Simmons head of China quits to set up Advisory firm

Simmons & Simmons’ head of China Davis Wang has left the firm to set up his own advisory firm focusing on corporate governance and proxy management.

Wang left Simmons after seven years as the Beijing managing partner and head of China practice. He joined the firm in 2010 from Chinese firm King & Wood (now King & Wood Mallesons) to open and lead the UK firm’s Beijing office. He was promoted to China country head in 2012.

Dual qualified in PRC and the US and his practice had a focus on foreign investment, M&A, private equity and fund formation in the TMT sector.

In his recent move, Wang will retire from law and lead ZD Corporate Governance & Proxy Management Advisory, where he is a co-founder.

Simmons & Simmons has made slight changes to its China practice leadership team following Wang’s exit. It has named Beijing corporate partner Eric Lin as the Beijing office head, while Hong Kong based Asia head Paul Li has taken on the management responsibilities of the Shanghai office.

Lin joined the firm in 2011 as a partner from Allen & Overy, where he was a senior associate.

The firm’s Beijing office now has four partners, while the Shanghai office is much smaller and with no resident partner.

In March 2017, a team of five lawyers left Simmons’ Shanghai office to join Morgan Lewis. The team was led by employment and investigations partner Lesli Ligorner, who joined the firm from Paul Hastings in 2012.

Simmons senior partner Colin Passmore told The Lawyer the firm has no plan to consolidate or close an office in China and on the contrary it has plans to grow.

“We have several lateral hires in the pipeline in China that will come through in the autumn. We will continue to invest there,” said Passmore.

“China is a really important market for us and we need to be in both Beijing and Shanghai. Although there’s increasing competition in the market and it has its challenges, there are a number of areas where we see good opportunities, such as funds, asset management and areas in relation to fintech and TMT,” he added.

With more international firms taking the plunge to enter into association with local Chinese firms or set up a joint operation office in Shanghai Free Trade Zone, Passmore said his firm too is following closely on this development and considering the pros and cons of all the options. But he said Simmons currently has no plan to act on it and will decide in due course.


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