Eversheds left partnerless in Shanghai

Eversheds has named Shanghai-based corporate of counsel Jack Cai as the new head of its Shanghai office following two partner exits, including former Shanghai managing partner Jean-Marc Deschandol.

Deschandol is understood to have left the firm a month ago and is yet to land a new position. He joined the firm as the Shanghai managing partner in December 2010 from legacy Norton Rose, where he was the former China managing partner.

The only other partner in the office, employment lawyer Iris Duchetsmann, who joined at the beginning of the year from legacy Salans’ Shanghai office (14 January 2013), is also leaving the firm at the end of this month.

Sources on the ground said a small number of associates who joined with Duchetsmann from Salans are also moving with her to join another firm in Shanghai.

The Shanghai office, which was opened in 2006 (8 September 2006), currently has nine fee-earners. Sources in the firm also indicated that Cai, who previously practised at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Shanghai office and Clayton Utz’s Perth office, would be promoted to partnership in the near future.

Eversheds confirmed the two departures but said the Shanghai office would remain open.

“Eversheds continues to see great opportunities in China and is firmly committed to growing the firm’s presence and resource in Shanghai and our newly opened office in Beijing,” said Stephen Kitts, Eversheds Asia managing partner.

“The [Shanghai] office has now reached a level of maturity where a clearer and more integrated focus is required to take the next step to bring it fully in line with Eversheds international strategy,” he added.

“These recent changes present an opportunity for us to establish a new strategy for the development of our Shanghai office which will now be led by Jack Cai. Jack has strong connections with the Eversheds international network and the Shanghai business community and is enthusiastic about our plans for the future development of the office and more generally in China,” said Kitts.

Eversheds opened a Beijing office in May with two corporate partners joining from Morgan Lewis and Uria Menendez respectively (17 May 2013).

The firm revamped its Asia management team earlier this year in a bid to drive closer integration between the region and the rest of its global business (5 February 2013). As part of the planned restructuring, former Asia managing partner Nick Seddon stepped down from the role and left the firm (24 January 2013) and Kitts, who relocated from Birmingham to Hong Kong in 2012 (16 October 2012), was appointed to the Asia managing partner position.