Clyde & Co gains approval for Beijing office launch

Clyde & Co has become the lastest firm to have gained regulatory approval for a Beijing opening from China’s Ministry of Justice.

The Beijing office will be its third office in Greater China, following Hong Kong and Shanghai which were established in 1981 and 2006 (16 January 2006) respectively.

The new office will be led by corporate partner Lynia Lau as the chief representative. It is expected to be fully operational in coming months.

Lau, based in Hong Kong, has a strong focus on outbound investment work for Chinese state-owned groups in the energy sector. The new office will also have a primary focus on outbound investment in the natural resources, energy and infrastructure sectors, as well as asset and project finance and dispute resultion.

“Our client base in China has transformed significantly in the past two to three years. Whilst we continue to support international clients in their business activities and legal needs in China, more than half of our revenue is now generated from Chinese and China-based clients,” said Ik Wei Chong, partner and chief representative of the firm’s Shanghai office who is also on the firm’s Asia Pacific board.

“The majority of these Chinese clients, particularly the state-owned enterprises, are headquartered in Beijing and therefore our on-the-ground presence will help us provide more effective and seamless service to our clients there,” he added.

Currently, the firm has 16 partners and 58 other legal staff in Shanghai and Hong Kong. With the Beijing launch, Clydes will have eight offices and associated offices across the Asia Pacific region. In India, Clyde & Co has an association with Clasis Law, a full service Indian law firm and in Mongolia the firm has an alliance with Khan Lex Advocates. It is seeking an association in Indonesia to tap into the largest economy in South East Asia.

Clydes is among a raft of law firms that have recently received the go-ahead for its China expansion.

Prior to Clydes, a number of other firms have also received their go-ahead for its Beijing expansion, including Ashurst (20 March 2013), Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (8 January 2013), and Stephenson Harwood(1 May 2013). Kirklands & Ellis has applied for a license and the application is pending for approval (30 April 2013).

It comes just weeks after the firm raided DAC Beachcroft for a four partner team to launch in Madrid (16 April 2013). The firm is in negotiations to take heavyweight insurance partners Ignacio Figuerol, Ricardo Garrido, Pablo Guillen and Miguel Relano for an imminent launch in the city.