Chinese and Australian firms will merge to become a force in Asia-Pacific
King & Wood is set to ally with major Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques to form one of the biggest legal practices in Asia. The firms are set to merge in March 2012 under the name King & Wood Mallesons, and will have over 380 partners and 1,800 lawyers in five countries.
The firms will merge under a verein structure, which means that the partnerships will operate under a common name but remain financially independent and maintain separate budgets and expenses. There will be, in essence, three separate partnerships – that of King & Wood, that of Mallesons, and a third formed by the combination of two firms' Hong Kong offices.
This structure was designed to comply with Chinese restrictions barring foreign law firms from practicing domestic law in China, while allowing the combined firm to market itself as a one-stop shop for clients seeking legal services across the Asian-Pacific market.