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US firm Bingham McCutchen will soon add Beijing to its roster of global offices after securing a licence from China’s Ministry of Justice to open a representative office in the city.
The Beijing office will be the firm’s first in mainland China and its third in Asia. In 2006, it established an office in Hong Kong, which is registered as a foreign law firm (13 November 2006). Later that year, the firm expanded its existing Tokyo office via a merger with 20-lawyer Japanese firm Sakai & Mimura (13 December 2006). In 2007, its Tokyo office was further bolstered through the addition of 22-lawyer New Tokyo International law office.
The firm’s Beijing expansion comes two years after the firm hired Michael Crain, who is the administrative director of Bingham’s Beijing Initiative. Prior to his role at Bingham, Crain served as the chief of staff to the US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China for three years.
He is using his experience in international relations and US government affairs to advise the firm on expanding its presence in China.
To ensure a smooth launch in China, the firm enlisted Beijing-based PRC law firm Guantao to provide it with market entry, regulatory and application services advice. The team advising Bingham was headed by partners Xiao Hongming and Xu Ling.
Bingham has more than 1,100 lawyers across 13 offices in the US, the UK and Asia. Its Hong Kong office has six partners and seven other fee-earners. The firm is known for its client representation in financial restructuring and distressed debt, corporate and M&A, investment funds, and structured finance and derivatives transactions.
Currently, there are over 110 representative offices of foreign firms (including Hong Kong) from 16 countries in Beijing.