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Asia: KWM relocates partner trio to launch in Singapore as Quinn opens in Shanghai

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has hired Kirkland & Ellis partner Samuel Williamson as it looks to launch an office in Shanghai targeting Chinese enforcement work while King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) also expanded in the region, officially opening in Singapore.

Quinn Emanuel’s new office still requires approval from Chinese authorities though the relevant applications have already been made. Until approval is received Williamson, who is a former US prosecutor and fluent in mandarin, will operate from the firm’s other offices – though a start date is yet to be confirmed.

Williamson was relocated to Kirkland’s Shanghai office in 2011 where he led the firm’s Asia-based government enforcement and investigations practice. He advises on a range of enforcement issues including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK’s Bribery Act.

On his move to Quinn Emanuel, Williamson told Legal Business: ‘I was attracted by its worldwide focus on litigation. Quinn has already built a substantial global platform and it is looking to build up its Chinese and PRC law capability.’

Meanwhile, KWM officially opened its Singapore office after having been granted a foreign law practice licence for the outpost earlier this year. The firm confirmed that three partners will lead its offering in the country which will initially focus on international funds, energy and resources, and China inbound and outbound work.

Funds partner John Sullivan, who focuses on real estate, infrastructure and private equity, is relocating from Australia, alongside energy, resources and projects specialist Michael Lawson, to what will be the firm’s 15th office in Asia. They will be joined by M&A partner Huang Xuhua from the firm’s Hong Kong office who will cover cross-border Chinese investment work.

Stuart Fuller, KWM’s global managing partner, said ‘South East Asia is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and has become a global hub for cross border investment, capital formation and commodities trading, and with China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, Singapore will play a critical role in Chinese in-bound and out-bound investment.’