Xiaowei Ye has left Shearman & Sterling to join international law firm Allen & Overy. She will be based at Allen & Overy's Beijing office initially before relocating to the firm's Shanghai office in November 2003. At A&O she will be a partner in the firm's US-law and corporate practices, working with Michael Liu in the corporate group and Peter Curley and David Johnson in the US law group.

Ye had worked with Shearman & Sterling for the past eight years doing deals for Chalco, Petrochina and China Mobile a well as the IPO of Bank of China (Hong Kong). She joined Shearman from Washington DC based firm Wilkie, Farr & Gallagher.

<>"This appointment is part of the expansion of the firm's on the ground presence in China," says Brian Harrison, head of Asia for Allen & Overy in Hong Kong. "We have been advising on some of the highest profile transactions in China and Xiaowei's arrival will definitely help meet the increasing demands of our clients active in the Chinese capital markets and corporate areas as well as growing our US law capability in China."

Foreign qualified Chinese lawyers are gold dust to international firms at present. Domestic law prevents foreign law firms from advising on local law, restricting them to matters of foreign law. But with so many international deals coming into and out of China, having the Chinese/foreign matrix in place on the ground is essential.

"We expect Xiaowei to spend substantial time in and work closely with each of our three offices in China,"says Michael Liu, partner and head of Asian Corporate Group at Allen & Overy. "Xiaowei is already assisting in our role as counsel for the issuer of one of the largest forthcoming H share IPOs."