Coudert break-up begins as Orrick scoops China practice

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe has pulled off a bold coup by scooping the majority of Coudert Brothers’ respected China practice.

Despite the anger and threatened suits that Orrick endured when it precipitated Coudert’s downfall by taking the firm’s London and Moscow offices, the West Coast firm has reached an agreement over the transfer of all of Coudert’s Hong Kong and Shanghai practices and most of its Beijing office.

Orrick is the first firm to benefit from Coudert’s decision to split. As first revealed by last week (August 18, 2005), Coudert partners last week voted to allow its partners to negotiate new deals with new firms.

Orrick will take six partners from Coudert’s Hong Kong office, one partner in Shanghai and two partners in Beijing. Orrick has snared a total of 40 lawyers in China.

Orrick chairman Ralph Baxter said: “Orrick is privileged to continue Coudert’s China legacy with this superb team of lawyers.

“The work these lawyers have accomplished in China is truly remarkable. They were the first to take the bold move to establsh a legal presence in Hong Kong and Beijing.

“They have an unparalleled reputation in China and they bring an intimate knowledge of Chinese law, economics and culture.”

Coudert chairman Clyde Rankin said: “As previously announced, the partners of Coudert authorised the firm to enter into combinations of offices and practice groups with other firms.”