Harneys, the British Virgin Islands-based, globally focused law firm, has added to its growing Asia operations with what it said was the official launch of its Shanghai office “as a fully operational legal and fiduciary services firm”.
The announcement comes months after the firm was granted a licence by the Chinese justice ministry earlier this year to offer international legal services out of Shanghai, which it noted had made it the first “offshore” law firm to have a full service legal team on the ground on the Chinese mainland.
In a statement announcing its new Shanghai outpost, Harneys said its Shanghai offering would complement those of the other international and Chinese law firms in the region, with which it would be working alongside.
Harneys, the statement noted, is now “the only [Peoples’ Republic of China-based] legal services team practising offshore law, specifically the laws of the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Cyprus”.
The firm does not, however, practise Chinese law, it added.
Named to head up Harneys’ Shanghai team is Kristy Calvert, who the company describes as an “industry veteran” who has more than 15 years’ experience of working on cross-border transactions, ten of which she clocked up in the PRC. Calvert had previously been managing director of Ogier’s Shanghai offices, according to published reports.
Calvert’s “associate bench” will work alongside the the law firm’s two other full service Asia offices, in Hong Kong and Singapore, and its representative office in Tokyo, the firm said. Areas the Harneys’ Asia operation is able to look after include offshore legal and fiduciary services across each of its key practice areas: corporate and commercial, banking and finance, investment funds, private client and trusts, and litigation and restructuring, the firm said.
The formal opening of Harneys’ Shanghai office represents the latest in a series of recent office openings. Other new outposts include Bermuda – which took the form of a merger with an existing local firm, Hurrion & Associates, announced in September last year – and Tokyo.
According to the legal news website, TheLawyer.com, Harneys has been one of the legal industry’s “biggest hirers in the offshore market for the last few years”.