Global Elite Thought Leader Neil McDonald wins overwhelming praise from market players... He impresses across a number of areas of expertise, including corporate turnarounds and distressed acquisitions." "The top lawyer in Hong Kong" and a "highly impressive figure in the market."- Who’s Who Legal
Neil McDonald comes to the aid of large global companies in financial distress. Bringing years of experience, a broad knowledge base and polished strategic skills, Neil advises on an expansive range of issues that arise in the restructuring and insolvency of troubled companies. Neil also advises financial institutions, insolvency appointment holders, turnaround management firms and hedge funds in respect of distressed situations. This includes helping clients source and maximize lucrative opportunities that manifest from financial distress.
Apart from his work in the distressed world, Neil is a market leader when it comes to assisting private equity firms involved in tricky portfolio entanglements in emerging markets. He is known for engineering creative and pragmatic “exit solutions” for private equity clients who have investments that are in trouble.
Recognized as a leading lawyer for restructuring and insolvency by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Chambers Asia-Pacific, IFLR1000 and PLC Which Lawyer? guide book, Neil leads the firm’s restructuring practice in Asia.
As a trusted advisor who’s frequently brought in as “war counsel” in a crisis, Neil knows he must make difficult choices under great pressure — a role he embraces. A big believer in straightforward recommendations in tough situations, he strives for clarity and decisiveness and rejects fence-sitting approaches. According to Chambers & Partners, clients described Neil as “the top leader on most high-profile work”, “one of the best contact books in the region” and “extremely able and brings the entire firm’s resources to bear on a particular project.” He is “very well regarded – the first person to turn to,” “a dream lawyer to work with” and is “head and shoulders the most experienced liquidation lawyer in town."
Neil’s international investor clients turn to him for common-sense advice on investments and a proper assessment of the risks involved, particularly in the often-chaotic environment of emerging markets. His clients rely on him to manage and guide them through their most difficult journeys: often matters that can cause severe reputational damage to a company if not handled quickly and with great care. Businesses know that Neil has the ability to right their ship in critical situations and help solve problems that they can’t solve themselves.
With a well-earned a reputation as a tenacious advocate, Neil prides himself on his 24/7 responsiveness and his refusal to never back down from a fight. At the same time, he’s known as a hopeful, upbeat person with a good sense of humor and the capability of showing clients that — even in the most stressful situations — there is almost always a positive outcome within reach.
"Market Leader," Restructuring and Insolvency, IFLR1000 (2018–2023)
Neil was mentioned in August 2022 issue of Turnarounds & Workouts in which Kirkland was recognized as one of the top Asia-Pacific Restructuring Practices of U.S. Law Firms
“Global Elite Thought Leader,” Restructuring & Insolvency – Hong Kong, Who’s Who Legal (2022)
“Global Leader,” Asset Recovery and Restructuring & Insolvency, Who's Who Legal (2022)
“National Leader,” Asset Recovery and Restructuring & Insolvency – Mainland China & Hong Kong SAR, Who's Who Legal (2022)
Band 1 in Restructuring / Insolvency – China, Chambers Asia-Pacific (2016–2022)
“Hall of Fame,” Restructuring and Insolvency – Hong Kong, Legal 500 (2021–2022)
“Leading Individual,” Insolvency and Restructuring: Foreign Firms – China, Legal 500 (2021–2022)
“Litigation Star,” Insolvency, Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific (2021–2022)
“Asia Best Lawyer,” IFLR1000 (2020)
“Leading Individual,” Restructuring and Insolvency - Hong Kong, Legal 500 (2016–2020)
“Dispute Resolution Star,” Insolvency, Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific (2019)
“Leading Lawyer,” Restructuring and Insolvency, IFLR1000 (2015–2017)
Admissions & Qualifications
- 2002Hong KongSolicitor
- High Court of Hong Kong
- Supreme Court of Western Australia
- Supreme Court of New South Wales
- High Court of Australia
- University of Western AustraliaLL.B.1991
- University of Western AustraliaB. Juris.1990