White & Case's big China hire

Li Xiaoming, qualified Chinese and US lawyer, joins the firm''s Beijing office.

Global law firm White & Case's mainland operations have been boosted by the hire of Li Xiaoming as a Beijing-based partner. Li moves to the firm from the Beijing practice of King & Wood, where for the past five years he has been senior partner. Prior to this he also gained US experience with Debevoise & Plimpton.

Upon joining White & Case's Beijing practice, Li becomes one of only a handful of Chinese lawyers to join a major international law firm as a lateral partner. His experience as both a Chinese lawyer and a lawyer of a major US law firm is also a rarity in the industry.

White & Case believes this will help strengthen the firm's existing capabilities in cross-border transactions involving both foreign inbound investors and the growing number of Chinese corporations expanding their interests overseas. Li says this platform and the potential growth of the China market was the deciding factor behind his move.

"Whether clients are from China or other foreign countries, they're all competing globally and any experience from any jurisdiction will be useful to clients in China," he comments. "White & Case are the kind of practice that provides this platform."

Li's list of China deals include: the IPO's of China Life and Petrochina; DaimlerChrysler's investment forays into the domestic automobile sector; the financing of an ethylene project in Shanghai and; Guangdong Nuclear Power Group's proposed financing of a new nuclear power plant.

"Li Xiaoming brings a wealth of accomplishments on matters involving foreign investors and domestic Chinese companies, which will greatly benefit our clients in China given our strong focus on cross-border investment and strategic M&A matters," said John Kuzmik, a partner at White & Case's China practice. "With the maturing of China's economy we're also seeing more opportunities in private equity, venture capital and international capital markets transactions. Our global reach gives Chinese companies a unique edge as they become more involved in international markets."

According to Li, the move to White & Case represents something of a return to the China-based practice he was involved in five years ago and will cater to the needs of domestic corporations, which require sound legal advice combined with Chinese experience. White & Case's Beijing office opened in April 2004 and compliments its other Greater China practices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.