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O’Melveny & Myers has established its second outpost in mainland China, with the opening of a small Beijing office. The move to Beijing represents the latest piece in O’Melveny’s growing Asia practice, which includes offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Operating in Beijing, where the Chinese government is centered, will allow Los Angeles-based O’Melveny to capture a larger share of work representing Chinese and foreign companies in anti-dumping and export/import cases, as well as the burgeoning field of Chinese nonperforming loan transactions. “Beijing and Shanghai are the two cities in China that are critical,” said Howard Chao, head of O’Melveny’s Asia practice. “You really can’t cover the China market that well without having an office in both cities.” Until recently, foreign law firms were limited to offices in a single city in mainland China. When China joined the World Trade Organization a year ago, it promised to allow foreign firms to move into a second city within a year. The Chinese Ministry of Justice granted O’Melveny a license to open a Beijing office on Thursday. O’Melveny’s Beijing office will feature 10 lawyers, as well as several business professionals, including a full-time translator and — as is the custom in China — a tea lady. O’Melveny also announced that Howard Zhang, a former diplomat with the Chinese government and an experienced transactional lawyer in New York, has joined the firm as partner and will move to the Beijing office. Patrick Norton, previously at O’Melveny’s Shanghai office, will head up the new Beijing practice.

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