It may not be love in the air, but for Chinese law firms some frenetic matchmaking is definitely in the mix, writes John Church

Ever since the announcement earlier this year of the tie-up between King & Wood and international firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, the legal community has been awash with speculation about who’s next. Many firms are believed to be eyeing up prospective suitors, while behind the scenes negotiations have begun in earnest. Be it domestic or further afield, on the agenda: mergers, alliances, joint ventures, restructurings, consolidations and new beginnings.

To quote one well known Beijing lawyer: “The PRC legal market is in the process of developing from an infant phase to a semi-mature stage, and PRC firms can seek and explore plenty of new opportunities. In the forthcoming days, PRC lawyers are to enjoy a most prosperous time.”

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That was Zhan Hao, formerly the executive partner at Grandall Law Firm, and as of this month the founder and managing partner of AnJie Law Firm, Beijing’s newest firm. His quote is included in a story about mergers because in reality his new firm is just that – a merger of talent from several of Beijing’s leading firms.

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