01 September 2016

HSF launches legal support hub in China

Herbert Smith Freehills has expanded its Belfast-based alternative legal services business with the launch of a 13-lawyer legal services centre in Shanghai.

By Victoria Basham

Iakov Kalinin

The new centre will provide a low-cost base to process high-volume or document-intensive work and support transactional and dispute matters in Asia. Its lawyers and legal analysts are all PRC nationals who are Mandarin and English bilingual.


The China launch comes less than a year after HSF piloted a similar project in Perth, Australia to focus on document review. The Perth and Shanghai hubs will be run from HSF’s 240-lawyer global alternative legal services hub, which was launched last year in Belfast.

‘State secrets’

China’s ‘state secrets’ regime makes it difficult for law firms to run disclosure processes abroad, as the transfer of certain documents or data outside the country is deemed unlawful. HSF global head of alternative legal services Libby Jackson told The Lawyer: ‘A complex transaction or dispute can involve the review of millions of Chinese-language documents that often must remain in China.

‘By equipping this new team with the technology and processes proven at our existing legal hubs in Belfast and Perth, we can offer clients a cost-effective way of tackling the document-intensive elements of these projects on the ground in China.’

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