International firm Herbert Smith Freehills has opened what is believed to be the first alternative legal services hub of its kind in China.

A 13-strong team of lawyers and legal analysts bilingual in Mandarin and English has been set up in the firm’s Shanghai office, it was announced today.

The centre will use technology and processes used at its existing hubs in Belfast and Perth to process high-volume or document-intensive work.

Libby Jackson (pictured), global head of alternative legal services, said: ‘A complex transaction or dispute can involve the review of millions of Chinese-language documents that often must remain in China.

‘By equipping this new team with the technology and processes proven at our existing legal hubs in Belfast and Perth, we can offer clients a cost-effective way of tackling the document-intensive elements of these projects on the ground in China.’ 

Herbert Smith Freehills first opened an alternative legal services office in Belfast in April 2011, specialising in document management and review, principally for major contentious cases.

It now has centres in Brisbane, London, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Other services provided by the 350-strong team - which also consists of legal assistants and technologists - include transaction support including due diligence, claims assessment, commercial contracts, and asset management for real estate clients.