Herbert Smith is to extend its Asian dispute resolution practice to mainland China with a team in Shanghai.
Litigation partner Graeme Johnston told The Lawyer: "We had been doing an increasing amount of work for multinationals with problems in China and for Chinese companies with problems outside [the mainland]. We were being asked by our clients to set this up. We already do a lot of this type of work out of Hong Kong and we see significant growth potential in having this practice on the mainland."
Herbert Smith will work closely with Chinese firm King & Wood, which will advise on People's Republic of China law, while Johnston will "provide general strategic advice and coordination".
Johnston said joint ventures in China "carried inherent risks", with the majority of work to come from joint ventures in the services, manufacturing and energy sectors, as well as from a number of financial institutions.
Asian head of dispute resolution Mark Johnson said: "The China market will continue to play an increasingly significant role in our firm-wide strategy. This move is the next step in those plans."