Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham is accompanying prime minister Gordon Brown on his current trip to India and China as the only representative of the legal profession.
The prime minister is leading a delegation of 25 business representatives that includes business minister John Hutton, Virgin boss Richard Branson and CBI chief Richard Lambert. The aim of the trip is to discuss trade and environment issues. The delegation will meet government officials and business contacts to discuss how to open the way for further cooperation between India and China and the UK.
The flight carrying the delegation, which set out for Beijing yesterday (17 January), was delayed after a British Airways plane crash landed several hundred yards short of its runway.
However, having safely reached China, the prime minister told a press conference that he wanted two-way trade with China's economy to increase by 50 per cent in the next two years and set out his vision of 100 new Chinese companies investing in the UK by 2010.
The delegation will head to India during the second leg of its five-day trip.
China and India are of growing importance to Clifford Chance, and the legal profession as a whole, as speculation mounts over the prospect of the liberalisation of their legal markets.
Clifford Chance already has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and would look to enter the Indian market as and when regulations allow.