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WEIL, GOTSHAL LAWYER HEADS TO THE CHINA HIS FATHER FLED Anthony Wang’s father fled China as Mao Zedong and the Communist Party rose to power in the late 1940s. Now, Wang is headed back to his father’s homeland to join Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ Shanghai office and to engage an increasingly open market. “Forty-two years ago, my parents came to the United States in search of better opportunities,” said Wang, a corporate lawyer in Weil’s Palo Alto office. “Now, it’s the other way around, as I and many other ABCs [American Born Chinese] are crossing the Pacific to seek opportunities and also rediscover history in our ancestral homeland.” The move comes as many large firms try to bolster their China offices with attorneys who are willing and able to work there. Most of the work is in the transactional and capital markets practice areas, since foreign lawyers aren’t allowed to practice Chinese law. Wang, 33, who helped found Weil’s Shanghai office two years ago, specializes in private equity, IPOs and mergers and acquisitions. Many of the deals have been of the cross-border variety, requiring him to fly back and forth between China and the United States on a regular basis. Wang hopes his work will be part of the greater push toward openness in China. “I want to see China come out of its slumber,” Wang said. “I think the people there realized that a planned, centralized economy was a failure.” Wang’s father left China in the late 1940s and lived in Taiwan � where he met his wife � until 1964 before immigrating to the United States. Wang’s decision to move to Shanghai, a city where his father briefly lived, wasn’t an easy one � the lawyer is married with a 2-year-old son, Brendan. His wife, Natalie, is Filipina-American and doesn’t speak Mandarin, but Wang said she’s willing to learn the language � something that he’s working on as well. Wang said that being Asian-American and not speaking the language perfectly has its ups and downs.
The Rush into China

Read our latest coverage on the scramble to get American law firms � and lawyers � into China.

“It’s a blessing and curse,” he said. “On the street they think I’m slow, but the businessmen give me a little deference and they’re surprised that I can speak a little Mandarin.” Not only is the language different, the way business is conducted is also unusual. “There’s this idea of making kinship before making deals,” Wang said. “It’s similar to the Valley, where relationships are the key.” One indication of the importance of kinship is the fact that Chinese businessmen have historically preferred shorter contracts because it conveys trust, Wang said Going back to Shanghai also provides professional opportunities for the eighth-year associate. Wang is looking to make the jump to partnership at Weil. “This could help extend my opportunities,” he said.

Zusha Elinson

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