Ashurst renews China alliance for six more years

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Ashurst has renewed its strategic alliance with China’s Guantao Law Firm for another six years.

The renewal was signed by Ashurst chairman Ben Tidswell and Guantao managing partner Cui Liguo in Sydney last week.

The non-exclusive alliance dates back to 2008, when Ashurst agreed an association with Hong Kong firm Jackson Woo & Associates, with which Guantao then had a referral relationship. Ashurst and Guantao first renewed their alliance in May 2015.

“The alliance enhances collaboration between both firms and encourages the transfer of expertise and business opportunities, which is mutually beneficial to Guantao and Ashurst,” said Ashurst managing partner Paul Jenkins, who also attended the signing.

Beijing-based Guantao has more than 500 lawyers, including about 100 partners. Last year, the firm completed two mergers in Shanghai: first with 40-lawyer Zhongmao Law Firm in April, and then with 60-lawyer Shenda Law Firm in August. It has two overseas offices, in Hong Kong and Sydney, in addition to 12 domestic offices.

In 2014, Guantao retained Ashurst’s former senior partner and Asia head Geoffrey Green as a part-time consultant on management and strategy issues. Green, who served as senior partner of Ashurst before setting up the firm’s Hong Kong practice in 2008, retired from Ashurst in 2013.

The extension of the alliance comes after Ashurst recently entered into a formal law alliance with Singapore firm ADTLaw. The nine-lawyer boutique, which was founded by former Rajah & Tann litigation partner Dawn Tan in 2013, advises on disputes, M&A, and banking and finance matters. The tie-up enables Ashurst to offer clients access to Singapore law in various areas, including litigation.

Ashurst has recently seen a number of partner departures in both Hong Kong and Singapore, but earlier this year took on Linklaters China capital markets partner Chik Pui Hong.