Shanghai, China
Shanghai, China ()

Herbert Smith Freehills has opened an alternative legal services center in Shanghai, extending its lower-cost support offering to a seventh office worldwide.

The new hub, which the firm claims is the first of its kind in China, had its soft launch in August. The center already has 13 lawyers and legal analysts working in it who are bilingual in English and Mandarin.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ team is comprised of five PRC lawyers and eight legal analysts that offer legal skills, process efficiency and technology solutions to clients, making it cheaper and more efficient to process high volume or document-intensive work. The group is already handling corporate and disputes mandates for both Chinese and international clients, according to Herbert Smith Freehills.

The center forms part of the global legal giant’s legal services offering but will focus on servicing Greater China across all practice areas.

“A complex transaction or dispute can involve the review of millions of Chinese-language documents that often must remain in China,” said Libby Jackson, global head of alternative legal services at Herbert Smith Freehills. “By equipping this new team with the technology and processes proven at our existing legal hubs in Belfast and Perth, we can offer clients a cost-effective way of tackling the document-intensive elements of the projects on the ground in China.”

Julian Copeman, head of Greater China at Herbert Smith Freehills, said that it chose Shanghai over Beijing primarily due to office space. The low-cost team is situated within Herbert Smith Freehills’ existing office in the city.

“China is a competitive market and it allows us to offer these services at a rate that others aren’t able to offer,” Copeman told Legal Week. “It does give us an edge.”

London-based predecessor Herbert Smith—the firm inked a megamerger in 2012 with Australia’s Freehills—opened its first center in Belfast in 2011 with 19 fee earners. That office in Northern Ireland now has 240 lawyers, legal assistants and technology staff working as part of a larger group of more than 350 across the global alternative services team.

Last year the Anglo-Australian firm launched a “pop-up” center in Perth and Herbert Smith Freehills is currently assessing whether there is demand for a permanent offering in the city. In addition to Shanghai, Belfast and Perth, the firm has alternative legal services centers in Brisbane, London, Melbourne and Sydney.

The China launch comes after Herbert Smith Freehills unveiled a new four-year strategy earlier this year that focuses in part on the flexibility of its offerings and service delivery.

Herbert Smith Freehills has opened an alternative legal services center in Shanghai, extending its lower-cost support offering to a seventh office worldwide.

The new hub, which the firm claims is the first of its kind in China, had its soft launch in August. The center already has 13 lawyers and legal analysts working in it who are bilingual in English and Mandarin.

Herbert Smith Freehills ’ team is comprised of five PRC lawyers and eight legal analysts that offer legal skills, process efficiency and technology solutions to clients, making it cheaper and more efficient to process high volume or document-intensive work. The group is already handling corporate and disputes mandates for both Chinese and international clients, according to Herbert Smith Freehills .

The center forms part of the global legal giant’s legal services offering but will focus on servicing Greater China across all practice areas.

“A complex transaction or dispute can involve the review of millions of Chinese-language documents that often must remain in China,” said Libby Jackson, global head of alternative legal services at Herbert Smith Freehills . “By equipping this new team with the technology and processes proven at our existing legal hubs in Belfast and Perth, we can offer clients a cost-effective way of tackling the document-intensive elements of the projects on the ground in China.”

Julian Copeman, head of Greater China at Herbert Smith Freehills , said that it chose Shanghai over Beijing primarily due to office space. The low-cost team is situated within Herbert Smith Freehills ’ existing office in the city.

“China is a competitive market and it allows us to offer these services at a rate that others aren’t able to offer,” Copeman told Legal Week. “It does give us an edge.”

London-based predecessor Herbert Smith—the firm inked a megamerger in 2012 with Australia’s Freehills—opened its first center in Belfast in 2011 with 19 fee earners. That office in Northern Ireland now has 240 lawyers, legal assistants and technology staff working as part of a larger group of more than 350 across the global alternative services team.

Last year the Anglo-Australian firm launched a “pop-up” center in Perth and Herbert Smith Freehills is currently assessing whether there is demand for a permanent offering in the city. In addition to Shanghai, Belfast and Perth, the firm has alternative legal services centers in Brisbane, London, Melbourne and Sydney.

The China launch comes after Herbert Smith Freehills unveiled a new four-year strategy earlier this year that focuses in part on the flexibility of its offerings and service delivery.