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LONDON firm Nabarro Nathanson has signed a deal with Hong Kong practice Livasiri & Co to take on work from the colony and the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Formalised last week, the deal focuses on banking, corporate/commercial, construction and litigation work.
Livasiri, which has eight partners and 40 additional fee earners, will recommend Nabarros for UK, European and Middle East work. In return Nabarros will second staff to Hong Kong and provide expertise to the nine-year-old practice.
Nabarros' senior partner David Bramson said the firm, which recently cut its ties with US associates Weil Gotshal & Manges, believed there was "a real opportunity" to develop the relationship with Livasiri.
The Hong Kong firm has well-established links with the PRC and has had an association with lawyers in the area since shortly after its opening in 1986. Among its clients are the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China.
"There is a large amount of work coming out of the PRC as the markets open up," said Bramson. "And there is a demand for legal advice that requires a solid commercial understanding."
He said no Nabarros staff would yet be based in the region on a full-time basis, but "we have got people from various departments who will be needed by Livasiri over the next few months".
"Some of the work will be carried out from here and other work will require people to be out there," he said.
"But we haven't put that finally in place yet."
Bramson said the two firms had been discussing a potential association for the past year and discussions had "gelled" in recent months.
"It is clearly a very exciting place to be and an exciting time to be there, and it's quite clear that Livasiri are very well thought of, particularly in relation to work coming into Hong Kong and the PRC."
In a separate move, Nabarros has also invested in the establishment of a new practice in Georgia.
The Tbilisi office, the first step in the firm's planned expansion into Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, will be run by local lawyer Giorgi Begiashvili who spent a year working with Nabarros.
The office will trade as Begiashvili & Company Limited, servicing clients in English, Georgian and Russian.