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May 9, 2011 6:29 PM

Blank Rome Opens in Shanghai

Posted by Irene Plagianos

Blank Rome has launched an office in Shanghai, the firm announced Monday. The Asian Lawyer, a sibling publication, reported on the office opening.

Hong Kong corporate partner Henry Kuller will lead the Shanghai office and split his time between the new location and Hong Kong. No new hires were announced for the office.

The move allows the firm to better serve its clients on both outbound and inbound Chinese matters, Blank Rome cochairman and managing partner, Alan Hoffman, said in a statement.

The Philadephia-based firm has more than 40 lawyers in its Asia practice. In 2006, Blank Rome made its first foray into China with the opening of a Hong Kong office, the firm’s first international office.

In recent months, the firm has been beefing up the Hong Kong office with new lateral hires. In April, Kristi Swartz, former managing partner of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge's Hong Kong office, joined Blank Rome as a partner. And last year, William Zheng, formerly with Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in Shanghai, moved to Blank Rome.

Blank Rome is the latest regional firm to move into Shanghai, despite a growing concern among larger international firms that the market is becoming too competitive--firms like Paul, Hastings, Janofksy & Walker have downsized their Chinese practices recently. In January, Milwaukee based firm Quarles & Brady opened a Shanghai office. A key draw for firms is the cost--it's less expensive to operate in Shanghai compared to other Asian markets, such as Hong Kong and Europe.

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