AllBright Law Offices has incorporated its first overseas branch office in London, with a short-term goal of making the office a crucial bridge connecting investors with the European market.
“Compared with other large-scale law firms, we take a relatively more prudent attitude when it comes to going global,” Guo Zhongqing, a senior partner at AllBright, told Asia Business Law Journal. “We are acutely aware of the risks. There are many risks out there that we, as Chinese licensed lawyers, cannot foresee in the course of going global.” AllBright believes that incorporating a branch office in London will help better control the risks.
Opening the London office is also in line with client demand. “Many of our clients have engaged in cross-border trade and investment, and most of their business takes place in Britain or the UK,” said Guo. “Even prudent as we are, we have to expand our service scope to overseas markets.
“Another reason why we chose London is that our strategic partner, Bird & Bird International Law Firm, is based in the UK. They have branch offices not only in Europe but also in other countries and regions covered by the Belt and Road initiative, thus better meeting the demand of our clients. As a leading law firm in the IPR sector, Bird & Bird will come in handy for our clients who may encounter IPR-related issues when dealing with business overseas.”
Guo said AllBright had a short-term goal and a mid-term goal regarding the development of the London office. For the short term, there is no plan to recruit local practising lawyers at the moment. Instead, five partners at AllBright were recently sent from Chinese offices to the London branch office, where they will provide Chinese law-related services and co-ordinate with Bird & Bird lawyers, who will provide legal services relating to local law.
“The services of our London branch office cover the entirety of Europe and the office will serve as a bridge connecting our clients with the local lawyers,” said Guo. “In the long run, we are also expecting to have local practising lawyers on board. If, say, several years later, we discover that there is a huge demand for legal services in a particular field, it is likely that we will recruit a group of local practising lawyers with the relevant industry know-how.”