Camerons partner defects to head A&O's Beijing office

Allen & Overy (A&O) has taken on CMS Cameron McKenna partner Yongfu Li as chief representative (managing partner) of its Beijing office

Li, who joins as a consultant, has headed Camerons' Beijing office since 1999.
Li claimed that A&O's reputation in finance was what attracted him. “I believe A&O has a much better platform for me,” he said. “Like most firms, A&O does foreign direct investment and related M&A work, but its strengths in areas like project finance and banking were what convinced me.
“I share A&O's ideas about developing a China practice where all the offices and practice groups are fully integrated.”
Li was recruited by A&O's Asian corporate head Michael Liu and corporate partner Kenneth Chan. A corporate lawyer qualified to practise in Canada, the Republic of China and the UK, Li will oversee Beijing's operations. He will be the second consultant in the office and the seventh fee-earner.
Li said he expected some of his clients at Camerons to follow him over to A&O, but would not name them.
Camerons senior partner in Asia Chris Clarke said: “Obviously, we wish Yongfu Li well, but we're confident going forward into the future with our new team.”
Camerons has replaced Li with a senior associate from Simmons & Simmons who has been made up to partner by the firm.
Simmons lawyer Luke Fili, who previously worked with Clarke at Denton Hall, has already started at Camerons' Beijing office as a partner. Fili will work with Molly Riley, the former head of Masons' Ghangzhou office, who Camerons poached last autumn. Riley currently splits her time between Beijing and Shanghai, where the French and German CMS members have offices respectively.