Allen & Overy has scooped the first piece of work on the 2008 Beijing Olympics, beating more than 100 local and international firms which applied
The firm has been appointed by the Beijing Municipal Development and Planning Commission to advise on building six key facilities. The deal will last for years and could stretch into billions of dollars. While more than 100 firms pitched for the work, the commission shortlisted 80. A committee from the commission then carried out spot investigations of those shortlisted, turning up at offices unannounced. The work will include advising on the building of the Olympic village, national stadium, national gymnasium, a swimming centre and a convention and exhibition centre, plus general commercial facilities. Michael Liu, one of the partners leading the deal, attributed the firm's success in the tender to its strength in the Beijing office, even though the deal is being led out of Hong Kong. "A key reason for our success in China, I believe, is that we have truly integrated offices in China - in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong - staffed by leading lawyers in their field," he told The Lawyer. The firm also advised on the Bank of China IPO in July. Another contributing factor may have been the experience of banking partner Grant Fuzi, who is co-leading the deal. Fuzi, who rejoined A&O 18 months ago after a previous stint in the London office in the mid-1990s, advised on the Sydney Olympics while he was a partner at Australian firm Clayton Utz.