Chinese firm Allbright Law Offices has signed its first formal cooperation agreement with a firm from another jurisdiction following the move of Allbright lawyer Ghislain de Mareuil to France’s De Pardieu Brocas Maffei.
De Mareuil has joined De Pardieu as a counsel to head up a Chinese desk in Paris, following two years as a foreign legal consultant at Allbright in Shanghai.
The non-exclusive cooperation arrangement is understood to be the first written agreement between Allbright and another firm, although the Chinese giant has referral relationships with firms in a number of jurisdictions.
The relationship will be managed in China by Allbright partner Donna Li.
De Mareuil joined Allbright in 2010 after two years as a partner at DLA Piper in Shanghai. He had previously worked for Paul Hastings and legacy firm Moquet Borde in both France and China.
He told The Lawyer his return to Paris had been driven by both professional and personal reasons.
“For a European-trained lawyer there are more and more opportunities back in Europe to work with China,” he said. De Mareuil added that he expected to work with Allbright for Chinese companies investing in Europe as well as European companies going to China.
He said the two firms were already working together on two acquisitions of Chinese companies and one acquisition of a European company.
Other French firms to have relationships in China include UGGC & Associés, which signed an exclusive partnership with Concord & Partners last year (10 January 2011).