Simmons moves to rebuild China employment team with Winston hire following recent exits

Simmons & Simmons has recruited a Winston & Strawn partner in Shanghai as the firm rebuilds its China employment practice following the exit of a five-lawyer team in February.

Matthew Durham, who was Asia head of employment at Winston until earlier this year, advises multinational clients on employment issues related to their operations in China.

The hire comes after Shanghai employment partner Lesli Ligorner left Simmons earlier this year with four other lawyers to launch a local office for Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

Fiona Loughrey, Simmons’ Hong Kong-based Asia employment head, said that Durham’s hire is part of an ongoing expansion of her firm’s employment practice, with at least four more employment lawyers expected to join the firm in Asia before the end of the year.

Simmons also recently saw China head Davis Wang leave the firm’s Beijing base to start his own corporate advisory shop, although the firm last month recruited Hogan Lovells corporate partner Michael Chin for its Hong Kong office.

The move marks a homecoming of sorts for Durham, who has had two previous stints at Simmons. Most recently, he was a Shanghai-based consultant at the firm between 2007 and 2010. Durham qualified as a solicitor and started his career at Simmons in London before moving to Linklaters.

In 2011, he became a partner at Clyde & Co, serving as head of employment for Greater China. He left two years later to join Winston in Shanghai.

Earlier this year Winston announced it would close an office in Beijing, as well as an outpost in Taipei.