The agreements, which are non-exclusive, will connect the Brisbane-based firm with Chinese investors eyeing opportunities in Australia’s energy & resources and property sectors, said HopgoodGanim’s managing partner Bruce Humphrys (pictured).
Dacheng Law Offices LLP describes mining, energy & resources as one of its key practice areas, while Zhejiang T&C Law Firm is focused on capital markets, real estate and construction, and foreign direct investment.
Humphrys said it was likely the firms would bid for infrastructure work or be part of an ongoing and operating mine in Australia.
“It was a logical hook up,” he said.
Under the agreements, the firms will share information and resources, including referrals and secondments. Humphrys explained that regular communication between the firms will focus on HopgoodGanim’s sectoral strengths, including resources, construction and infrastructure, agri-business and tourism.
“It makes sense for us to ... establish ways in which we can successfully offer our expertise to Chinese law firms, companies and investors, who are showing a lot of interest in these growth industries.”
Dacheng is China’s largest firm by headcount and has grown its international network in recent years through strategic alliances with foreign firms in Europe, America and Australia. The firm established informal ties with Minter Ellison in 2010 following a six-person visit by the Australian firm to Dacheng’s Beijing headquarters.
Delegations from HopgoodGanim visited China three times in 2012, with stops in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Humphrys said his firm did not intend to enter into written agreements with Chinese firms but realised it is customary “to formalise things” through a deed of cooperation.
“It’s another sign of good faith,” he added.
When asked if the move could be a precursor to a merger, Humphrys strongly denied that HopgoodGanim was on the lookout for a global tie-up. “We’re not the slightest bit interested in a merger,” he said.
The announcement follows HopgoodGanim’s merger with Perth-based boutique firm Q Legal in November.