Herbert Smith Freehills recently announced a joint operation with a Chinese law firm in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, becoming the latest international firm to take advantage of a government-sanctioned program that gives foreign firms Chinese law capability.

At least a dozen global firms are now operating Chinese associations in various forms, offering one-stop-shop services that include Chinese legal opinions, court appearances and dealing with regulators. The 5-year-old Shanghai FTZ scheme, which has also benefited Linklaters, Ashurst, HFW, Hogan Lovells and Baker McKenzie, is one of several ways firms can get access to Chinese law practice.