The firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP recently won two awards at the prestigious Lawyer Awards 2004 presentation held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. Weil Gotshal received the U.S. Law Firm of the Year (in London) 2004, and Michael Francies, managing partner of the firm's London office, was named Partner of the Year.
The Lawyer, a leading British publication for commercial lawyers and corporate directors, said of Weil Gotshal's selection as firm of the year: "It has truly been a triumphant 12 months for Weil Gotshal. After landing a merger with Parisian corporate powerhouse Serra Leavy & Cazals, the firm capped it with one of the most talked about, and envied, lateral hires: private equity star David Aknin. With turnover continuing to motor, London shone, pulling in deal after high-profile deal for clients such as Hicks Muse Tate & Furst and Apax. It was for these two clients that the stellar UK outfit got its second bite of the cherry on the joint private equity house-owned directories business Yell, when it finally made its debut on the London Stock Exchange."
On Michael Francies, The Lawyer noted: "More than any other UK managing partner of a U.S. law firm, Mike Francies of Weil, Gotshal & Manges has really cracked the UK market. Francies has personally made Weil Gotshal's London office a recognised force in the UK and on the European domestic scene, snatching prime roles in big deals such as the Hollinger auction of the Yell initial public offering, thanks to his strong relationship with private equity houses such as Apax and Hicks Muse Tate & Furst. Also, Francies, one of the few UK managing partners to get a seat on the board in U.S. firms, seems to have done it all by sheer force of personality and hard work. Not only that, but nobody in the city has a bad word to say about the man, as rare thing indeed."
Stephan J. Dannhauser, chairman of Weill Gotshal, responded: "This is a great achievement for our global network. Our London office is a key component of our global strategy and this office continues to go from strength to strength, making a pronounced impact on the UK market, I congratulate Mike and his entire team on their well-deserved recognition."
Weil Gotshal has announced the opening of its new office in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China granted the firm the requisite licenses for the opening day on July 7.
The new office is located at 4101 CITIC Square, 1168 Nanjing Road West, Shanghai (telephone 8621 3217 4618).
The firm also has announced that Steven Xiang will be joining the firm and will become the managing partner of the new Shanghai office. Mr. Xiang has extensive experience in M&A, private equity, international securities offerings, as well joint ventures and restructurings.
Bill Sievers, the partner responsible for leading Weil Gotshal's expansion in Asia, will be relocating from Singapore to join Mr. Xiang in the Shanghai office.