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01 February 2021

Allen & Overy's Shanghai JV partner hires Fangda litigation team and opens in Beijing

Melody Wang and three-lawyer team joins Lang Yue as head of Chinese litigation

By Ben Edwards

Portrait photo of Melody Wang

Melody Wang

Allen & Overy’s (A&O) Chinese joint operation with Shanghai, Lang Yue, has hired disputes lawyer Melody Wang to head up its Chinese litigation practice, with Lang Yue also opening an office in Beijing.

Wang joins as a partner from Chinese firm Fangda Partners' Beijing office, bringing with her a team of three litigators. She also brings with her more than 16 years of experience advising both multinational and Chinese companies in cross-border litigation and arbitration in the PRC courts. Her specialisms include restructuring and insolvency, financial services, professional liability and environmental protection, as well as advising clients on US-led regulatory investigations involving China on matters connected to state secrecy, data privacy, anti-corruption and fraud.

Jane Jiang, a partner at A&O Shanghai and a member of the joint operation’s management committee, said: “Melody’s specialist skills and deep experience significantly enhances our dispute resolution offering in China. We expect a growing amount of litigation, investigations and restructuring activity involving China and Melody brings a strong track record helping clients to successfully resolve disputes in this market.”

Wang spent just over a decade as a partner at Fangda – her second spell at the firm. She rejoined in 2010 after a roughly two-year stint as an associate at Baker McKenzie, having previously been an associate at Fangda between 2004 and 2008.

Victor Ho, A&O's Shanghai and Beijing managing partner, said: “Our clients will benefit from Melody’s deep and specialised litigation experience. Her reputation and strong team will help clients as they grow in and navigate the China market.”

The magic circle firm launched its joint operation office with Lang Yue in January last year, the latest international firm to win regulatory approval for a formal alliance with a local firm – an arrangement that allows those alliance firms to offer clients international and local law advice on the same transactions. The Beijing opening follows approval from the Beijing Bureau of Justice.

Karen Seward, global head of litigation at A&O, said: “It’s a strategic priority to develop our China litigation capability to support both international and domestic organisations on their most pressing risk and reputational matters.”

A&O’s alliance with Lang Yue follows similar moves by Linklaters, Herbert Smith Freehills and Ashurst, which have teamed up with Zhao Sheng Law Firm, Kewei and Guantao respectively. Baker McKenzie was the first firm to receive approval for a Chinese joint operation in 2015 when it allied with FenXun Partners.

Last June, Winston & Strawn effectively took over McDermott Will & Emery’s Shanghai office after forging an alliance with its Chicago rival’s long-term China partner, which adopted the name YuandaWinston.

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