Allen & Overy wins licence to launch Shanghai joint venture

UK magic circle firm is latest international practice to offer Chinese law capability through local alliance


Allen & Overy (A&O) has become the latest international law firm to forge a formal alliance with a local practice in Shanghai. The UK magic circle firm announced today (7 January) that it has received approval from the Shanghai Bureau of Justice to establish a joint venture with Shanghai Lang Yue Law Firm in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

Known as a ‘joint operation’, the arrangement allows A&O and Shanghai Lang Yue to offer clients international and local law advice on the same transactions.

The concern will operate as Allen & Overy Lang Yue (FTZ) Joint Operation Office

In a joint statement, the firms said they would be offering clients a range of capabilities including corporate, M&A, private equity, venture capital investments, capital markets, regulatory advisory and compliance advice.

Victor Ho, managing parter of A&O’s Beijing and Shanghai offices, said China was one of the firm’s global strategic priorities.

Lang Yue partner Wenxin Zhou added: “We have worked closely with A&O for some time now and are excited to formalise our relationship.

A&O launched on mainland China in 1993 when it became one of the first international law firms to obtain official approval to register an office in Beijing. It currently lists eight partners operating out of its Beijing and Shanghai offices.

A&O is the second UK magic circle firm to forge a joint operation in the city, following in the footsteps of Linklaters, which teamed up with Zhao Sheng Law Firm in 2018.

Last year, Herbert Smith Freehills allied with Kewei and Ashurst teamed up with Guantao while Baker McKenzie was the first firm to receive a licence, in April 2015, when it joined forces with FenXun Partners.

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