Pinsents boosts China practice with more Salans hires

Pinsent Masons has followed up its hire of two Salans partners in Shanghai by taking 13 more lawyers and 12 support staff from the European firm.

Pinsent Masons announced that it hired Salans’ Shanghai managing partner Bernd-Uwe Stucken and fellow Shanghai corporate partner Wei Liu in June (18 June 2012). The partners have now also been joined by a team of 13 lawyers, including of counsel Yun Wei, who headed Salans’ China tax practice, and 12 support staff from their old firm.

Stucken and Liu were originally expected to join Pinsent Masons in November after completing their notice periods, but left Salans on 31 August after agreeing an early release..

In total, nine associates and two of counsel are joining Pinsent Masons from Salans. All but one of the new joiners are based in Shanghai. Corporate of counsel Aiping Bao is based in Beijing.

The new joiners will take the firm’s total number of staff in Shanghai to 50, and add real estate, tax and competition expertise to Pinsent Masons’ offering in China.

In a statement, Pinsent Masons managing partner David Ryan said: “This news marks another important step in the development of our Chinese practice. There are strong links between Shanghai, our Munich office and our German desk in London, especially given the strength of manufacturing in Germany and the importance of both Germany and Shanghai to our advanced manufacturing and technology services sector. The arrival of the team also coincides with the firm’s launch in Paris (31 August 2012), strengthening our ability to support European clients across Asia.”

Between 2009 and 2011, Pinsent Masons and Salans were alliance partners but both firms decided to abandon the tie up in December (12 December 2011).

The departure of Stucken and Liu was seen as a blow for Salans, which had not long decided to close its Hong Kong and Beijing offices and focus on Shanghai (10 May 2012) in China. Berlin corporate partner and Salans board member Hermann Meller has now assumed the role of Shanghai managing partner, replacing Stucken, and has been charged with rebuilding the firm’s China practice.

Regarding the latest departures, a spokeswoman for Salans said that the firm wished the departing staff well and that it is still committed to China and sees Shanghai as its focal point there.

Full list of Salans lawyers joining Pinsent Masons:

Senior associates Michael Lin and Ginger Zhou; associates Yi Xiao, Jiazi Guo, Liang Xin, Furong Ren, Robbie Chen, Haiting Xu and Fei Yang; of counsel Yun Wei (head of tax) and Aiping Bao (Beijing).