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Slaughter and May is set to open an office in Beijing, in a rare international push by the elite City firm.
Slaughters will launch the office alongside best friend firms De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek of the Netherlands and Uria Menendez of Spain, which both announced today they would also open in the Chinese capital.
Senior partner Chris Saul said the move was a “natural development” in the international strategy of Slaughter and May.
“It is a logical step for us to develop our co-operation with leading Chinese firms and to join forces with our best friends in establishing a physical presence in Beijing,” he added.
Slaughter and May has small outlets in Brussels, Paris and Hong Kong but its international strategy has traditionally been built around referral relationships with a network of independent firms.
The Beijing office will be headed up by Hong Kong-based corporate partner George Goulding. The Beijing branch will feature Goulding as the sole partner, assisted by two associates. It will practice English and Hong Kong Law.
The firm's Hong Kong office has around 30 lawyers.
De Brauw and Uria will run their Beijing offices from the same building as Slaughter and May, as in Brussels, but the three operations will be separate.
The opening is subject to approval from Chinese regulatory authorities, but the firm hopes to launch in the city by mid-2009.
Saul added: "We see this as an extension of the Hong Kong office. We've had a office there since 1974 and what we have found is a growing focus on China."
Slaughters' Chinese allies are Jun He, Haiwen and King & Wood.