six men made it to the final list.
In search of the best lawyers in the city, Hong Kong Business reached out to over 50 legal firms in Hong Kong.
After rigorous review of all nominations submitted by firms, four women and six men made it to the final cut, with Hill Dickinson Hong Kong snaring two spots with the youngest lawyers in the pack.
Firms HFW, Clyde & Co, and Tanner De Witt also had two candidates entering the elite list amidst strong contention from representatives of Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP and Robertsons, which had one each.
This year’s awardees specialise in international trade, restructuring and insolvency, commercial dispute resolution, banking and finance, aviation, commodities, energy, family and matrimonial law, and more.
One of this year’s awardees also holds advisory roles in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Law Society of Hong Kong.
Here are this year’s awardees arranged from youngest to oldest.
Nicole Wong, Hill Dickinson Hong Kong, 31
Nicole stands out as an award-winning professional recognized for her significant contributions to the legal sector in Greater China. She excels in cross-border dispute resolution and is commended for her legal acumen and client management. Nicole is also dedicated to national and social development, as she recently served as Master of Ceremonies at the Law Society's International Summit 2023 in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, and she regularly mentors underprivileged youth and advocates for diversity and wellbeing through sports. Her multifaceted contributions position her as a rising star in the legal field.
Felix Cheung, Hill Dickinson Hong Kong, 31
Felix Cheung, a distinguished Senior Associate, is a top-tier commercial dispute resolution lawyer in Hong Kong. Specialising in complex litigation, international trade, and transportation, he navigates cases from the Court of First Instance to the Court of Final Appeal. Felix was the lead case handler in Cargo Container Line Ltd v Benchmark Electronics (Thailand) PCL and others  HKCFA 26. Recently promoted, he played a pivotal role in a significant maritime law case, demonstrating both legal acumen and commercial insight. Dually qualified in Hong Kong and England & Wales, Felix is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and an accredited mediator.
Vivien Wong, HFW’s Hong Kong, 34
Vivien, a Senior Associate, is a rare Hong Kong-qualified lawyer with extensive expertise in aviation liability. Fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English, she advises on aviation claims and insurance globally, particularly in Greater China. Vivien's early career success includes handling around 300 aviation disputes. Notable achievements involve a key role in the world’s largest aviation insurance program and defending claims for a major Hong Kong-based airline. She’s also a sought-after aviation law trainer. Vivien's influence extends beyond law; she actively supports diversity and inclusion initiatives and provides pro bono legal aid to foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.
Tim Au, Tanner De Witt, 35
Tim is a Partner in the Restructuring and Insolvency Practice. With a specific focus on contentious cases, he provides comprehensive advice to insolvency office-holders, including major accounting firms, and corporate clients on a wide range of restructuring and insolvency matters. His expertise covers schemes of arrangement, asset recovery in insolvency estates (including transaction avoidance claims), cross-border insolvency issues, examination of individuals assisting office-holders, enforcement, debt recovery, and court applications related to bankruptcies, liquidations, and remuneration of office-holders. Tim's particular interest lies in cross-border schemes of arrangement, notably his involvement in the Kaisa and Burwill schemes. He also handles contentious scheme matters and has successfully opposed the sanctioning of the Century Sun scheme.
Michelle Ho, Clyde & Co, 36
Michelle is a Counsel specialising in advising major international insurers on intricate claims, including D&O, professional indemnity, and more. She handles commercial litigation and cyber/data breach response. Michelle represents global and regional insurers in high-profile cases globally, including US securities class actions. She excels in cyber breach and data breach response, such as assisting an international hotel chain with a major cyber breach. As part of her commercial litigation practice, Michelle successfully defended a client and obtained wide ranging injunction orders in the English High Court (Queen’s Bench Division); the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean (BVI), and European countries including Germany and Luxembourg.
Cheryl Yu, Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP, 36
Cheryl is a triple-qualified Partner at Reed Smith LLP in New York and is based in Hong Kong. She excels in international arbitration, often representing clients in London, Hong Kong, and Singapore. She is also renowned for her skills in cross-border enforcement actions, asset recovery, and procedural matters. Her practice extends to guiding PRC Mainland companies in international expansion and providing tailored legal solutions to tech and emerging sectors. Cheryl is actively involved in high-value arbitrations and complex disputes. Her contributions to the field include insightful articles on international arbitration, judicial precedents, and the Belt and Road initiative.
Edward Beeley, HFW Hong Kong, 37
Edward, a Senior Associate at HFW’s Hong Kong commercial dispute resolution practice, boasts a diverse background, having studied engineering in the UK and initially worked at AP Moller-Mærsk before transitioning to law. He is triple-qualified in England & Wales, Hong Kong, and the British Virgin Islands. Edward acts for market-leading traders, financial institutions and professional services firms and specialises in international arbitration, commercial litigation, contentious insolvency and offshore work with a particular focus on international trade and complex high-value commercial disputes. His client-focused, entrepreneurial approach and ability to identify growth areas position him as a future leader in the legal field.
Lau Chin Ching Rio, Robertsons, HK, 37
Rio ascended from Associate to Partner at Robertsons in just five years, managing a team of 12 legal professionals and eight staff members. He specialises in civil and criminal litigation, representing high-profile clients from a young age. His notable cases encompass barrister admissions, appeal cases, and matters tied to the Competition Ordinance and fraud. Beyond legal matters, Rio initiated an internship program fostering future talents, improving the firm’s image in embracing young talent. His role extends to expanding the client base, strategic marketing planning, and implementing IT advancements. His journey from Associate to Partner, significant cases, and contributions showcase an impressive legal career.
Pryderi Diebschlag, Clyde & Co, 38
Pryderi, a seasoned commercial disputes specialist, brings over a decade of expertise in international commercial arbitration and Hong Kong litigation. He focuses on cross-border investments, joint ventures, commercial fraud, and energy/commodities disputes. Pryderi has represented clients in various arbitration institutions and handled complex commodities transactions. His recent cases include Acting for a major international bank in a US$100m multi-contract multi-party arbitration administered by the HKIAC and advising a Chinese technology company in a US$16m claim for breach of representations and warranties. His experience in both London and Hong Kong makes him a rising star in the legal field.
Adrian Au, Tanner De Witt, 38
Adrian specializes in family and matrimonial law, covering pre/post-nuptial agreements, divorce, financial applications, and child arrangements. His clientele ranges from business leaders to high net-worth individuals with international backgrounds. He excels in addressing challenging jurisdictional issues, intricate financial arrangements, private client/family matters like custodial/parental arrangements and international relocation. Adrian’s experience extends to advising PRC clients who have substantial assets in Hong Kong and in the PRC often involving jurisdictional issues, complex financial arrangements involving pension schemes, share options or deferred bonus payments schemes, assets across multiple jurisdictions and entitlements under a trust structure, and spousal and children maintenance.