Field Fisher’s new silk route

Achieving growth in Asia may be harder than many expected. Clifford Chance’s 2012/13 results, announced yesterday, were a case in point.

The magic circle firm posted a 2.5 per cent drop in global revenues for the 2012/13 financial year. However, revenue for the Asia-Pacific region was down 3 per cent from £185m to £179m, forcing CC to push back its target of doubling fee income in the region to £250m by 2014. The region now contributes 14 per cent of overall revenue.

With Asian opportunities and challenges in mind, City firm Field Fisher Waterhouse has entered the region via a different route. Instead of setting up shop there, the firm has sealed a tie-up with a three-partner Shanghai boutique under a newly launched Swiss Verein.

FFW is not the first Western firm to take this approach to developing a China practice. In 2007, US firm McDermott Will & Emery established a presence in Shanghai with a tie up with MWE China Law Offices, a Shanghai-based firm set up by two partners spinning off from Shanghai’s largest law firm AllBright.

But as we all know, tying the knot is the beginning of a whole new way of life.

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