KWM Germany scores two lateral partners

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King & Wood Mallesons is strengthening its European platform with two new partners hired by its German arm.

Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret have been appointed partners in Frankfurt. They join partners Christian Cornett, Rudolf Haas, Rüdiger Knopf, and Sandra Link, who re-established the KWM firm in Germany – KWM Europe Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH – after the collapse of KWM’s Europe, UK, and Middle East (EUME) partnership. Since its establishment, the firm has also added corporate counsel Tilmann Becker to the fold.

Zhao, who specialises in Chinese M&A in Germany, comes to KWM from Noerr, where he was associated partner tasked to build the firm’s China practices over the last decade. He is also an alumnus of Haarmann Hemmelrath and White & Case. He is a native Chinese speaker and he advises both German clients on investments in China, and Chinese clients on investments in Germany.

Ehret, who comes from US BigLaw firm Latham & Watkins, is an expert in finance and restructuring. He has more than 10 years’ experience advising banks and debt funds as lenders, and companies as borrowers, on domestic and international deals. He also has deep knowledge of restructuring and acts for investors, lenders, and other creditors of distressed companies.

Wang Junfeng, KWM global chairman, said the firm is fortunate to have retained a strong foundation in Frankfurt. The addition of the two new partners enhances the firm’s on-the-ground offering and is a sign it is committed to the German market, he said.

Sue Kench, KWM global managing partner, said that the appointment are a significant step in the firm’s vision to be the leading global law firm for Asia. She said that the areas of corporate M&A, particularly for the firm’s Chinese clients, and banking and restructuring, are core areas of focus and strength.

Xu Ping, senior M&A partner in KWM’s Beijing office, said that Zhao will become a key partner in deals for Chinese clients.

“Chinese clients regularly require a senior Chinese speaking lawyer as a direct point of contact during a transaction, and with Hui Zhao, we can now offer such a service on the ground in Germany. As financing has become more prevalent and sophisticated, with Daniel we are able to meet these needs of our clients,” he said.

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