US firm Katten Muchin opens in Shanghai

Chicago-based law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman has opened an office in Shanghai. It is the firm’s first Asia office and second international base following London.

Xue Feng, chair of the firm’s Asia-China practice, will relocate from Chicago to Shanghai to lead the new office as the Shanghai managing partner. Xue joined the firm in November 2008 from DLA Piper’s Chicago office, prior to which he spent time working in Shanghai and Beijing. His practice focuses on complex foreign direct investment projects, private equity and venture capital investments and cross-border M&A.

Partner Geoff AuYeung will also relocate from Chicago to Shanghai to support the new office. According to the firm’s website, two senior counsel and an associate are currently based in Shanghai.

“Katten’s new office in Shanghai represents a big step in the growth of our firm internationally and will allow us to significantly expand our existing China practice,” said Vincent Sergi, national managing partner.

“With China’s continued economic growth and importance in the global economy, having on-the-ground resources in Shanghai will help us enhance the services we’re able to provide our clients in this market.”

The opening in Shanghai follows the appointment of former Chicago mayor Richard Daley as of counsel in June 2011. Daley served as Chicago’s mayor for 22 years and has been a strong advocate of fostering connections between China and the US.

Commenting on the new office, the firm said in a statement: “It’s vitally important for businesses in the United States to recognise the growing prominence of China in our global economy and the wide-ranging opportunities there.”

Katten Muchin has more than 600 lawyers across nice offices. Its 2010 turnover was $443m.

In the past few months, a number of other US firms have also opened offices in China. Most recently, Covington & Burling has hired Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s Shanghai partner Eva Wang with the intention of opening a Shanghai office once it has gained regulatory approval (9 February 2012).