With Winston Hire, Simmons & Simmons Rebuilds China Employment Group

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Simmons & Simmons has recruited a new labor law partner in Shanghai as the firm rebuilds its China employment practice following the exit of a five-lawyer team in February.

Matthew Durham has rejoined the British firm from Winston & Strawn, where he was Asia head of employment until earlier this year. Durham advises multinational clients on employment-related issues related to their operations and transactions in China, where earlier this year Winston & Strawn announced it would close an office in Beijing, as well as an outpost in Taipei.

The move marks a homecoming of sorts for Durham, who has had two previous stints at Simmons & Simmons. Most recently, he was a Shanghai-based consultant at the firm between 2007 and 2010. Durham qualified as a solicitor and started his career at Simmons & Simmons in London before moving to Magic Circle firm Linklaters.

In 2011, Durham became a partner at Clyde & Co, serving as head of employment for Greater China at the British firm. He left two years later to join Winston & Strawn in Shanghai.

In May, former Shanghai employment partner Lesli Ligorner left the firm with four additional Simmons & Simmons lawyers to launch a local office for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Fiona Loughrey, a Hong Kong-based Asia head of employment at Simmons & Simmons, said that Durham’s hire is part of an ongoing expansion of her firm’s employment practice. At least four more labor lawyers are expected to join Simmons & Simmons in Asia between now and year’s end, she said.

Simmons & Simmons recently saw the former head of its China practice, Davis Wang, leave the firm’s Beijing office to start his own corporate advisory shop. But Simmons & Simmons also hired Hogan Lovells corporate partner Michael Chin in Shanghai for its office in Hong Kong.

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