Kirkland confirms plans for imminent Beijing launch

Kirkland & Ellis has named Shanghai corporate partner Li Chuan as the partner who will lead its proposed Beijing office.

The firm has confirmed that it has applied for a licence for a Beijing office, which will be the firm’s second base in mainland China. It is understood that the Beijing launch could be as early as June, but the plans are still subject to regulatory approval.

Li, currently the firm’s chief representative in Shanghai, will lead the new office in Beijing once it is open, and will spend time in both Shanghai and Beijing. Li opened Kirkland’s Shanghai office in 2009 (1 September 2009), together with partner Li Xiaoyang, who joined Kirkland from Chinese outlet Jun He in 2008 and returned to the Chinese firm after a three year stint (6 December 2011).

Li Chuan’s practice focuses on private equity. He joined Kirkland in 2001 in Chicago and is the firm’s founding partner in Hong Kong (26 May 2006) and Shanghai. Qualified in Hong Kong, England and Wales and the US, Li has advised on a large number of cross-border M&A and other complex corporate and private equity transactions.

He has also advised on formation of private equity funds in the US, China and other Asian countries. A recent highlight is his involvement in the S$2.4bn (£1.3bn) take-private sale by Israeli investment company Koor Industries of Makhteshim Agan Industries to China National Chemical Corporation.

Kirkland declined to comment, citing that the opening is still pending regulatory approval.