China arm of King & Wood Mallesons explains collapse of European offices

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The China management committee of King & Wood Mallesons has used a social media app to post a critique of failures that led to the demise of the European arm of the law firm.

The message said a first recapitalization plan failed because of “a lack of core leadership and a common ground among partners,” the Am Law Daily (sub. req.) reports. The Jan. 19 message, posted on the social media app WeChat was written in Chinese and summarized by the Am Law Daily.

After the first recapitalization plan failed, the firm’s China arm offered a revised proposal that included financial support, but only about 16 percent of the European partners agreed to the plan, the message said. “Senior partners from KWM China spent days and nights working out of offices in London, Paris and Frankfurt to talk to and encourage colleagues there,” but the effort did not succeed, according to the message.

KWM China will actively manage a group of 30 partners who will remain to provide a presence in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Africa, the statement said.

The “vast majority” of partners at the collapsed law firm have moved to new law firms, Legal Week (sub. req.) reports. Reed Smith announced Monday that it has hired several teams from the firm, including 17 partners, three counsel, 22 associates, two knowledge management lawyers and seven trainees. The new hires will join Reed Smith offices in London, Frankfurt, Munich and Paris.

The teams will follow several lawyers and staffers who joined Reed Smith on Jan. 16, according to a law firm press release.





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