Herbert Smith Freehills celebrates first year of joint operation with Shanghai firm in China

Integration of local capability and international expertise has “strengthened both firms’ client base”

Herbert Smith Freehills celebrates first year of joint operation with Shanghai firm in China

Global firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) recently celebrated the first year of its joint operation with Shanghai-based Kewei Law Firm.

Launched in August 2019 as Herbert Smith Freehills Kewei under the Shanghai Free Trade Zone’s joint operation mode, the operation offers multinational and China companies access to both international and Chinese legal advice in investments, M&A, disputes, competition, capital markets, and employment.

In a statement, HSF said that the joint operation has since increased headcount by over 30% in its first year. It also “grew its corporate practice, strengthened its competition offering, and added a China disputes practice.”

“We’re delighted that the new joint operation has performed so well, particularly in such a difficult and uncertain year,” said May Tai, managing partner, Asia at HSF. “Despite the effects of the pandemic, the joint operation made a major contribution to both firm’s revenue and profit growth in Asia.”

“Our integration of local capability and international expertise has attracted and strengthened both firms’ client bases,” said Gavin Guo, international partner at HSF Kewei. “In recent months, international clients have particularly valued our support in China, enabling them to keep deals and disputes moving from a distance, despite pandemic travel restrictions.”

“In its first year, the joint operation worked on client matters with colleagues in over half of our global network offices and in over 50 global jurisdictions,” said Matt Emsley, managing partner, China at HSF. “Our planning paid off handsomely - by building trust and understanding in advance, we’ve been able to work as ‘one team’ from the start of the joint operation.”

“We would like to thank again the Bureau of Justice in Shanghai for approving this partnership,” said Stanley Xie, partner at HSF Kewei. “With China markets already rebounding strongly, we look forward to continuing our growth story with Herbert Smith Freehills in the year ahead.”

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