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23 October 2020

JunHe founder 'passes torch' to next generation after 30 years at helm

Top Chinese firm hails smooth transition as Xiao Wei resigns as managing partner

By John Malpas

Beijing ESB Professional; Shutterstock

Xiao Wei, the founder of top Chinese law firm JunHe, is stepping down, ‘passing the torch’ to the next generation of lawyers.

The move ends Wei’s 31-year tenure leading the Beijing-based firm. Launched in 1989 as one of China’s first private partnership law firms, it has grown to be among the country's largest practices, with 880 lawyers including 240 partners working out of 13 offices.

Wei is succeeded by M&A specialist Warren Hua, who joined the firm in 2012 from Gide Loyrette Nouel where was an equity partner and Beijing office co-head.

A longstanding member of the firm’s management committee, Hua will take up his post as managing partner on 1 January. He will be assisted by a newly elected committee which will include Wei, who will continue ‘to make valuable contributions to JunHe’s development’, according to the firm. 

The other members of the management committee are: Beijing-based M&A partners Sammuel Zhao and Yongqiang Yu, Guangzhou office head Ping Zhang, and Shanghai-based disputes specialist Lei Wu, the only new member.

The firm said the committee’s ‘smooth transition’ with its combination of old and new members “embodies JunHe’s sustainable development of passing its torch from generation to generation”.

In an interview with the Leaders League in 2017, Hua alluded to the challenges associated with JunHe’s status as one of China’s oldest law firms.

He said the firm had deliberately phased in a new partner remuneration system as it needed to “strike a balance between the demands and expectations of different classes of partners”.

He added: “In that respect, our reform will be more difficult than some younger Chinese firms where partners have smaller age gap and similar ambitions and energy.”

JunHe was named the seventh most-recognised brand among GCs in this year’s Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index.

Its two international offices are in New York and Silicon Valley.

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