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November 10, 2011 5:17 PM

At Last, Proskauer Rose Opens Its Doors in Beijing

Posted by Sara Randazzo

Three years after declaring its intention to launch an office in Beijing, Proskauer Rose has finally moved in.

Proskauer announced Thursday that its thirteenth office, in Beijing's Chaoyang District, officially opened for business this week. The opening completes a push begun in 2008, when the firm expanded to Hong Kong with the addition of two partners from now-defunct Heller Ehrman's office there and the relocation of Proskauer corporate partner Yuval Tal from New York. The Hong Kong office now counts 20 lawyers, a group that Tal, a native of Israel, says feels like a "little United Nations" because the attorneys hail from throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Opening a Beijing location has been a concrete goal ever since, Tal says, but securing the necessary license from the Chinese government was a drawn-out process.

Initially, about five attorneys from the Hong Kong office will relocate to Beijing, say Tal, who plans to split his time between the cities. Together, the two offices will focus on private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and capital markets matters, with many of the clients drawn from Proskauer's work in the entertainment, sports, and lodging and gaming industries.

"Every transaction we do is multilingual," Tal says. "It very often involves at least two, if not three jurisdictions, and very often two or three legal systems. It's a very, very exciting kind of practice."

Being on the ground in Asia has been essential to landing both local Asian clients doing work abroad and foreign clients coming to the region, Tal says.

Tal's biography on the Proskauer Web site notes that since arriving in Hong Kong he has worked on several cross-border transactions, including representing Grammy Awards–producer The Recording Academy in a strategic deal with the Beijing Music Festival; Japanese real estate developer Mori Building in an investment in Hyatt Hotels; and Bessemer Venture Partners in its investment in Indian renewable energy company Orient Green Power.

Earlier this week, two other Am Law 100 firms announced plans to expand their respective presences in Asia: Perkins Coie, which opened an office in Taipei nearly a decade after pulling out of the Taiwanese capital, and O'Melveny & Myers, which entered an association agreement with Tumbuan & Partners in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In other legal news out of the region, sibling publication The Asian Lawyer reported this week on the reluctance of international law firms to consider opening offices in South Korea. While such offices are currently prohibited, they may soon be permissible as a result of a new trade agreement negotiated by the United States and South Korea and approved by U.S. lawmakers. The Korean National Assembly has not yet approved the treaty.

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