China’s Fangda poaches second Freshfields partner

Chinese firm Fangda has hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s China antitrust head Michael Han as a partner in Beijing, its second lateral hire from the magic circle firm in two years.

Han joined Freshfields’ Beijing office in November 2007 as a senior counsel after spending a year and a half with the firm’s US antitrust practice group in Washington DC. He joined the partnership in 2009 and later became the firm’s China antitrust, competition and trade practice chief.

He started practising competition law since 2005 and is one of the first lawyers in China to focus on this area. Prior to private practice, he worked at Ministry of Foreign trade and Economic Cooperation (now Ministry of Commerce), which is currently responsible for foreign investment approval and merger review in China.

Fangda is one of the elite firms in China, with 250 lawyers including 50 partners. The firm’s existing antitrust practice is led by Beijing partner Ma Chen. The firm hopes to double the size of the antirust team soon after Han’s joining.

“We see antitrust and competition as an area of great potential and there are a very small number of firms that have an established practice. It is a fast growing practice of the firm and we are hoping to build it up further with the latest appointment,” said Jonathan Zhou, the founding partner of Fangda’s Beijing office.

In 2012, the Chinese firm hired Hong Kong litigation partner Peter Yuen from Freshfields to launch its Hong Kong office (23 April 2012).

Following Han’s departure, Freshfields’ antitrust practice will be led counsel and deputy head Ninette Dodoo, who joined the firm’s Beijing office from Clifford Chance last year (30 October 2013).