Trade Arabia reported today that “Hussain Lootah & Associates (HL&A) Law Firm, one of the GCC’s leading law firms, has signed a cooperative agreement with China-based Dacheng Law Offices (DLO), Asia’s largest law firm.”

Both firms have agreed to “lend each other’s clients expertise in establishing businesses, operating legally, and understanding the local business parameters and challenges faced by foreign companies in the GCC and China.”

Xiao Jinquan, director of Dacheng Global Services Network said he “expect(s) trade and investment activities between China and its partners in the UAE and across the GCC to further expand, given that the UAE is already the largest Arab investor in China, while Chinese firms are increasingly securing high-profile projects in the region.  Indeed, , the China-UEA trade relationship has grown fivefold over the last ten years, and China is now the UAE’s second biggest trading partner.

Continuing a trend

Today’s announced law firm tie up as well as a recent US-China tie-up reflect a pattern likely to continue among Chinese law firms seeking growth in markets where there is already significant bi-lateral trade between China and those target markets.

As the Philadelphia Enquirer reported in December, for example, US law firm White & Williams LLP and Chinese law firm Winners “formalized an alliance to help each other’s clients” last November in Tianjin, China.

Indeed, opportunities available to Chinese and US law firms resulting from China-US bilateral trade will be highlighted at the US-China Legal Summit in Hong Kong next month.

Proactive, not reactive business development now required

DLO’s Xiao also stated that the two firms “combined expertise will greatly help both Chinese and Arab business enterprises, investors and entrepreneurs to better understand the opportunities and overcome the challenges as they expand in foreign markets.”

In order to do this effectively, however, both firms will need to establish internal business development units of trained professionals focused on the identification of commercial opportunity and danger in their respective markets for clients and potential clients – and perform the work necessary to drive these initiatives to the close of new business.  Without this focused initiative, the HL&A-DLO alliance and others like it, while they may produce new business, will not reach nearly their full potential.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal

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