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Hong Kong:  Leading practitioner Kathryn Sanger is joining Herbert Smith Freehills' top-rated international arbitration team as a partner in October 2016, based in Hong Kong. 

Kathryn will be the team's 13th dedicated arbitration partner in Asia. She joins the largest disputes practice in Asia, comprising 20 partners and a sterling list of regional and international clients.

Kathryn joins the firm's existing dedicated Greater China arbitration partners – Justin D'Agostino, Simon Chapman and May Tai in Hong Kong, Jessica Fei in Beijing, and Brenda Horrigan in Shanghai.

This market-leading team works on the most complex and high value cases in the region as part of the firm's renowned global arbitration practice.

Kathryn has nearly 15 years' experience of arbitration and litigation proceedings in Asia, particularly in joint venture and China-related proceedings, enhanced by her ability to speak and read Mandarin Chinese fluently. 

She is also a longstanding member of the Council of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), chairing its appointments committee, and has been closely involved in the development of the HKIAC into one of the world's leading arbitral institutions.

"I'm truly delighted that Kathryn is joining us – she is an outstanding practitioner, a natural fit for our team, and given her particular expertise in financial services and energy arbitration, will help us expand our client offering in Asia," said Justin D'Agostino, Global Head of Disputes and Regional Managing Partner, Asia and Australia. 

"Kathryn's appointment also adds to our China capabilities, as our third dedicated arbitration partner with fluent Mandarin skills," said Justin. "Given the growing global focus on the equal representation of women in arbitration, we are also proud that close to 50% of our Asia arbitration partners are female." 

CEO Sonya Leydecker said: "Our firm's strategy is to have the right people in the right places to serve our clients and sectors.  Asia is important to us, and Kathryn's skills and experience make her the perfect addition to our Greater China team.  I'm delighted to welcome her to the firm."



  1. Kathryn has an impressive profile in the Asian international arbitration market. She has been a Council Member of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) since 2008 and serves on the HKIAC Executive Committee.  She is the current chair of the HKIAC appointments committee, serves on its proceedings committee, and has also served on its rules committee. Kathryn is also a member of the Users Council of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.
  2. Her practice covers a wide range of international arbitration matters and arbitration-related litigation, with particular strengths in financial services, energy and in China-related matters.
  3. She graduated from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom with a bachelor's degree in Oriental studies (Mandarin) before commencing her legal training and qualification. After a training contract in London, Kathryn joined Clifford Chance in Hong Kong in 2002, rising to her current position of consultant at that firm.
  4. Kathryn is admitted to practice in Hong Kong as well as England and Wales.
  5. Herbert Smith Freehills' leading Asia disputes practice numbers 20 partners (including Kathryn) and 80 lawyers. It advises clients on complex litigation, arbitration, corporate crime and investigations, financial services regulatory, employment, competition and private wealth matters.
  6. Across Asia, Herbert Smith Freehills' international arbitration practice numbers 13 partners and 40 lawyers, the largest practice of its kind in this region. Global Arbitration Review recently ranked Herbert Smith Freehills as having the third-busiest arbitration practice in the world.
  7. Kathryn will be the firm's 13th dedicated arbitration partner in Asia, and the sixth female partner in that team. The other partners are Justin D'Agostino, Simon Chapman and May Tai in Hong Kong; Jessica Fei in Beijing; Brenda Horriganin Shanghai; Peter Godwin, David Gilmore, Christopher Hunt, Emma Kratochvilova and Elaine Wong in Tokyo; Alastair Henderson in Singapore; and Gavin Margetson in Bangkok.  
  8. Herbert Smith Freehills is a signatory to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge, which aims to address the under-representation of women on international arbitral tribunals. Justin D'Agostino is a member of the steering committee responsible for the initiative, launched in May 2016.  

Media contact

For further information on this article please contact

Sally Greig

Head of Communications, Asia

Hong Kong