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Leading Chinese law firm King & Wood has recruited Pillsbury Winthrop’s former managing partner for Beijing as a member in its international arbitration department. Mary “Meg” Utterback will continue to work in Shanghai for the Beijing-based firm. She joined Pillsbury’s Shanghai office in 2008 as part of a group defection from the now-defunct Thelen. Utterback, who specializes in international arbitration, construction law and foreign direct investment, is the latest China-based partner to jump from an international firm to a domestic one. Earlier this year, King & Wood recruited corporate partner Rupert Li from Clifford Chance‘s Beijing office. Around the same time, former Lovells Beijing managing partner Robert Lewis moved to Shanghai’s Allbright Law Offices. Chinese firms increasingly are dominating “inbound” China practices focused on foreign investment. Many multinationals operating in China have grown comfortable working with domestic firms that cost less and are not subject to practice restrictions. Foreign firms technically are barred from practicing Chinese law so must always refer substantial amounts of work to local firms.

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