Akin Gump Opens Beijing Office

(Beijing, China) – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, one of the world’s largest international law firms, formally announced today the opening of an office in the People’s Republic of China. Located in Beijing, the office furthers Akin Gump’s expansion into major markets and enables the firm to support Chinese companies expanding into overseas markets, as well as to support foreign companies entering or expanding their investments or operations in China.

With 15 offices around the world, Akin Gump advises international, regional and local clients in more than 50 practice areas. In Mainland China, practices will include business transactions; private equity and funds; environment, natural resources and energy; intellectual property; and international trade. The firm also offers one of the world’s largest and most respected public policy practices helping clients with the resources necessary to overcome regulatory obstacles anywhere in the world.

Commenting on the launch, Eliot Cutler, partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Beijing office, said, “As Chinese companies move increasingly into overseas markets, they will require a broad array of legal, policy and regulatory services. Akin Gump is one of only a few law firms that can provide an entire range of those services in one firm.”

In addition to supporting Chinese outbound investment, Akin Gump will help foreign companies overcome their hurdles in the China market by navigating legal and regulatory landscapes and addressing risks that stand in the way of commercial success.

Akin Gump played an important role in supporting foreign trade and investment in China prior to receiving its license in December 2006. Founder Robert Strauss helped establish formal commercial and diplomatic relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Appointed as special trade representative by President Jimmy Carter, Ambassador Strauss negotiated the first trade agreement between the United States and China.

R. Bruce McLean, Akin Gump’s chairman, said, “Establishing a presence on the Chinese Mainland will enable us to further Ambassador Strauss’ vision of strong and robust trade and investment ties between the People’s Republic of China and the United States, and indeed now other major world economies. We are looking forward to proactively working with clients to best address their business and legal needs across a variety of industries, and are excited by the tremendous opportunities here.”

The office opens with a dynamic team of local and foreign qualified lawyers:

  • Eliot Cutler  is partner-in-charge in the Beijing office. Before relocating with the firm to Beijing, Mr. Cutler was based in Washington, D.C., where he helped corporate and government clients grapple with complicated legal and public policy problems. His career spans government service, law and politics.
  • Ying White  joins as senior counsel. A dual-qualified lawyer in the People’s Republic of China and the United States, Ms. Ying was the lead attorney advising the World Bank’s Pension Fund while she was counsel at the Bank.
  • Zhao Xiaohua (Sarah) is a partner in the firm’s Washington and Beijing offices, where she works on transactional and project finance matters for both Chinese and foreign clients.
  • Zheng Xilin joins as an associate following two years at the World Bank. Mr. Zheng previously worked in the Law and Treaty Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and assisted in the negotiation of the Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR agreements.
  • Stephen Kho  joins from the Office of the Special Trade Representative of the United States, where he was the top lawyer on China matters and worked extensively on World Trade Organization matters related to China.

In addition to this team of in-house legal professionals, the firm’s public policy and government relations work will be supported by a highly distinguished group of senior advisors with extensive experience in the China market. The initial members of this team of advisors include—

  • Chen Ying , who joins Akin Gump as a senior advisor. Ms. Chen is deputy director general of China Enterprises Confederation (CEC), the principal industry association of more than 500,000 Chinese employer entities. She has served as an alternate delegate from China to the International Labor Organization in Geneva and has been one of China’s principal spokespersons on CSR matters.
  • Ma Lianyuan , widely recognized as a leading expert on patent law in China, who joins as a senior advisor. He is the former deputy commissioner of China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and will serve for the next three years as the elected president of the All China Association of Patent Attorneys.

Akin Gump’s Beijing office will be supported by the firm’s extensive capabilities in offices around the world, including in major political and commercial centers such as New York, Washington, D.C., London and Moscow.

The office opening corresponds with Akin Gump’s ongoing sponsorship of the Guggenheim Foundation’s “Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation” exhibition that is currently being held in Beijing at the National Museum of Art and will soon open in Shanghai at the Shanghai Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 900 lawyers with offices in Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Taipei and Washington. The firm has a diversified practice and represents regional, national and international clients in a wide range of areas, including antitrust; appellate; banking and finance; capital markets; communications and information technology; corporate and securities; corporate governance; employee benefits; energy; entertainment and media; environmental; estate planning, wealth transfer and probate; financial restructuring; global security; government contracts; health; insurance; intellectual property; international trade; investment funds; labor and employment; land use; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; private equity; privatization; project development and finance; public law and policy; real estate development and finance; Russia/CIS; tax; and technology.

# # #