China giant targets City outpost

China’s largest firm by lawyer headcount is drawing up plans for a ­London launch after expanding its reach with a base in Chicago.

Dacheng, which has 2,000 lawyers, is the latest China giant to target the UK after Yingke unveiled plans for a City launch earlier this year (The Lawyer, 26 September).

While Dacheng has yet to finalise the details of its ­London launch, the establishment of a Chicago office comes after partner Huang Zhengdong joined from Shanghai-based HaoLiWen in July 2011. In addition to his role at HaoLiWen, Huang has run Chicago boutique John Z Huang & Associates since 1998. This firm has been absorbed by Dacheng and will trade as Dacheng Chicago Law Office.

“The need to have a stronger platform to attract and service larger US clients doing business in China has never been greater,” said Huang. “This move gives us access to 42 branches in China and elsewhere.”

Dacheng opened its first US office in Los Angeles in June 2009 and expanded to New York in October 2010. While all Dacheng’s ­international branches have access to Dacheng’s global network and resources, the branches are not yet fully integrated financially.