A&O scoops former Freshfields China chief

Allen & Overy has poached magic circle rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s former China practice head for its Beijing office.

Thomas Jones, a US and Hong Kong-qualified corporate M&A lawyer, had headed Freshfields’ China antitrust, trade and competition practice in Beijing before joining A&O.

A&O’s Asian head Brian Harrison said: “The appointment is a testament to our commitment to China as well as a reflection of the firm’s strategy of continuing the expansion of our corporate capability on the ground.”

Jones, who joined A&O on 1 May, gives the firm two partners in Beijing, and 15 in its China Group.

A&O’s Beijing managing partner Peter Thorp said: “Tom’s extensive China experience, language skills and strong reputation in the China market will greatly enhance the capabilities of Allen & Overy’s China practice and further bolster our US law capability in China, in partnership with our New York office and other 230 US lawyers in the firm.”

Freshfields lost another China head in February when Michael Moser retired from Freshfields’ partnership to be replaced by New York-qualified M&A specialist Douglas Markel. Moser left to join O’Melveny & Myers, where he now co-heads the firm’s Asian operation with Howard Chao.