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Dentons cuts ties with Chinese firm Dacheng

At a time when King & Wood Mallesons has moved to strengthen its China presence with a new collaboration agreement with a fellow global player, Dentons is calling off its combination with a Chinese firm in the wake of government mandates on legal practices.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 11 August 2023 Big Law
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The world’s biggest law firm is set to shrink in size following its decision to split from its partner firm in China, Dacheng Law Offices.

The decision ends an alliance between the two firms that was first formed back in 2015.

In a statement to Lawyers Weekly, a spokesperson for Dentons said that the firm is “modifying its relationship” with Beijing Dacheng Law Offices (大成).


The decision has been made, the spokesperson explained, “in response to recent Chinese government mandates” on Chinese law firms.

“Moving forward, 大成 will operate as a separate, standalone law firm that will serve as Dentons’ preferred law firm for clients with legal needs in China,” the spokesperson said.

“While our legal relationship is changing, we will continue working together to meet our clients’ needs across China and the 80-plus countries where Dentons does business.”

As has been reported by international legal media outlets, the global firm has justified the cutting of ties with Dacheng to its clients as a result of “an evolving regulatory environment for Chinese law firms in China, including new mandates and requirements relating to data privacy, cyber security, capital control and governance”.

Further, according to reports, the Hong Kong office will remain part of Dentons.

Meanwhile, King & Wood Mallesons’ Chinese arm has entered into a formal cooperation agreement with Eversheds Sutherland (International).

Under that agreement, KWM (China) will refer all future matters requiring legal advice in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa and South America to Eversheds Sutherland, and the latter’s clients requiring PRC legal advice will be referred to KWM.

Referrals will be made on an exclusive basis by both firms, subject to client preference and conflict clearance, KWM noted in a statement.

Both KWM and Eversheds Sutherland (International) have over 3,000 lawyers worldwide, across 31 and over 70 offices, respectively.

KWM global chair and founding partner of the firm’s China arm, Wang Junfeng, said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Eversheds Sutherland (International) after having successfully worked together on a number of important client matters over the last year.”

“Demand for international legal services has increased and diversified at pace, and Eversheds Sutherland (International) is an ideal fit for our clients with its extensive worldwide network. This arrangement is an exciting development in the international legal market, bringing elevated, global service offerings and new opportunities.”

As a result of the new agreement, KWM (China) will, subject to regulatory requirements, cease to operate in the UK, Europe and the Middle East by 31 October 2024, and its partners and staff in those jurisdictions will be invited to join the respective offices of Eversheds Sutherland, subject to practice needs and other considerations.

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy is the editor of Lawyers Weekly. A former lawyer, he has worked at Momentum Media as a journalist on Lawyers Weekly since February 2018, and has served as editor since March 2022. He is also the host of all five shows under The Lawyers Weekly Podcast Network, and has overseen the brand's audio medium growth from 4,000 downloads per month to over 60,000 downloads per month, making The Lawyers Weekly Show the most popular industry-specific podcast in Australia. Jerome is also the author of The Wellness Doctrines book series, an admitted solicitor in NSW, and a board director of Minds Count.

You can email Jerome at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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