Bevan Ashford and MacRoberts gain Eastern friend; referral network in talks with US Law Firm Group
Advoc, the referral network which includes Bevan Ashford and MacRoberts, has selected its first Chinese member and plans to step up links with a group of US firms. Original plans to set up a joint office in China have been shelved and Advoc's Asian branch has selected Beijing firm Jincheng Law to fill the gap in its geographical spread. Advoc Europe's company secretary Andrew Rothwell, who heads commercial property for Bevan Ashford's West Country practice, said: "There were complications with Chinese regulations over setting up an office that was a representative of a number of practices. It was more straightforward to find our own Chinese member." The 50-lawyer firm will officially become a member of Advoc at an August launch meeting in Beijing. The referral group is also planning to build relationships with the United States Law Firm Group, a network of 19 firms. Rothwell and Danish representative Niels Opstrup have just returned from discussions with the group. Rothwell said: "We're not interested in setting up an Advoc group in the US, but we felt that we should build up connections with a US group. The US group is already very interested in our Australian members. "Another thing that is of interest to us and the Americans is that we're both looking at how we can cover South America. The Portuguese and Spanish members of Advoc Europe and some of the American firms have set up links there, so there is scope for taking advantage of that and possibly setting up a network." Bevan Ashford's most significant Exeter deal over the last financial year was advising on the English Law aspects of a e3bn (£1.88bn) medium-term note programme launched by Portuguese Banco Totta & Açores. Rothwell said: "We see the importance of developing an international feel for our firm. It's good for attracting good lawyers to the West Country. We see membership of Advoc and these developments in the US as a recruitment tool for us, as well as providing services to existing clients when they want to do deals in those locations. It also earns us Brownie points with our clients if we provide them with commercial opportunities through our contacts."