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DLA Piper has hired two partners for its Greater China practice from Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques.
John Shi and Nicolas Groffman both join DLA Piper as partners in Beijing. The pair will also work closely with the firm’s Shanghai, Hong Kong and other Asia Pacific offices.
The news comes as Mallesons prepares to seal a merger with Chinese firm King & Wood. The Australian firm’s partners voted in favour of the tie-up last week (24 November 2011), with King & Wood’s partners understood to have given their backing to the deal this week.
Shi, who has been Mallesons’ Beijing chief representative since 2004, is a corporate lawyer with expertise in M&A, foreign direct investment and all types of corporate structures and operational issues in China.
Groffman, a partner in Mallesons’ Beijing office, specialises in technology, media and telecommunications, as well as having a broad M&A practice.
In a statement, DLA Piper’s joint CEO Nigel Knowles said: “As the Chinese government continues to encourage Chinese entities to invest overseas we anticipate a growing emphasis on outbound work.
“As a global law firm with strong US and EMEA offerings, DLA Piper is well placed to support this trend and the appointment of John and Nic will ensure we have a market leading international legal practice in China.”
It is expected that further lawyers from Mallesons’ Beijing office will follow Shi and Groffman to DLA Piper, which is also expected to make additions to its Shanghai team.
DLA Piper currently has nine partners and 62 other fee-earners working across Beijing and Shanghai, while Mallesons has five partners and 22 other fee-earners in these two cities.