Will Britain's China Push Benefit Its Law Firms?
Whether or not their government’s push pays off, the major British law firms are hardly dependent on Sino–U.K. deals alone. Over the past two decades, they have become top firms in most of the other major European Union jurisdictions and are well-positioned to capture the full range of business between China and Europe. The large amount of business between China and Australia was also the major impetus for launches Down Under by Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy, as well as the combinations that created Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright.
Earlier this year, Sino-Australian tie-up King & Wood Mallesons placed a vote of confidence in the British legal profession by adding SJ Berwin to its Swiss verein. Zhang Yi, a Hong Kong partner at the firm, stresses that it’s not just about the U.K.
“It’s not just because SJ Berwin is a British firm,” he says. “They have offices in Paris, Milan, Brussels, Berlin and Luxembourg, and that covers the whole southern and western Europe. With China’s ‘go-out’ policy, Europe will continue to be an attractive target.”