Bird & Bird plans to be high flyer in China; Aussie firm’s UK team is poached

Bird & Bird eyes Chinese law venture… Aussie firm loses team to London rival… Squires hires in Perth… government minister calls for foreign firms to be allowed to practice in India… and lawyers go on the rampage in a police station!

Bird & Bird plans to be high flyer in China
A pilot scheme to allow foreign firms to practise Chinese law could be good news for Bird & Bird. The firm is planning closer ties with Lawjay Partners which could lead to the firm being one of ten allowed to practise Chinese or PRC law across the country. Despite a strong team in Hong Kong, restrictions mean that its offices in mainland China have not been big earners. If this scheme proves successful it's hoped that there may eventually be a relaxation of restrictions which would allow more foreign law firms to practice in China.

Aussie firm’s UK team is poached
A partner and a four-strong team has left Australian firm Webb Henderson’s UK office to join Shepherd & Wedderburn. The team includes Gordon Moir who set up Webb’s London operation in 2011. Shepherd & Wedderburn has seen turnover grow by 7 per cent in the last financial year.

Squires hires in Perth
Squire Patton Boggs has significantly expanded its Corporate Practice Group with the appointment of partner Simon Rear, who joins the firm’s Perth office with a team of lawyers from Allion Legal. Rear’s appointment follows Clare Pope’s recent promotion to partner and several additions to the firm’s Sydney Corporate team over the past year.

Government minister calls for India to allow foreign law firms
A British justice minister visiting India has called on the country to allow foreign law firms to practise there. Shailesh Vara who has Indian heritage says that as Indian firms practise in the UK it would seem fair for the reverse to be allowed, too. He stressed that he was not suggesting that UK firms should enter the domestic legal market but that international firms should be able to operate in India to provide legal advice to global clients. Currently they consult Indian law firms, who in turn seek counsel in the UK. Vara says that a liberalisation would benefit the legal profession in both countries.

When lawyers go bad
While the Brits try to get a foothold in India, another story from the country shows a less attractive side of the legal profession. The Times of India reports that a group of lawyers turned a police station into a battle zone on Sunday night when a dispute escalated out of control. The story began at the home of one of the lawyers when his sister was allegedly assaulted by his father-in-law. When the lawyers went to the police station to file a complaint a further row broke out when an officer wouldn’t write it up in the way the lawyer wanted. Things went from bad to worse before police began filming the attack on their smartphones and the rebellious lawyers dispersed!


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