Dentons has opened an office in Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province in northwestern China, the legal giant’s 44th office in the country.
The Lanzhou office is the final piece to complete Dentons’ strategic network in mainland China, said the firm’s Beijing managing partner, Wang Jun, at the office’s opening ceremony on Monday. Dentons now has offices in all but one provincial capital and all four municipalities in China.
The firm acquired most of the Lanzhou office from locally based Gansu Yurong Law Firm. The 94-lawyer office is led by managing partner Li Zhangfa and executive partner Li Xinmin. The office will leverage Lanzhou’s strategic location on the Silk Road, an ancient trade and commercial path connecting China and Eurasia; Lanzhou is now a key location in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an umbrella term for a series of Chinese-sponsored infrastructure projects in Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Lawyers at Gansu Yurong Law Firm have advised local government and state-owned companies on the construction of real estate and infrastructure projects in Lanzhou and across Gansu province.
Wang also said that the Dentons office in Lanzhou will help develop the local legal market. Legal resources in most of western China remain extremely limited, so much so that in Gansu’s neighboring Qinghai province, local governments deployed robots to help residents living in remote rural areas with legal issues. Gansu, in particular, where a significant portion of the local residents are Muslim minorities, has one of the lowest gross domestic product per capita among all provinces in China.
Since Dentons merged with Chinese legal juggernaut Dacheng in 2015, the combined firm has continued to grow, becoming the largest firm in the world. According to last year’s Global 100 ranking, Dentons in 2016 had 7,445 lawyers across 55 offices, more than half based in China.
Additional reporting by Anna Zhang in Beijing.