The Legal Cheek View
Fangda Partners is one of China’s eight elite ‘Red Circle’ law firms, an informal grouping broadly similar to the UK ‘Magic Circle’ and US ‘White Shoe’ firms. It’s headquartered in Shanghai, with offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
Fangda was founded in 1993, shortly after the People’s Republic of China (PRC) allowed private law firms. Expect big celebrations as the firm marks its 30th anniversary next year. The Hong Kong office opened in 2012, following the hire of litigation partner Peter Yuen, and has grown to over 15 partners in the last ten years. Fangda has broadened its initial focus in Hong Kong on dispute resolution to corporate, capital markets, banking & finance and private equity, advising multinational companies on PRC and Hong Kong laws. Most partners trained at international law firms before joining Fangda and qualified in multiple jurisdictions.
The firm’s lawyers have been involved in a lot of ‘firsts’, including the first domestic listing by a company incorporated outside the PRC (so-called red chip companies) and the first injunction obtained in an intellectual property dispute under Chinese procedural law.
Entry into the office, which is located on 26/F of Central’s One Exchange Square, is designed to look and feel like a Shanghai Garden. There are various tropical plants, decorative ornaments and artwork with Chinese calligraphy on the walls. The wooden doors, floors and tables add to the oriental vibe, and there’s a great sea view. The firm also occupies 33/F.
Fangda selects five trainees from up to 15 interns that take part in the three summer vacation schemes it runs each year. Aside from working for one of China’s most prestigious law firms, which is believed to be the hardest to get into, perks include a competitive salary, plus discretionary bonus.