03 Jan 2023

Linklaters bolsters global dispute resolution offering with partner hires in Spain and China

Magic circle firm adds partners in Madrid and Beijing from local rivals at a time of “great activity” for dispute resolution

Alex Ferreres Image courtesy of Linklaters

Linklaters has boosted its dispute resolution offering internationally with a partner hire apiece for its Spanish office and Chinese partner firm. 

Alex Ferreres has joined the firm in Madrid from Uría Menéndez, while Ellen Zhang has moved over to Zhao Sheng Law Firm in Beijing from Fangda Partners.

Ferreres specialises in class actions and brings extensive experience in national and international commercial litigation. Ranked Band 1 by legal directory Chambers and Partners for dispute resolution, his practice focuses on contractual liability and tort and he has taken part in the defence of car makers and tobacco and pharmaceutical companies in some of the most important product liability cases in Spain. He had been a partner at Uría Menéndez since 2006. 

"[Ferreres’] arrival is a key reinforcement for our practice at a time of great activity,” said Borja Fernández de Trocóniz, head of Linklaters’ dispute resolution team in Spain. “His experience and international profile fit with our practice and with his incorporation we add a recognised specialist in class actions.”

Ferreres joins Linklaters as its 21st partner in its Madrid office, which houses north of 130 lawyers in total. The office covers most aspects of business law but has core capabilities in corporate law, finance law and dispute resolution. 

He was the firm’s fifth new partner in Madrid in 2022 following the return of M&A specialist Sebastián Albella from Latham & Watkins and the promotion of corporate, real estates and capital markets specialists Esteban Arza, Gabriel Cabello and Pablo Medina.

"We remain committed to our internal talent, but when the opportunity arises to recruit the best lawyers in the market and incorporate them into our teams, we will do so,” said José Giménez, managing partner of Linklaters in Spain. “In such a demanding and competitive market, additions such as Alex Ferreres confirm the good momentum of our practice."

Linklaters has a significant presence in Spain, where in 2020 it was ranked as the ninth largest law firm by revenue by Iberian Lawyer, pulling in €70.6m – the most among all UK law firms. The figure put it one place behind US firm Baker McKenzie, which brought in €73.2m, but comfortably ahead of next-placed UK rivals Clifford Chance (€64.9m), Allen & Overy (€52.5m) and Hogan Lovells (€46.3m). 

Meantime, Zhang has joined Zhao Sheng in Beijing from a role as a counsel at Fangda Partners, prior to which she worked at Kobre & Kim in New York. Dual qualified in the PRC and New York, she brings experience advising Chinese and international corporations on complex commercial and financial disputes, cross-border investigations and regulatory compliance.

“[Zhang] is a fantastic addition to our team and expands our coverage of the important China market," said Jelita Pandjaitan, Linklaters’ Asia head of dispute resolution, adding that she was “well-placed to guide clients in litigation, arbitration and investigations of all kinds in support of their strategic objectives”.

Zhao Sheng has nine lawyers across offices in Beijing and Shanghai, according to the firm’s website, while Zhang has joined at its seventh parter. Most of the firm’s partners focus on corporate and M&A. 

Zhang’s arrival at Zhao Sheng comes amid news that antitrust partner Vivian Cao, who herself joined the firm in 2019 from Fangda Partners, has departed forAllen & Overy’s China ally Shanghai Lang Yue Law Firm. 

Dirk Meeus and David Broadley, co-heads of Allen & Overy’s global corporate practice, said Cao brought “a wealth of experience” advising multinational and Chinese companies on all types of competition law matters in China, including merger control, FDI reviews, regulatory compliance and investigation.

“Her arrival reflects our commitment to build a seamless global antitrust and regulatory capability in the regulatory capitals of US, Europe and China,” they added.

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