Bird & Bird has entered into a co-operation agreement with Chinese firm AllBright Law Offices, its fifth deal with a local firm in Asia Pacific.
The agreement, effective today, (2 November) is non-exclusive.
It will see AllBright launch an international representative office out of Bird & Bird’s City base at 12 New Fetter Lane. The office is expected to launch in March.
AllBright posted revenue of $272.5m (£205.7m) in 2016, placing the firm in fifth place in The American Lawyer’s China top 40. Its firmwide lawyer count that year was 1,661.
Bird & Bird managing partner David Kerr (pictured) said: “For us a co-operation agreement is a much more involved process about helping each other to look after clients in the best way, that uses innovative techniques and legal knowledge exchange. It’s not just a traditional referral scheme.”
AllBright senior partner Guo Zhongqing said: “AllBright has been more cautious in globalization compared to some of our competitors. We are responding to the urgent demand from our clients, who need a network of foreign lawyers in different jurisdictions. Bird & Bird’s network of offices in 19 countries will be an extension of our legal services to our clients when they invest and operate overseas.”
Speaking about AllBright’s planned London opening, AllBright corporate partner Jeffrey Khan said: “Our initial perspective on our London office is to enable us to have a capacity to offer our clients global legal services. It will be initially focused on co-operation between management at the firms.”
Bird & Bird already has a significant presence on the ground in the Asia Pacific region with three offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, in addition to bases in Japan, Singapore – where it has an association forming Bird & Bird ATMD – and Sydney.
The firm also has co-operation agreements with domestic firms in South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia and a formal association with Chinese firm Lawjay Partners, through which it offers PRC law.
This move in China follows the announcement of an office launch in the US. The firm is set to open a base in San Francisco next year, which will be its first office in the US.
Bird & Bird currently has 28 offices across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.