International law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP today announced the appointment of prominent international dealmaker Winston (Jiusu) Zhao as head of its China Outbound Transactions team. He joins McDermott from the Shanghai office of an AmLaw 10 law firm.
Mr. Zhao will be based in Shanghai and seconded to McDermott’s strategic ally, MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai (MWE China). In this role, he will build a team consisting of leading lawyers from across the Firm, which will focus on providing Chinese companies looking to make investments outside of China with the full suite of legal services ranging from corporate, to intellectual property (IP) to international tax planning. Winston will also be a member of the Firm’s China Management Committee.
Mr. Zhao has over 20 years of experience advising Fortune 500 companies in their international corporate and commercial projects in China, including cross-border M&A operations, China inbound and outbound investments, corporate restructuring, corporate finance, IP and product liability matters.
“We are delighted to welcome Winston to McDermott,” said Jeffrey E. Stone, co-chair of McDermott Will & Emery. “His extensive experience representing major American and European companies in China, and increasingly, Chinese companies looking to invest in the U.S. and Europe, makes him a natural choice to lead our effort to expand our outbound work from Shanghai.”
“Winston’s familiarity with the issues related to both inbound and outbound Chinese investments as well as his background in the areas of joint ventures, venture capital and private equity, and IP protection will enable him to play a key role in achieving our strategic objectives in Asia,” added Peter J. Sacripanti, co-chair of McDermott Will & Emery. “It is our pleasure to welcome him aboard.”
McDermott has a strategic alliance with the People’s Republic of China (PRC)-licensed firm MWE China. As a PRC-licensed firm, MWE China’s lawyers are allowed to maintain their Chinese law licenses; allowing them to communicate with Chinese government agencies on legal issues, collect evidence and represent clients in Chinese courts and before Chinese regulatory bodies. The strategic alliance therefore allows both firms to function as an integrated firm in essentially all respects of service delivery while offering clients the benefit of full legal representation on both sides of the Pacific and in Europe.
In February 2012, McDermott announced its intention to open an office in Seoul, South Korea, following the recent loosening of restrictions that prevented U.S. law firms from operating in that country.
“Our strategic alliance with McDermott has benefitted U.S. and European clients – many of whom are Fortune 500 and Fortune Global 500 companies – making inbound investments into China. As the Chinese economy continues to develop and Chinese companies increasingly expand and invest overseas, we look forward to providing these Chinese clients with the same level of globally integrated international representation that our strategic alliance with McDermott has provided our U.S. and European clients. We therefore welcome the opportunity to work closely with Winston as we further build our outbound transactional capabilities,” added John Z. L. Huang, co-managing partner of MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.
“Winston has an outstanding reputation in Shanghai and we are excited to begin working with him,” added Kevin Y. Qian, co-managing partner of MWE China. “His history of success in China representing many of the largest U.S., European and Chinese companies on complex, cross-border deals will be a vital asset to us as we continue to expand the Firm. Our clients will benefit significantly from his insights and global experience.”
Mr. Zhao represented a major European client in one of the largest restructurings of a foreign investor in China. The transaction involved the corporate reorganization and subsequent conversion of more than a dozen foreign-invested enterprises in China into a share holding company. Mr. Zhao was also lead international counsel in the U.S. $2 billion Nissan-Dong Feng joint venture – one of the largest direct investment projects to date in the Chinese auto industry.
Mr. Zhao speaks English, Mandarin and Shanghainese. He has been listed on the International Who’s Who of Professionals since 1997. He has also been ranked by Asialaw Leading Lawyers for corporate finance, corporate restructuring, and cross-border M&A since 2004. In addition, he has been ranked as a leading lawyer by China Law & Practice, China’s Top 200, Asia Pacific Legal 500, and the Global Counsel 3000 since 2004.
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