International Law firm Lovells is continuing its hiring strategy by welcoming James Barr and Colin Law to the partnership. The new two appointments follow a six-month hiring spree where six new consultants and associates have joined the firm's Greater China corporate practice operations.

An experienced corporate finance lawyer, Barr becomes a Lovell's partner and will focus primarily on equity capital markets, cross-border M&A and private equity.

Barr joins Lovells from Johnson, Stokes and Master, where he was a consultant in the corporate finance practice. Before moving to JSM's Hong Kong practice, Barr spent six years in the corporate finance department of Hambros Bank in London and also practiced with Freshfields.

Colin Law enters the partnership alongside Barr courtesy of an internal promotion. Joining Lovells in March 2003, Law moved from Freshfields. Law's time at Freshfields was divided between Hong Kong, London and Beijing, concentrating particularly on the telecommunications sector.

Law's ascension to the partnership requires a focus on M&A, corporate finance and securities in the China region. Capitalising on Law's 10 years of experience in China, he will split his time 70:30 between Beijing and Hong Kong.

The two new partners represent another step in the headhunting operation conducted by Lovells' corporate finance practice over the last two years. Since December 2003, Lovells has bolstered its China operations with six fee-earning hires in the Beijing and Shanghai offices. According to Lovells, further expansion in China is expected over the coming months.

The current operational boost in China represents a two-pronged strategy that has been executed for two years, says Greg Terry, Hong Kong-based head of Asian corporate practice.

Terry stresses that the upswing in China-based hires is reflective of mainland customer demand for corporate finance expertise. "We've seen a lot of interest in our corporate practice over the last nine months, encouraged by rapidly improving market conditions in Greater China and the region," asserts Terry. "Clients will appreciate this further strengthening of our resources."

Currently, Lovells' Beijing operation has 20 fee-earning solicitors, while the Shanghai branch has increased to five fee-earners. The firm expects this number to increase over the coming months.