Macfarlanes is set to second a partner to Slaughter and May’s Chinese best friend as part of a move to strengthen its relationship with the firm.
Environment partner Paul Davies will be based in Jun He’s Beijing head office for a few months, becoming Macfarlanes’ first partner secondee in Asia and giving the City firm capacity on the ground in the region for the first time.
Macfarlanes said it felt the time was right to “put more resources into the region” to drive its Chinese practice.
Jun He has a non-exclusive referral arrangement with Slaughters, which said the secondment would have no effect on its relationship with the 100-partner Chinese firm.
The Chinese independent has itself sent associate secondees to Macfarlanes and other UK firms in the past, including Slaughters, but no formal and regular secondment scheme exists and Davies’ secondment is not part of a partner swap.
Macfarlanes senior partner Charles Martin said: “Of course we want to strengthen our relationship with Jun He, a pre-eminent independent Chinese law firm. Naturally as an independent law firm they work closely with other firms, and so do we.”
But, Martin added: “It’s more a question of giving us a base for us to develop our Chinese practice.”
Environment head Davies, a former Slaughters senior associate, said: “China is obviously an important location for us and it’s a region we’ve been looking at and exploring for a number of years. We think that the time has come to put more resources into the region.
“I’m going out there to be based in Jun He’s offices to enhance and develop our current local relationships.”
A Jun He partner said: “Our firm is happy to strengthen relationships with firms from other countries – it’s not particular to one firm. I don’t think it’s going to affect the relationship with Slaughter and May.”
Slaughters executive partner Graham White said: “Jun He have always been close to a number of firms and I don’t think this will affect that.”