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If you could only keep one office in China, where would it be? Would you prefer Beijing, the capital and political center of the nation? Or would it make more sense to be in Shanghai? Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton recently had to make that decision, and they went with Shanghai. The coastal city, the firm said, is the more logical location for its cross-border M&A and IP practices. Sheppard Mullin’s consolidation of its Chinese offices is déjà vu among U.S. firms. A couple of years ago, Winston & Strawn did the same thing by closing its Beijing office, and a few years before that Vinson & Elkins did the opposite by shuttering in Shanghai.

At the moment, 42 of the Am Law 100 operate a Beijing office, according to official Chinese records, and 41 are in Shanghai. Only 27 of those firms have offices in both cities.

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Anna Zhang

Anna Zhang is the Hong Kong-based Asia Bureau Chief for Law.com International. She writes about lawyers and legal issues across Asia. Her coverage includes the business of law, global and domestic law firms, in-house legal departments and regulatory issues. She can be reached at [email protected]

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