China (PRC)

Herbert Smith Freehills has set up a first-of-its-kind alternative legal services hub in China.Based in the firm’s Shanghai office, the business comprises a team of 13 bilingual lawyers and legal analysts who will combine technology, process efficiency and legal expertise to deliver high-volume or document-intensive work quickly and cheaply.

“A complex transaction or dispute can involve the review of millions of Chinese-language documents that often must remain in China,” says Libby Jackson, the firm’s global head of alternative legal services.

“By equipping this new team with the technology and processes proven at our existing legal hubs in Belfast and Perth, we can offer clients a cost-effective way of tackling the document-intensive elements of these projects on the ground in China.”

There are other players offering similar services in China. Consilio, a US e-discovery and document review specialist, opened a new centre in Shanghai last year to meet the rigorous data requirements in China — as well as to cope with the challenge of reviewing Chinese-language documents.

However, Herbert Smith claims to be the first law firm to offer these types of services alongside a full-service team of international lawyers providing high-end advice.

“This innovation of a new centre in Shanghai helps us deliver on the firm’s commitment to providing innovative and cost-effective service delivery options to our clients,” says Sonya Leydecker, the firm’s global co-chief executive. “It is part of our new strategy launched earlier this year, and continues the pioneering work we have done in the alternative delivery of our services to clients.”

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