Regulation & Law

Linklaters Secures Regulatory Approval for Chinese Venture

Shanghai Bureau of Justice approves Linklaters' joint operations agreement with Chinese firm Zhao Sheng.

Shanghai Bureau of Justice approves Linklaters' joint operations agreement with Chinese firm Zhao Sheng.


Linklaters has announced that its tie-up with Zhao Sheng has secured governmental approval from the Shanghai Bureau of Justice, with the firms sealing an agreement for joint operations. The Magic Circle firm had earlier struck up a 'best friends' relationship with the Shanghai-based boutique, which saw Zhao Sheng appoint former Linklaters consultant Eric Liu as its head.

The agreement allows Linklaters to practice Chinese law through participation in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) scheme, which permits international law firms to set up joint operations with local firms within the Zone. The scheme requires both firms to maintain their independence, however they may serve a client jointly- allowing foreign firms to bypass restrictions on their ability to advise on local law-related work. 

The news was hailed by Gideon Moore, Linklaters' managing partner, who enthused: “We are delighted with the regulatory approval and the opportunity to build on our 40 years’ experience in China. Zhao Sheng Law Firm shares Linklaters’ quality, culture and values - the aim to be best in class. We want to support our clients on both their inbound and outbound projects and the Joint Operations will provide the seamless PRC and international advice required for this.”

The move sees Linklaters becomes the first Magic Circle firm to take advantage of the Shanghai FTZ scheme, following Baker McKenzie, who announced a tie-up with Beijing-based FenXun Partners in 2015, and Hogan Lovells, who launched an association with Fujian Fidelity in 2016. 

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