China’s Zhong Lun picks up ex-Freshfields partner

Beijing-headquartered Zhong Lun has secured the services of former Freshfields partner Carl Cheng as a partner in Shanghai.

Cheng, joined Freshfields in 1993 and retired from the firm’s partnership in 2010, will commence his new position at the Chinese firm in the second half of this year. Cheng will bring more than 20 years of international practice experience and will strengthen Zhong Lun’s offerings in cross-border M&A, inbound and outbound investments and corporate governance matters.

“Chinese law firms are in a different stage of evolution from international firms. The Chinese firms are in the growth stage. It is fun practising as a lawyer whilst being part of a growth story. Zhong Lun is at that stage,” said Cheng.

Cheng is the most recent senior foreign lawyer to make the move from the China office of a leading international law firm to join Zhong Lun. In early 2011, Robert Lewis, former head of the Beijing office of Lovells, joined the firm’s Beijing office as international managing partner, Peter Ni, former head of the China tax team at White & Case joined the firm’s Shanghai office. In Hong Kong, Zhong Lun hired Clifford Ng, former administrative partner of K&L Gates’ Hong Kong office last October.

“This is part of a trend. I expect there may be a snowballing effect in the next a few months as more partners from international firms join Chinese firms,” Cheng added.

Zhong Lun is a full-service Chinese law firm with more than 160 partners and nearly 700 lawyers.  It has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Wuhan as well as in Hong Kong, Tokyo and more recently London (13 February 2012).