De Brauw and Hengeler join Asian rush

Chinese investment into Europe is continuing apace, and law firms are keen to make every effort to grab a piece of the action. While few have gone quite as far as SJ Berwin, merging with Sino-Australian firm King & Wood Mallesons last month, more and more are trying to get a foothold in the East.

The latest in are best friends De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Hengeler Mueller. Both firms will launch in Shanghai next year, once the requisite regulatory approvals have been obtained.

De Brauw is relocating corporate partner Gaby Smeenk to Shanghai to open its office there. Shanghai is the firm’s third Asian office, adding to Beijing and Singapore.

Meanwhile Hengeler has just promoted Chinese-born Tu Changfeng to its partnership, and is sending him home to head up its Shanghai base. Corporate partner Johannes Adolff is also moving to China, and another two partners will support the Shanghai team by splitting their time between China and Germany.

The news follows Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners’ confirmation earlier this year that it is launching in Hong Kong. The fact that three of Europe’s biggest hitters have decided that they still need to be in Asia is just testament to the fact that the need for better cross-border links is continuing. Look out for more Asian expansion next year.

PS. The Lawyer published its annual Litigation 50 on Monday, our annual look at the world’s biggest contentious practices. Get a preview of the results in this week’s cover story, or click here for the full report.

PPS. This is the last Lawyer in Europe email for 2013, so we’d like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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