Chinese firm AllBright Law Offices will open a London-based office, its first outside China, the Gazette can reveal.
The firm, which has 16 offices across China, has a team of nine lawyers in the UK this week exploring potential locations with a view to setting up an office before the end of the year.
Speaking to the Gazette, Yu Bingguang (pictured), partner at the firm’s Shanghai office, said a resolution was passed earlier this year by the firm’s 370 partners and was later confirmed by its executive committee.
It is not known yet exactly what form the new office will take but AllBright is considering the possibility of joining forces with an existing UK firm.
Yu said: ‘We want to consolidate our strong position in China as clients are increasingly demanding cross-border legal services’.
He added that the decision to set-up a London office had been in the pipeline since before the EU referendum but that the vote to leave presented an ‘opportunity’.
‘The time zone makes it good for doing business and for centuries it has been the financial centre. This cannot be taken away over night,’ he said.
The firm has 1,500 lawyers and is among the largest in China though Yu said it was keen to increase its international coverage.
Although it is exploring the possibility of a joint venture Yu said it was keen to retain its branding as the firm is an ‘established Chinese brand’.
Last year, international firm Dentons merged with China’s largest firm Dacheng, in a partnership that created the biggest law firm in the world by lawyer headcount.