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King & Wood Mallesons and SJ Berwin will combine to a $1bn global law firm headquartered in Asia tomorrow (1 November).
The combined firm will be known as King & Wood Mallesons globally except in the UK, Europe and Middle East, where it will be branded as King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin for a transitional period before dropping the SJ Berwin part permanently.
The enlarged King & Wood Mallesons Swiss Verein will consist of four partnerships – Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong and legacy SJ Berwin in the UK, Europe and Middle East. The network has more than 2,700 lawyers in 30 locations. Turnover stands at $1bn (£620m), with 70 per cent, or £436m, generated by Asia Pacific region and 30 per cent, or £184m, brought in by legacy SJ Berwin.
King & Wood Mallesons global chairman, Wang Junfeng, based in Beijing said in a statement: “This is a historic day as King & Wood Mallesons and SJ Berwin combine and we continue to implement our strategy to build a top tier global law firm that has strength, depth and genuine capability in each of the markets in which it is present.”
The firm’s global managing partner Stuart Fuller, based in Hong Kong, said: “Since announcing the combination on 31 July we have seen a significant increase in the number of our clients exploring the potential opportunities of the Asia market, with the firm already working on numerous joint matters and having completed a number of them.”
Co-deputy chairman Stephen Kon added: “In an increasingly crowded market, our powerful Asia Pacific base is our key difference and means that we are best placed to meet the current and future needs of our clients.”
King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin is the first ever tie up involving two major UK and Chinese firms. It was voted through on 31 July (31 July 2013) and the merger discussion was first revealed by The Lawyer in November 2012 (12 November 2012).