Simmons to open Beijing head office

Simmons & Simmons is to reorganise its China practice, with plans to open a Beijing office that will ­operate as a national hub.

The firm’s partnership recently voted to open an office in the Chinese capital. Managing partner Mark Dawkins told The Lawyer that the firm had “advanced plans” to launch there.

“We want to develop Beijing as a hub, with a focus particularly on clients operating in energy, infrastructure and TMT,” he explained, adding: “We want to capture work from both state-owned enterprises and state-owned banks investing [in these areas] outside China. This is in line with our firm-wide sector strategy.”

The firm has discussed the possibility of a Beijing office to add to its other Chinese offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai for some time, but withdrew a previous licence application after regional managing partner Huen Wong left for Fried Frank in 2006.

But Dawkins confirmed that the Beijing licence was now “in the pipeline”. This comes as Michael Hickman, who also left in 2006 for Fried Frank, re-joined the Shanghai office earlier this month.