After more than a year of weighing up a possible relationship, Hogan Lovells lawyers say, the firm has finally tied the knot and launched an association with Fujian Fidelity Law Firm in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ).
“Various factors have been considered in the decision, including level of commitment, the likelihood of being able to obtain partner buy-in for the association within a reasonable timetable, potential conflicts of interest and business conflict issues, the quality of legal services provided, reputation in the market, recognition of firm values, management structure, and the outcome of financial due diligence and management interactions,” Andrew McGinty, a partner of Hogan Lovells in Shanghai, told Asia Business Law Journal.
McGinty acclaimed Fidelity as a high-quality and innovative law firm, and an excellent match for Hogan Lovells. “We have been delighted with the energy and commitment that Fidelity has put into the association throughout the process and that was a key factor in allowing us to get one of the first few approvals for an association since the rules allowing the creation of associations between qualifying Chinese and foreign law firms were issued at the end of 2014,” he said.
McGinty and Katie Feng, another Shanghai partner of Hogan Lovells, will lead the relationship with Fidelity. Fidelity has a good track record in corporate and M&A, insolvency and liquidation, financial securities, real estate and construction, and arbitration and litigation work.
“Based on the development plan for the association, the scope of matters which will be worked on by the association will essentially be client-driven and hence will focus initially on China matters which fall within the expertise of Fidelity generally and the lawyers assigned by Fidelity to the association, such as intellectual property litigation, securitization, anti-monopoly law, insolvency and regulatory advice,” said Feng. “Expansion to other areas will follow based on client needs, for example; we are seeing some demand on the banking and insurance side at present.”
Hogan Lovells is the third international law firm to enter into an association in the Shanghai FTZ following tie-ups between Baker & McKenzie and FenXun Partners, as well as Holman Fenwick Willan and Wintell & Co.
“In general terms, and as provided under the relevant rules governing associations in the Shanghai FTZ, the association will operate with Chinese lawyers that the Fidelity FTZ office has assigned to it, plus foreign lawyers Hogan Lovells has assigned to it,” said Feng.
“It has started operations with an initial staff of two intellectual property lawyers and two members of support staff. We expect an additional four Chinese lawyers to join the association by the end of 2016.”