Law Firms

U.S. Firm Sees China as an Escape from Economic Slowdown


As the effects of the economic downtown ripple throughout the rest of the world, global law firm Nixon Peabody is hopeful that the continued investment of U.S. private equity in China, as well as Chinese companies investing in the U.S., will pay off for the firm and its clients.

The firm is expanding its Shanghai office with the addition of former Heller Ehrman partner Henry Liu as chair of its China practice. Nixon Peabody is looking to Liu, who, according to a firm press release was instrumental in enacting China’s first National Securities Law in 1998, to boost its global finance practices in Asia, possibly providing some relief from the economic slowdown at home.

“International law firms going to work in China reflect that the relationship between China and the U.S. is growing,” Nixon Peabody Chairman Harry Trueheart told the ABA Journal. “Henry [Liu] bridges the gap, being able to work in both worlds.”

Trueheart is optimistic, because, as he notes, “China has the world’s fastest-growing economy. It’s slowing down, but it’s still growing.”

Indeed, China is the only superpower that the Economist predicts will be among the five fastest-growing countries in 2009.

“China is another escape from the world crisis,” Liu said. “China might be different because of its current state of advancement, the domestic market and because the government plays such a quick role in reacting [to the financial crisis].”

The Chinese government’s efforts to field a targeted 8 percent economic growth could benefit international companies that have a substantial presence outside the U.S., Liu added.

Liu’s presence brings Nixon Peabody’s Shanghai office total to three U.S.-trained attorneys: one who also splits his time, like Liu, between the U.S. and China, and one China-trained attorney. The firm plans to recruit additional China-trained lawyers and open an office in Beijing in the future.

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