King & Wood Mallesons

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King & Wood Mallesons
King & Wood Mallesons 2012.png
Headquarters The Landmark
Hong Kong
No. of offices 30
No. of attorneys 2,700+ lawyers
Major practice areas General practice
Key people Wang Junfeng
(Global Chairman)
Stuart Fuller
(Global Managing Partner)
Stephen Kon
(Co-Deputy Chairman)
Stephen Minns
(Co-Deputy Chairman)
Revenue $1 billion[1]
Date founded 2012 (by merger)
Company type Four partnerships
(Swiss Verein structure)
Slogan The Power of Together

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM, simplified Chinese: 金杜律师事务所; traditional Chinese: 金杜律師事務所; pinyin: Jīndù Lǜshī Shīwùsuǒ) is a multinational law firm. The firm is headquartered in Hong Kong and comprises four separate partnerships with 31 offices across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. KWM is the largest law firm headquartered outside of the United Kingdom or United States.[2] In 2012-13, the firm's total global revenue was estimated to be AU$1 billion,[1] with profit per equity partner of $1.08 million in Australia,[3] and £565,000 in the UK.[4]


King & Wood Mallesons formed on 1 March 2012 as a combination of Chinese firm King & Wood PRC Lawyers and Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, following votes in November 2011.[5][6] The firm uses a Swiss Verein structure, and has four financially independent partnerships: Australia; Europe and the Middle East; Hong Kong; Mainland China, Japan and the United States.[7]

Mallesons Stephen Jaques[edit]

Governor Phillip Tower, Mallesons' Sydney headquarters

Mallesons Stephen Jaques was considered one of the Big Six law firms in Australia. The "Mallesons" part of the firm's name comes from one of the Melbourne founding partners - Alfred Brooks Malleson. Malleson was born at Richmond Hill, on the Surrey side of the Thames in 1831. As a 25-year-old London solicitor, Malleson borrowed £10 from his uncle to go to Melbourne, in 1856. Malleson was a leading practitioner. His obituary in The Argus in 1892 recorded that his expertise was especially "in company law and in the banking business. Several of the associated banks entrusted their legal affairs to the firm, as well as a large number of leading insurance and other companies, so that Mr Malleson had always as much as he could do". In 1858, the firm (then called "Muttlebury Malleson and Coster") handled the legal work to establish The National Bank of Australasia, which remains one of the firm's key clients as the present-day National Australia Bank.

The "Stephen" part of the firm's former name, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, comes from the Sydney founder - Montague Stephen. He was the second son of Sir Alfred Stephen who was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1844 to 1873. Montague Stephen founded the Sydney practice in 1849. One of his earliest (1853) clients was the "Australian Mutual Provident Society". Today AMP Limited remains one of the firm's key clients. The "Jaques" part of the firm's name comes from a second "Alfred" - Alfred Jaques. He became a partner of the Sydney firm in 1878. In 1888 the firm's name changed to Stephen Jaques & Stephen - the name which continued until the 1980s.

In 1974, Stephen Jaques & Stephen merged with Davies Bailey & Cater of Canberra. This firm had been established in 1926 - predating the opening of the Federal Parliament in Canberra. Soon after, in 1976, the firm established its London office. In 1982, Stephen Jaques & Stephen merged with Stone James of Perth. The merged firm was called "Stephen Jaques Stone James". Stone James had been established in 1832 by a third "Alfred" - Alfred Stone, Western Australia's first solicitor. The merger reflected the growing importance of the vast mineral resources of Western Australia and its large offshore energy projects.

In 1987, Stephen Jaques Stone James merged with Mallesons. The firm subsequently adopted the name of "Mallesons Stephen Jaques". At the time of the merger, Stephen Jaques Stone James - one of the leading Sydney based firms - had 79 partners and 251 solicitors (a total of 330 lawyers) and Mallesons - one of the leading Melbourne based firms - had 37 partners and 83 solicitors (a total of 120 lawyers). The 1987 merger was driven by an assessment that Sydney, Australia's international business centre and largest city, and Melbourne, the traditional home to many of Australia’s major corporations and financial institutions, had become one legal market. This had happened as a result of advances in telecommunications and computer technologies. In addition, it was felt that the merger of the two firms - with their similar cultures and backgrounds, and with many shared clients - would give the firm the necessary depth of legal talent, and the level of technological and know-how support, to be able to assist key clients internationally, as well as in Australia. The merger enabled the firm to look after clients in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra.

Mallesons Stephen Jacques established its Hong Kong office in 1989, and Beijing office in 1993. The firm also established an alliance with Posman Kua Aisi Lawyers of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in 1995. In 2004 the firm strengthened its Beijing resources by taking on some lawyers and support staff from the former local office of Denton Wilde Sapte. Later that year Mallesons merged with the Hong Kong and Shanghai corporate boutique Kwok & Yih

King & Wood PRC Lawyers[edit]

King & Wood was among the first law firms established in the People’s Republic of China during the modern era. In 1993, King & Wood’s founding partners were still working with a state-sponsored organization, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, when the central government permitted private ownership of law firms, allowing them to create the firm.

