Slaughter and May announces plans to open Beijing office

Slaughter and May today announces that it plans to open an office in Beijing, subject to receiving the necessary approvals from the regulators in China. An application will be submitted to the Beijing Justice Bureau shortly and it is hoped that a licence will be granted by mid-2009.

It is intended that Slaughter and May will co-locate in Beijing with two of its "Best Friend" firms, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Uría Menéndez, each of whom has announced today that it intends to open an office in Beijing. Other "Best Friend" firms, including Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, Bredin Prat and Hengeler Mueller, are also supporting the project. This move is in line with the firms’ common strategy of remaining independent, while co-operating closely with leading law firms internationally. The Beijing office will allow the further development of co-operation with leading Chinese law firms and ensure that clients benefit from an integrated legal service of the highest quality.

Slaughter and May has a significant and long-standing presence in Asia, having opened its office in Hong Kong in 1974. China is important to Slaughter and May’s practice and opening an office in Beijing is a natural extension to the firm’s presence in the region. The main focus of the Beijing office will be to assist Chinese and other clients on M&A and investment-related work outbound from, and also into, China, working closely with the leading Chinese law firms with whom we co-operate.

George Goulding will head the Beijing office. George was based in London until 2006, when he moved to the firm’s Hong Kong office. George has wide-ranging experience of corporate and commercial work in Europe and Asia.

Slaughter and May has an extensive track record of advising clients on a range of projects involving China. Recent work includes advising Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank on the US$1.5 billion IPO and Hong Kong listing of, the leading B2B e-commerce company in China; the lead arranger on the US$430 million financing of 3Com Group's acquisition of a 49 per cent. shareholding in Huawei-3Com from Huawei Group; and CITIC Group on the sale of its interests in the Karazhanbas oil field in Kazakhstan in two transactions with a total value exceeding US$1.5 billion.

Commenting on the firm’s plans to open an office in Beijing, Christopher Saul, Slaughter and May’s Senior Partner, said: "This move is a natural and exciting development in Slaughter and May’s international strategy. We have a long-standing practice in Hong Kong, with an increasing focus on China work, and are fortunate to enjoy a pre-eminent position in the region. So it is a logical step for us to develop our co-operation with leading Chinese firms and to join forces with our "Best Friends" in establishing a physical presence in Beijing. This is, of course, a vibrant time in the economic development of the PRC."