Townsend joins from Fangda & Partners in Hong Kong where he was counsel. He started his career at legacy KWM firm, SJ Berwin in London, before joining Norton Rose Fulbright in Beijing and Hong Kong, and subsequently Fangda.
With over a decade of experience acting as arbitration counsel in complex and high-stakes arbitration proceedings, including ad-hoc and administered arbitrations under the rules of the major institutions and in the major arbitral seats, Townsend brings a wealth of experience to the firm.
His practice focuses on disputes relating to M&A, energy, infrastructure, construction and technology.
Townsend speaks and reads Mandarin and has practical experience of a number of China-specific arbitration issues including: China-seated arbitration; med-arb; and Hong Kong-seated emergency arbitration. He regularly acts as advocate at procedural and merits hearings.
He has acted in a number of arbitration ‘firsts’ in Asia, including the first Emergency Arbitration to proceed to the hearing stage under the HKIAC Rules; the first arbitration known to have been concluded under a Sino-Foreign PSC, and some of the first Hong Kong-seated arbitrations in which interim relief was sought from the PRC courts under the 2019 Mainland China-Hong Kong Interim Relief Arrangement.
Townsend is a regular writer and speaker on issues of business and law in China. He has authored over 70 articles and book chapters on the topic of arbitration. He is also an occasional adjunct lecturer on international arbitration at Hong Kong University.
Kyri Evagora, Reed Smith’s Asia-Pacific managing partner, said: “Our international arbitration practice is going from strength to strength. Matt is a fantastic addition for our Firm and our clients in Asia and globally.”