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Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw (MBRM) is soon to open a Hong Kong office in order to provide a China legal offering that it has conspicuously lacked up until now, The Lawyer can reveal.
Likely to open by January, it will be a fully fledged MBRM office rather than a consulting office, such as the firm currently offers in Beijing and Shanghai.
It is understood that London corporate partner Stephen Bottomley will be parachuted in to start up the office, although it is unclear whether or not he will be local managing partner.
Sources within the firm said the office would have an initial banking and finance, and corporate capability, hopefully expanding into other areas. Real estate and IP are understood to be particularly of interest. The hire of a prominent local finance partner is thought to be pending.
MBRM is ambitious in its client aspirations. It is aiming to advise both existing clients on investing in China, as well as domestic clients undertaking outbound investment.
In a statement the firm said: "Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw has submitted an application for a licence to the Hong Kong Law Society to set up an office in Hong Kong." The application is yet to be approved.
MBRM has been hiring partners with China expertise for some time, most recently Washington DC-based trade partner Duane Layton and former Chinese foreign affairs ministry official Connie Wang.
It also netted three former high-ranking trade officials to head Chinese consulting offices.