Send legal work to each other
International law firm Eversheds Sutherland and Asia’s King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) will send legal work to each other as part of a new “formal cooperation agreement”.
The deal means that KWM (China) will refer all future legal matters across the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and South America to Eversheds Sutherland, while in return, clients of Eversheds who require advice on Chinese matters will now be sent KWM’s way.
The duo say the move is driven by a shared commitment to meet clients’ growing needs for complex and diverse international legal services.
Commeting on the arrangement, Eversheds’ CEO Lee Ranson said:
“We are excited to be entering into these arrangements with the leading firm in China. Our clients have increasingly complex needs for PRC legal advice in China, and this new arrangement creates the platform to deliver a solution of the very highest calibre as well adding strength to our European and Middle East businesses. Working together on certain client development opportunities will also create opportunities for us to generate significant new work across the globe.”
As part of the deal, KWM (China) will shutter its operations across the UK, Europe and the Middle East by October 2024. Partners and staff are expected to be able to join Eversheds’ offices across these locations, while Eversheds’ offices in Beijing and Shanghai are expected to remain open.
Global chairman and founding partner at KWM (China), Wang Junfeng, added: “This arrangement is an exciting development in the international legal market, bringing elevated, global service offerings and new opportunities.”
Readers may recall KWM’s European division, the former UK outfit SJ Berwin, collapsed into administration in 2017, leaving its trainees and junior lawyers scrambling to find other firms. The China-led KWM was unaffected by the collapse due to it being a separate legal identity, and as a result quickly launched a network of new offices across Europe, including one in London.