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Williams Kastner / Duan & Duan – China: Unique Capabilities

Williams Kastner provides an ideal gateway for clients with interests in Asia through our affiliated offices with Duan & Duan, one of the most established and well-known law firms in China. Duan & Duan is distinctive in that it is the first private and indigenous law firm to emerge in the People’s Republic of China. With three offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, the firm has become well recognized as a pioneer and leader in international legal services for companies entering China and PRC companies doing business abroad.

Williams Kastner/Duan & Duan Strategic Alliance Brochure

Duan & Duan website

Charles Duan — The Founder of Integrated China Legal Services Delivery

Charles Duan led the way to cross-border integrated legal services between China and the United States. In 1991, while working for Williams Kastner, Charles Duan, a Chinese lawyer and trade consultant, was sworn in as the state’s first foreign law consultant, specializing in Chinese and U.S. business law. With a ground-breaking ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Charles became the first lawyer to practice on both sides of the Pacific. Charles Duan established the law firm Duan & Duan in 1993.

First Privately Owned PRC Law Firm

As recently as 1993, lawyers in China were all “legal workers of the State.” Based on their experiences in the U.S., Europe and Hong Kong, Duan & Duan’s founders envisioned a private partnership law firm practicing in accordance with world class legal service standards to help foreign clients with their commercial activities in China. After extensive lobbying and negotiation with PRC authorities, the founders of Duan & Duan secured approvals from the Ministry of Justice to establish the first privately owned and financed PRC law firm in China.

Growth – In the United States and China

Duan & Duan’s growth in the United States is closely aligned with the PRC’s emerging stature on the world stage. One year after the firm was established, with permission from the PRC Ministry of Justice, Duan & Duan opened its first overseas branch in the Seattle, Washington office of Williams Kastner. Duan & Duan thus became one of the first two Chinese law firms to offer legal services abroad. In 2006, Duan & Duan received permission from the Law Society of Hong Kong to establish an office and to practice law in Hong Kong. Duan & Duan was among the first domestic law firms permitted to practice law in Hong Kong. In the same year, Duan & Duan’s Beijing branch office was opened.

Duan & Duan is now staffed by over 50 attorneys and support staff members—all lawyers have extensive legal training and experience. Unlike many U.S. firms with offices in China, Duan & Duan is distinctive in that it is an indigenous law firm with the unique cultural perspective to successfully represent clients in the PRC.  For Chinese companies seeking to do business outside of Asia, the firm understands and represents a trusted advisor capable of protecting client interests and investments. For foreign entities seeking to do business in China, Duan & Duan, in alliance with Williams Kastner, is uniquely qualified to represent corporate investments and transactions in the PRC.

Counsel to Fortune 500 in China

The firm’s ability to straddle legal systems, languages and cultures has led to the representation in China of a number of the world’s largest Fortune 500 companies. Since 1993, the firm has represented these companies as they have entered the Chinese marketplace. Duan & Duan also represents many large Chinese companies in their business dealings abroad and throughout China.

Duan & Duan Named a Model Law Firm by the PRC Ministry of Justice.

As an international law firm providing a full range of legal services, Duan & Duan has developed and maintained seven different professional practice sections: International Business; Securities and Finance; Intellectual Property; Corporate and Project Investment; Construction and Real Estate; Admiralty and Maritime; and Litigation and Arbitration. The professional practice sections all work in conjunction with one another where different areas of experience and knowledge are required on a case or project.

International Business

The International Business Practice Section provides legal services in: International Trade; Franchising; Transnational Mergers and Acquisitions; Foreign Direct Investment; Anti-Dumping; and International Dispute Resolution. Attorneys in the International Business Section represent a number of Fortune 500 companies in China and numerous large PRC companies conducting business abroad. Our clients represent many industries including basic and high-tech manufacturing, as well as financial and service industries.

Securities and Finance

Duan & Duan is one of the few Chinese law firms licensed by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”). In addition, the firm has awarded the qualification to carry out such legal work on behalf of foreign companies doing business in China. Duan & Duan’s Securities and Finance Practice Section handles legal work in matters related to: public offerings, domestic commercial loans, international commercial loans, syndicated loan participation’s, project financing, securities, letters of credit, lease financing, insurance, trusts, investment funds, and other legal work connected with financing or the capital markets. The Practice Section also works in collaboration with overseas law firms to help domestic PRC enterprises to directly or indirectly obtain listings on overseas securities exchanges, or to assist their overseas subsidiaries with financing through foreign capital markets.

Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property Practice Section provides representation and legal counsel on various IP related matters. These include securing and enforcing copyrights, patents, trademarks, licensing, protection of trade secrets, and unfair competition matters. In order to provide customized services to clients, the IP Practice Section has a senior patent agent to provide special advice regarding the patent matters.

Corporate and Project Investment

The Corporate and Project Investment Practice Section specializes in legal services related to corporate matters. Services include: advice related to business operations for domestic and foreign enterprises, such as assistance to clients in matters of inbound and outbound investments; mergers and acquisitions; technical cooperation; corporate establishment; application for licenses and certificates; labor and human resource  issues; drafting; and review and negotiation of contracts.

Construction and Real Estate

Duan & Duan construction and real estate attorneys represent clients in all levels of PRC construction and real estate markets. This includes: legal guidance in the establishment and planning of construction projects; invitations for bids and bidding; leasing; management of construction contracts; requisitions; sales or transfers of land; relocation and removal of housing; development and operation of real estate and real estate companies; title transactions and registrations; tenancy and property management; real estate financing (i.e. mortgage and insurance); and financial accounting and tax advice related to real estate projects.

Other Useful Links

Washington State China Relations Council