Skadden set for Shanghai launch

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom will open an office in Shanghai on Monday (18 February), the firm’s fifth in the Asia region and its second in mainland China.

The Shanghai office will focus on M&A, corporate finance and real estate. It is headed by corporate partner Greg Miao and real estate partner Ed Sheremeta and launches today with four lawyers in total.

Miao is head of Skadden’s China practice who until today has split his time between the firm’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices. A Shanghai native, Miao has represented US, PRC and other clients in China-related deals since 1985 and led the Skadden team that advised China Construction Bank on its $9.2bn IPO in 2005, the world’s largest that year.

Miao, en route to Shanghai from Tokyo where last week Skadden celebrated the office’s 20th anniversary, said the key reason Skadden was opening in Shanghai was the level of economic activity in the city and adjacent areas.

“That is the most important reason, but also if you look at the investment banks and private equity houses which are headquartered in Hong Kong, many of them are opening up in Beijing and Shanghai,” said Miao. “Our strategy is in line with our clients’.”

Sheremeta rejoined Skadden in September last year from the securitised products group at Morgan Stanley Japan. He had previously been an associate at Skadden for six years, between 2000 and 2006, before returning as a partner. He will be based in the Tokyo office until the second quarter of 2008.

Skadden’s Shanghai opening brings the total number of offices the firm has in Asia to five. It also has an office in Sydney.

The firm has been operating in mainland China since 1991, when it opened in Beijing, and was among the first overseas firms to receive a license to operate an office in Japan two decades ago, when the country liberalised its laws concerning foreign lawyers. Skadden opened in Tokyo with three lawyers. The office is now up to 35 lawyers.