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KWM’s global chair sets out plans for new European business after SJ Berwin collapse

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) announced today (18 January) that it has already established a new business presence with 30 partners in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, effective immediately. The statement comes after legacy practice SJ Berwin went into administration yesterday.

The firm’s global chairman said this presence has been established to ‘service the needs of global clients’ and will include practices in London, Frankfurt, Dubai and Riyadh, and affiliated offices in Madrid, Milan and Brussels.

The new European platform will focus on corporate M&A, finance, competition and dispute resolution and comprises of more than 30 partners, their associates and support staff.

It is understood the new business will continue to operate under a verein structure. As reported by Legal Business on 12 December last year, the firm had also established a new LLP, KWM Deutschland.

KWM global chairman Junfeng Wang said: ‘I am proud and excited by the determination of our partners who have worked so hard with us to realise this practice in deeply challenging circumstances. This is a very good outcome for international clients and for the continued development of our firm.’

Wang (pictured) said: ‘This positive outcome will enable the firm to provide high quality service to international clients in key markets and provides a strong platform for further, international growth in EUME and beyond,’ he added.

Yesterday, corporate recovery and restructuring specialists Quantuma confirmed its appointment as KWM’s administrators at the High Court in London. A statement from Quantuma said both KWM’s LLP, or partnership, had gone into administration as well as KWM EUME Services, which holds the employees.

Quantuma partners Andy Hosking and Sean Bucknall are administrators for both LLPs while others assisting for KWM EUME Services are Simon Bonney and Carl Jackson. Samantha Palmer of Ashfords has been instructed as the appointed solicitor manager to deal with client monies and to ensure their interests are protected. The administrators are being co-advised by Rita Lowe of CMS Cameron McKenna and Steven Cottee of Pinsent Masons.

‘We are examining the position closely and exploring ways forward with a view to achieving the best possible return for creditors.’ Hosking said.

‘Regrettably there will be redundancies but at this stage it is still too early to specify how many. A small number of employees will be retained for a period to help with the administration,’ he added.