Morning Briefing: International firm opens new Shanghai office

A law firm has expanded its global footprint with a new office in Shanghai… Baker & McKenzie appoints global strategy chief… Lateral hires with a twist as partners are hired by their existing firms… US firms eye expansion into Cuba…

International law firm opens new Shanghai office
Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has opened a new office in Shanghai which will, subject to approval from Chinese authorities, give the firm RPC capability.  The new office will target enforcement work and the first hire if Samuel Williamson, former partner at Kirkland & Ellis in the Shanghai. He will work from Quinn Emmanuel’s other offices until approval is granted. The firm has Asia-Pacific offices in Sydney and Hong Kong.
Baker & McKenzie appoints global strategy chief
Julia Hayhoe has been appointed to the role of global director, strategy implementation at Baker & McKenzie, building on her role in London since 2007. She will be responsible for working with the chairman, COO and executive committee in the implementation of the firm's strategic priorities, spearheading special projects and engaging with external organizations and consultants on key priorities. Hayhoe qualified as a solicitor in the UK and was a commercial litigator before moving into law business development at Clifford Chance and management consultancy roles.
Lateral hires with a twist as partners are hired by their existing firms
Partners are increasingly being hired for new roles within their existing firms. Bloomberg reports that there is a growing trend for partners to take on non-legal roles such as chief talent officer and chief innovation officer. While lawyers have always been popular candidates for other key roles in the corporate world many of the job titles did not exist historically in law firms. The changing structure of many firms is now opening up lateral moves for partners which benefits the individuals, through new and wider experiences, while the firms have key posts filled by people who know the law-side of the business and its clients.
US firms eye expansion into Cuba
Since President Obama extended the olive branch to Cuba earlier this year many businesses have been examining the possibilities that an end to the historic sanctions could bring. Lawyers are among them and The Florida Bar is preparing to send a delegation to Cuba to assess opportunities. Law firms are reportedly receiving a growing number of enquiries from companies looking to expand into the country but with little knowledge of local laws. For law firms themselves any operations in the communist state will be through local relationships as foreign law firms are currently not permitted to operate there. In readiness many US firms are boosting their Cuba-focused practices.

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