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Eversheds set to create legal jobs in Beijing

Posted by: Laurence Simons 13/08/12

Move to the east is imminent.

London-based law firm Eversheds is preparing to launch a Beijing office later this year, subject to the "imminent" approval of its licensing application.

Headquartered in the capital, Eversheds is one of the top ten legal firms in the UK based on revenue, with offices dotted around the world and premises in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The firm first announced its intention to set up a Beijing arm in September 2010, with the news that company commercial head Peter Halpin and head of international Stephen Hopkins had been dispatched to China to draw up a business case ahead of the launch.

Initially projected to be up and running by 2011, Eversheds has today formally announced a revision to the timeline, saying a Beijing office will definitely happen at some point during 2012 rather than, say, a year ago, when everyone expected it.

According to The Lawyer, the firm has secured preliminary approval to launch the office as granted by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice, with a spokesperson for the firm telling the publication additional approval from the country's Ministry of Justice was "imminent".

Anyway, once both the firm and the authorities in China get this whole endeavour together it'll mean good things for those seeking legal jobs in China: although the firm has yet to earmark which particular partner from which particular office will lead the new arm (there are candidates in both London and the Hong Kong branches who could be duking it out), they will be recruiting for lawyers in Beijing.

The new offices will be primarily focussed on international financial services work, a departure for a firm that has traditionally been a general practice specialist. Services on foreign direct investment deals for multinationals and outbound investment cases for Chinese corporates will look to make the most of the firm's far-reaching international connections (also: expertise).

Eversheds aren't the only firm who, like some pale and wan A-Level student, ache longingly for gap year-style adventures abroad. Magic Circle firm Linklaters is also hoping to spend some time on a beach braiding thread into its hair and thinking about, like, the planets, man, as they approach advanced talks with various South African companies over an alliance with a local firm. Webber Wentzel is the frontrunner in the deal, which looks to take advantage not only of the firm's international connections but the market vacuum left by the departing Dewey Johannesburg office.