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Simmons & Simmons Opens Office in Shenzhen, China

Simmons & Simmons has opened an office in southeastern Chinese city Shenzhen.

The new office is Simmons’ third in the country, alongside its operations in Beijing and Shanghai.

The new office will focus on telecommunications, media and technology (TMT)—areas in which the firm already advises Shenzhen clients.

TMT partner Jingyuan Shi is moving from the firm’s Beijing office to lead the outpost. She will be the office’s sole partner but will work closely with the firm’s international TMT teams led by London-based partner Alexander Brown.

“Shenzhen is rapidly growing as a force in the technology industry and plays a pivotal role as a global innovation powerhouse,” Shi said in a statement.

Paul Li, who is the head of Asia for the firm, noted that China is currently the world’s second most important TMT market after the U.S. “This move enables us to build on our existing presence in the country,” he said. ”We are committed to continuing investment in this market, working under The Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).”

Shenzhen officially became a city in 1979 and in 1980 was established as China’s first special economic zone, which has made it more attractive to foreign and domestic firms. The city, sometimes called China’s new Silicon Valley, is now home to some of the best-known Chinese technology companies, including Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., ZTE Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Shenzhen is officially one of the world’s fastest-growing cities.

Other global law firms, especially those with a strong intellectual practice, have opened offices in Shenzhen. Chicago-based IP shop Brinks Gilson & Lione was the first, opening its Shenzhen office at the very end of 2017. Fish & Richardson and the hybrid virtual law firm Rimon Law each launched an office there earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Simmons also expanded its presence in France with the hire of two lawyers for its Paris office.

London-based law firm Herbert Smith Freehills in China tie-up

London practice is sixth international group to be licensed in Shanghai initiative

London-based law firm Herbert Smith Freehills will affiliate its Chinese business with a local company in a new test for integrating foreign legal services with domestic law practice in China. The tie-up comes after nearly a decade of experimentation by foreign groups seeking to boost their presence in China by partnering local companies. Several affiliations, such as that of China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons, or global firm Dentons and China’s Dacheng, have formed some of the world’s largest practices but have yielded mixed results. Chinese regulation does not allow full integration of foreign and domestic legal teams. Foreigners are barred from practising Chinese law, as are Chinese nationals who work for foreign law firms.  Instead, some foreign companies, such as King & Wood Mallesons, have established so-called Swiss verein structures, where firms combine under a single brand but maintain separate finances. Others, such as HSF and Ashurst, have received formal licences to set up joint operations under a pilot programme in Shanghai. HSF will become the sixth global law firm to gain approval from Shanghai’s Bureau of Justice to integrate with a Chinese practice, allowing it and its Chinese partner, Kewei, to rebrand the China business as Herbert Smith Freehills Kewei.

The two firms will be able to work closely on individual deals and share the fees from such projects. HSF said the integration with Kewei would focus on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance and financial services regulation. Kewei, which has 20 partners and lawyers, was launched in 1995 in Shanghai. HSF, which posted profits of £306m for the year ending in April, has more than 300 lawyers in the region. “When clients come to see us, we [HSF and Kewei] are now under one umbrella and we are both responsible for them,” said May Tai, HSF’s Greater China managing partner, noting that both firms’ reputations will now be formally linked. Such joint operations are still in a pilot phase and do not have full recognition as legal entities. HSF follows firms such as Baker McKenzie, Linklaters and Hogan Lovells to link up with Chinese practices under the Shanghai initiative. King & Wood and Mallesons in 2011 became the first test in which a Chinese firm merged with a large western one. In 2015, Dentons merged with Dacheng, one of China’s biggest practices, to form what was then the largest global law firm by attorney headcount.

Firms are fighting for a share of China’s cross-border legal work, which has grown rapidly over the past decade as Chinese companies invest more overseas. But integration has had a mixed record as global groups, often drawing on more than a century of history, mix with Chinese practices with just a few decades of experience, according to several lawyers with experience in such tie-ups. People close to the partnerships said that integration in overlapping jurisdictions often led to clashes, with firms continuing to compete internally despite attempts to integrate practice. “In some cases, the foreign firm ends up attracting lots of business for the Chinese firm but not the other way around,” said one Beijing-based lawyer familiar with the partnerships.

Trump signs order banning Huawei in US

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that effectively prohibits US companies from using any telecoms equipment manufactured by China’s Huawei.

The executive order, which has been under consideration for a year, cites the International Emergency Economics Power Act, a law enacted in 1977 that gives the president broad power to control trade in response to a national emergency.

The order does not mention any countries or companies by name. It instead creates a review process that allows the US commerce secretary to review any transactions involving companies that are viewed as posing a security threat to the country, which would include Huawei.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a daily briefing in Beijing on Wednesday that “for some time, the US has been abusing its national power to tarnish the image of and crack down on specific Chinese companies.” Nevertheless, the United States has been actively pushing other countries not to use Huawei’s equipment in next-generation 5G networks that it calls “untrustworthy.”

HONG KONG HK

KMW expands in HK with partner duo from Mayer Brown

King & Wood Mallesons has hired two partners in Hong Kong: Ashley Wong joins the firm as its local aviation head from Mayer Brown, while Wang Yu joins as a partner from Morrison & Foerster, where he was of counsel.

Wong, has over 15 years of experience in aviation matters, advising airlines, leasing companies, maintenance and repair organisations and other market players on aircraft portfolio acquisitions and disposals, pre-delivery payments financing, sale and lease-back arrangements, acquisitions and disposals of new and used aircraft and engines, dry leasing and wet leasing of aircraft, long-term airframe and engine maintenance arrangements and other commercial arrangements.

Wang has more than 10 years of experience advising on securities offerings, private equity and other corporate transactions. He represents corporate clients, investment banks and private equity funds on transactional matters including capital markets, private equity and financial derivative products.  Wong and Wang join KWM a couple of months after the firm hired Ling Huang as a partner in its Beijing office.

LeadersInLaw Shanghai

Fieldfisher launch four-partner office in Shanghai

Fieldfisher has launched a four-partner office in Shanghai and has plans to double its partner count there by June.

LeadersInLaw Shanghai

The firm’s China managing partner, Zhaofeng Zhou, said: “Shanghai is a truly global city and was the natural location for our next office. Growth is an important part of our plan in China and we expect a further four partners to join the Shanghai office by June.”

Zhou joined JS Partners as managing partner in July last year from Bird & Bird’s Beijing office.

Fieldfisher managing partner Michael Chissick added: “We’ve been working closely to ensure continued growth of the firm in China – and the opening of a Shanghai office is a natural next step.”

Fieldfisher corporate partner and competition law specialist Liang Xing will lead the office. Xing is joining the firm from Chinese firm MyLink, where he was a partner.

He is joined by patent litigation partner Rocky Wu, who previously worked for Chinese firm JT&N.

Two of the firm’s Beijing partners – tax partner Baoen Bai and corporate partner Ming Zhang – will transfer to Shanghai.

Two additional partners are set to join the new office in March, with another two arriving in June.

Three years ago, Fieldfisher secured a presence in Shanghai through a Swiss verein combination with three-partner firm Ryser & Associates. However, that tie-up has since ended.

Under the verein structure, Fieldfisher operates as a licensed Chinese law firm, with access to all aspects of Chinese legal practice. The setup was pioneered in 2012 by legacy King & Wood when it merged with Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques. Last year, the same structure was used by Dentons when it merged with Beijing-based Dacheng.

Separately, it has emerged that Fieldfisher is in early discussions to hire partners in Olswang’s Munich office.

Source: Legal Week