Harneys launches fully operational legal and fiduciary firm in Shanghai

Harneys has expanded its Asia operations with the official launch of its Shanghai office as a fully operational legal and fiduciary services firm. The global offshore law firm was granted a licence to offer international legal services by China’s Ministry of Justice earlier this year, making it the first offshore law firm with a full service legal team on the ground in China.

The development gives Harneys clear competitive advantage in being better able to service PRC-based clients from within China. Their Shanghai team comprises a robust associate bench led by industry veteran Kristy Calvert, who has more than 15 years’ experience of working on cross-border transactions, ten of which were gained in the PRC. They are supported by a strong team of paralegals, business development managers and corporate secretaries, each of whom speaks fluent English, Mandarin and Shanghainese.

The team will work alongside Harneys’ two other full service Asia offices in Hong Kong and Singapore and its representative office in Tokyo to offer a full range of offshore legal and fiduciary services across each of its key practice areas: corporate and commercial, banking and finance, investment funds, private client and trusts, and litigation and restructuring.

Asia Managing Partner, Jonathan Culshaw commented: “Establishing a full service legal team on the ground in the PRC is a key milestone in our strategic plan for Asia. Harneys has been advising China-based clients on the offshore aspects of Chinese inbound and outbound transactions since the 1980s, with the vast majority of our instructions historically emanating from China.

Jonathan continued: “We have a deep understanding of China’s legal landscape and regulatory regime as well as the needs of clients in this market, and look forward to being better able to service them from a more proximate base in Shanghai.”

Harneys’ offshore legal services offering in China complements those provided by other international and Chinese law firms, whom they work alongside. The expansion makes them the only PRC-based legal services team practising offshore law, specifically the laws of the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Cyprus. They do not practise Chinese law.

Harneys already has a leading reputation in the Asia market. The team has won numerous awards, most recently that of Offshore Law Firm of the Year at Asia Legal Business’ Hong Kong Law Awards 2017 and Best Offshore Law Firm at the HFM Asia Service Provider Awards 2017. Its Greater China team of 45 lawyers is now the largest of any offshore law firm, as is its four-office Asia network.