Wragge & Co is set to open in China with German ally Graf von Westphalen in 2007. It will be the firm’s first office outside Europe.
The firm is seeking more European allies for the joint venture in Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
Wragges managing partner Quentin Poole said: “Guangzhou is much less lawyered than Shanghai and is the largest manufacturing centre in China.”
Graf co-managing partner Barbara Mayer commented: “Hamburg is the biggest place for Chinese business in Europe with more than 500 Chinese companies, and having an office in China would be a great signal for Chinese companies.
“We also have many clients who operate there.”
Wragges is targeting more European firms for the venture, but has said it will not rule out US or Chinese allies.
“We could have done it on our own, but if we go in with other firms we have more critical mass on the ground,” explained Poole.
The Chinese venture would create the firm’s second and third overseas offices. Wragges has offices in Brussels and London in addition to its Birmingham headquarters.
The China office will launch with a handful of lawyers, including IP partner Gordon Harris, who is leading the project.