The name of the firm is an example of Western-oriented marketing by a Chinese firm. There is no "Mr King" or "Ms Wood" among the founders of the firm, the names having been chosen for their "ear appeal" among prospective Western clients. The corresponding portion of the Chinese name is 金杜 ("Jin Du"), which likewise do not refer to a specific "Mr Jin" or "Mr Du".

The firm’s clients included Citigroup, China Life, Wal-Mart, PetroChina, Bank of China, the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Summer Olympics.[8] Prior to merging with Mallesons Stephen Jacques, King & Wood maintained an alliance with Australian law firm Gilbert + Tobin.[9][10]

SJ Berwin[edit]

In 2013, King & Wood Mallesons and British-headquartered law firm SJ Berwin announced that from 1 November 2013 SJ Berwin would merge with King & Wood Mallesons by joining the Swiss Verein as a fourth member.[11]

SJ Berwin was founded by lawyer Stanley J. Berwin along with 15 lawyers in 1982.[12] It was driven forward by Berwin until his death in 1988,[13] after which he was succeeded by Christopher Haan. In 1992, leadership of the firm was handed over to David Harrel, who led the firm for 13 years. Harrel oversaw SJ Berwin's strategy of European expansion. The management of the firm passed to fund formation partner Jonathan Blake in 2005, who took on the senior partner role alongside existing managing partner Ralph Cohen. During 2009 the firm opened three new offices in Hong Kong, Dubai and Shanghai. In 2010 Ralph Cohen stood down as Managing Partner and was replaced by Rob Day, who took office in November 2010.

Post-merger, SJ Berwin changed its name to "King & Wood Mallesons", but it trades for a transitional period as "King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin" in Europe and the Middle East.


King & Wood Mallesons has 31 offices across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

  • United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates

Main practice areas[edit]

Pro bono[edit]

King & Wood Mallesons provides pro bono legal assistance and representation on a number of matters each year and supports a number of other community initiatives.[14] The firm has a dedicated human rights group[15] and, in conjunction with the Ted Noffs Foundation, provides free legal advice for people aged from 14 to 25.[16] In 2013, the firm was named Corporate Social Responsibility Firm of the year by the Australasian Legal Business Awards, for the fifth consecutive year.[17]


Recent awards won by King & Wood Mallesons include:

  • 'Most Innovative Law Firm' and 'Most Innovative in Financial Law' at the 2014 Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers 2014 Awards.[18]
  • 'Regional Firm of the Year' and 'Australian Firm of the Year' at the 2013 International Financial Law Review's Asia Awards.[19]
  • Named as one of the world's leading mergers and acquisitions firms for 2013 by Who's Who Legal.[20]
  • 'International Law Firm of the Year' at the 2012 The Lawyer Awards.[22]
  • Highest-ranked Chinese law firm by Japanese corporate legal departments in the December 2013 Nihon Keizai Shimbun survey.[23]

Notable cases and transactions[edit]

King & Wood Mallesons and its predecessor firms have advised on a number of notable cases and transactions.



United Kingdom[edit]

  • Advised Lion Capital LLP on a string of deals including the on the acquisition of fashion chain AllSaints from Icelandic banks Kaupthing and Glitnir, and the £1.4 billion acquisition of French frozen food business Picard Surgelés.[30]


The following list includes people who have worked or consulted for King & Wood Mallesons, or its predecessor firms:

Judicial appointments[edit]


Community and public service[edit]




  1. ^ a b Press release
  2. ^
  3. ^ Australian Financial Review (2013). King & Wood Mallesons. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  4. ^ Legal Week (2013). SJ Berwin-King & Wood Mallesons merger gets green light creating $1bn global giant. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  5. ^ Financial Times (2011). Australian law firm votes for Chinese merger. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  6. ^ The Lawyer (2011). King & Wood and Mallesons plan for post-merger globalisation. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  7. ^ The Lawyer (2012). King & Wood and Mallesons iron out confidentiality issues ahead of merger. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  8. ^ see the Chambers Global Editorial 2010.
  9. ^ Australian Financial Review, "Mallesons firms up Asian link", 7 October 2011, p. 20.
  10. ^ The New Lawyer (2011). Mallesons, China's King & Wood, plan alliance. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  12. ^ Chambers Student Guide 2012
  13. ^ The Lawyer
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "企業が選ぶ弁護士ランキング 企業法務1位は中村氏". Nihon Keizai Shimbun. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Now, From China, the World's Biggest Company - U.S. News & World Report
  26. ^ SEC Info - Petrochina Co Ltd - SC 13E3/A - Jilin Chemical Industrial Co Ltd - On 12/23/05 - EX-99.(C).5
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "SJ Berwin LLP's victory in the House of Lords for OK! in the Catherine Zeta-Jones wedding photos case". SJ Berwin. 
  30. ^ "SJ Berwin advises Lion Capital and Goode Partners on the acquisition of All Saints fashion chain". SJ Berwin. 
  31. ^ Bob Carr is included in his list by virtue of his role as consulstant to Mallesons Stephen Jaques (as it then was) from 2006-2012: Senator the Hon Bob Carr – Parliament of Australia

External links[edit]