Baker & McKenzie has launched a joint operation office with Beijing-based firm FenXun Partners in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

The Chicago-based firm is the first international law firm licensed by the Chinese government to partner with a Chinese law firm in the Shanghai FTZ under a pilot program that was approved by the Ministry of Justice in January 2014. Foreign law firms are allowed to use two models—joint operation or mutual secondments—to gain Chinese law capability through cooperation with a local law firm, according to Chinese regulations.