Bakers splits with CNOOC post internal investigation

Close contact between in-house lawyers and panel firms has always been seen as a good thing but for China’s state-owned energy giant China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) it has just been the cause of a mammoth fight.

Both Baker & McKenzie and senior CNOOC lawyer Kang Xin suffered after the company criticised Xin for not disclosing a conflict of interest with the firm, whose husband is the Bakers’ chief representative in Beijing.

In an email seen by The Lawyer general counsel Zhao Liguo said Kang was guilty of “violating company discipline and rules” and “taking advantage of her position” by accepting invitations from Bakers and helping it win work.

CNOOC cut its ties with Bakers last year as a result and Kang has left the company.

Elsewhere EDF has been trying to get closer to private practice – in career development at least – by overhauling its promotion structure for in-house lawyers.

The company is also running a panel review, in which Bakers is in the running along Herbert Smith Freehills and Squire Sanders among others. Busy times.

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