UK firm SJ Berwin merges with King & Wood Mallesons
King & Wood Mallesons.
The move creates a 2,700-lawyer firm that spans Europe, the Middle East, China and Australia, with headquarters in Beijing. The merger maintains some independence between the firms, since Chinese law prevents international partners from sharing profits.
This will be the first merger of its kind between a UK and a Chinese firm - usually UK firms form alliances with local practices in China to advise clients on Chinese legislation.
Stephen Kon, the former head of SJ Berwin and co-deputy chairman of the joint firm, said he was confident that moving east represented "an amazing opportunity that makes a lot of sense for our clients".
"[Clients] were progressively looking east either for capital or for developing their own business in China as it liberalises and opens up significantly," he said.
"We have always had incredibly strong relationships with US law firms but the more we've looked at it the more we've concluded that for us, looking east is right."