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Ashurst Asia disputes head leaves for Debevoise & Plimpton

Debevoise & Plimpton has hired Ashurst Asia dispute resolution head Gareth Hughes.

He joined Ashurst in 2011 to help launch the firm's Hong Kong disputes practice. He had previously been a partner with Simmons & Simmons for six years and practised with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer earlier in his career.

Hughes represents financial institutions on breach of duty of care claims, shareholder disputes and other court proceedings and investigations before the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Ashurst has not yet appointed a new Asia disputes head but said the firm is looking to invest further in the practice. Earlier this year, Ashurst disputes partner Ben Giaretta – who helped launch the firm's Asia disputes practice in 2009 – joined Mishcon de Reya.

Debevoise launched its Hong Kong disputes practice in 2015, when it hired longtime Herbert Smith Freehills litigation partner Mark Johnson. The firm's Asian litigation practice, alongside the European litigation practice, is chaired by London partner Peter Goldsmith QC.

Several global firms have boosted their Hong Kong-based banking disputes practice lately. In August, Clifford Chance recruited former SFC director Jimmy Chan as a Hong Kong partner, while Wynne Mok, a former enforcement director with the regulatory body, joined Slaughter and May as the firm's third-ever external partner hire.