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‘A major step forward’: Osborne Clarke extends Asia footprint with Shanghai launch

Osborne Clarke (OC) has opened in Shanghai under the name Zhang Yu & Partners, bringing on two partners and six other lawyers.

Guohua Zhang and Steve Yu have joined OC to head up the office in mainland China. The pair have both been based at a number of prominent law firms during their careers. Yu was previously Shanghai managing partner at Armstrong Teasdale. Before joining the US firm in 2012 he was a partner at CMS for two years and was previously at Eversheds Sutherland and Jones Day.

Zhang was a consultant on secondment with Koh Vass & Co, an association firm of OC based in Hong Kong and was previously a partner at Bird & Bird.

The office will initially focus on opportunities for clients in the digital business and consumer products sectors and will offer cross-border advisory services for OC’s sector clients with requirements in mainland China.

Yu and Zhang will be joined by six lawyers trained in China, the UK and the US who specialise in IT, data and employment law. In a statement, the firm said the team will be joined by more partners, further legal recruits and business services support later this year.

The opening follows OC’s associations with OC Queen Street in Singapore last August and Hong Kong based Koh Vass & Co in 2015. The firm also has a relationship with BTG Legal, founded by former co-head of Osborne Clarke’s India Group, Prashant Mara.

OC international chief excecutive Simon Beswick told Legal Business: ‘OC set out to transform itself from being an English law firm to a European law firm. Then the focus was really to extend from being European to a Eurasian law firm around four bases. Initially it was Hong Kong and Singapore being the gateways into Asia, but also what we could do around Mumbai and Shanghai. Today, with the announcement of Shanghai, is very much the completion of the initial build of OC as a Eurasian law firm.’