Dechert secures licence for Shanghai launch

Dechert is set to open its third Asia office later this year after securing a licence to operate in Shanghai.

The firm obtained its licence from the country’s Ministry of Justice last month, some four years after it received approval to launch a base in Beijing. Under Chinese law, international firms can only apply for a new office licence every three years.

Beijing managing partner Tao Jingzhou told Legal Week he would spearhead the launch of the new office, which he hoped would open before the end of this year.

The Shanghai base will bring the total number of Dechert Asia offices to three, including the firm’s base in Hong Kong.

The US firm is ramping up its operations on the mainland in a bid to tap the demand for legal advice relating to inbound investment, and is currently in the process recruiting its Shanghai team.

Mainland China has become a key target for international law firms in recent years in line with the country’s rapid growth. Covington & Burling is currently preparing for a Shanghai launch, after hiring ex-Bird & Bird partner Weishi Li to lead its latest Asian venture.

Appleby said in April it too would open a base in the city, to provide support to its operations in Hong Kong.

Last week, Legal Week revealed that Eversheds had secured a licence to operate in Beijing, which has also attracted the attention of America’s Kirkland & Ellis and UK firm Ashurst.