Baker Botts seeks China licence

Baker Botts has joined the race to enter the growing Chinese mainland legal market, lodging a local licence application last week.

A spokesperson for the firm confirmed that the Houston-headquartered firm had applied to the Chinese Ministry Of Justice to establish a new office in Beijing early next year.

Head of the firm’s new Hong Kong office David Powers is overseeing the process. The attempt to enter China follows the firm’s launch in Hong Kong in May.

The application follows those of a swath of firms looking to either enter the market or bolster their local presences there.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton also recently lodged an application to launch in Beijing, while Pinsent Masons has expanded its Shanghai operation by poaching a partner from prominent Chinese law firm Boss & Young.

Baker Botts closed its Azerbaijan arm in August, moving most of the team to Moscow in favour of focusing on the Asian market.