Perkins Coie opens second China office

Perkins Coie is to open an office in Shanghai two years after it was forced to close in Hong Kong because of an economic downturn in the region.

The US firm received approval in August from the China Ministry of Justice to open in Shanghai. The firm also has an office in Beijing.

Perkins Coie has been active in China for more than 30 years. Its practice in the region has two main strands – personal estate planning for expatriates and IP.

The latter strand will form the basis of the new Shanghai office, with the client base primarily consisting of Chinese companies with outbound US legal requirements. In general, Perkins Coie is well known for emerging company matters, but also includes big technology clients such as Microsoft.

Perkins Coie’s managing partner Bob Giles said that IP was a significant part of the firm’s practice and that despite the Hong Kong closure this had remained the case in Asia.

“At the time of the Hong Kong closure we made a conscious decision to maintain IP,” Giles said. “Shanghai is a significant centre for IP and life sciences, so at the start of 2005 we applied for our licence.”

The new office will be in the Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, a centre for innovation. It will be staffed by two lawyers, Fabiola Suwanto and Zhaohui (Zoe) Wang.

With the end of the financial year approaching, projected figures suggest Perkins is on track to better what Giles describes as the firm’s “best year ever”.

Perkins achieved gross revenue of $318m (£168.44) and average profit per equity partner of $610,000 (£323,100) in 2005. “We’re on track to make more than $700,000 (£370,770) for 2006, or maybe the high sixes,” claims Giles. “Revenue I’d guess will be in the region of $340m (£180.1m) or $350m (£185.39m).”