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Los Angeles — Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is planning to open an office in Beijing within the next 60 to 90 days, according to the firm’s chairman, R. Bruce McLean. The office would be the first in mainland China for the Washington-based firm, which has more than 900 lawyers in 15 offices, including international outposts in London; Moscow; Brussels, Belgium; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Taipei, Taiwan. “We’ve been looking at the China market for quite some time,” McLean said. “The things we think we’ll bring to the market are better served in Beijing and China than other cities.” Specifically, the firm plans to provide legal work for Chinese companies in the international trade and energy sectors, both of which have strong connections to the governmental entities based in Beijing, he said. The firm also intends to staff intellectual property lawyers at the Beijing office. McLean said that the firm plans to open the office after completing the permitting process, most likely in the first quarter of 2007. Cutler to lead office Eliot Cutler, a partner in the Washington office whose practices include public law and policy and energy, plans to head the Beijing office, which initially might staff about four lawyers, McLean said. Cutler founded Cutler & Stanfield, an environmental and land use firm that merged with Akin Gump in November 2000. Under President Jimmy Carter, Cutler served as associate director of the Office of Management and Budget and was the principal White House official for policy and budget matters in environmental, natural resources and energy until 1980. Scott Arrington, a partner at the firm’s Houston office, is expected to join Cutler in Beijing, McLean said. Arrington, who speaks Mandarin Chinese, works in the firm’s global projects, energy and project and infrastructure development practice areas. China has become a growing market for international law firms. Earlier this week, New York-based Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy opened an office in Beijing. The firm has other Asian offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

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