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Reed Smith enhances corporate offering in Asia with tech & data partner hire in Beijing

Global law firm Reed Smith today announces the appointment of Barbara Li as a partner in its Global Corporate Group, based in the firm’s Beijing office.

With nearly three decades of experience, Li brings a wealth of expertise to the firm. She has a particular focus on the data; technology, media and telecommunications (TMT); and FinTech sectors, with extensive experience advising international and Chinese companies, financial institutions, technology companies and private equity funds on structuring investment, achieving data and cybersecurity compliance, and managing risks related to digital transformation and deployment of emerging technologies such as AI, big data, cloud and blockchain.

Her broader practice focuses on complex and cross-border M&A, business reorganisation, joint ventures and strategic alliances in a wide range of industries including technology, telecoms, energy, infrastructure, automotive, pharma, consumer products and high-end manufacturing. She also advises Chinese companies on their outbound strategies and infrastructure projects.

Li joins from PwC and before that she was the head of corporate at Rui Bai Law Firm in Beijing, formerly a member firm of the PwC global network, leading its data, TMT and FinTech practices. Li has worked at multiple international law firms in both China and London, including Norton Rose Fulbright and Baker McKenzie, where she was a partner. She started her career in-house as corporate legal counsel for Ericsson in Beijing and was appointed as the vice-chair of the Cybersecurity Sub-Working Group and the Construction Working Group of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China for several years.

She is a recognised leader in her field and is described as “having extensive experience in complex TMT regulatory issues” by Legal 500. She is widely recognised in Corporate, M&A, TMT and FinTech categories and is also ranked as a leading individual by additional legal directories including Chambers and PartnersAsian Legal BusinessIFLR1000 and WhichLawyer. She also won the China Top TMT Lawyer Award in 2020 awarded by Asian Legal Business.

Senior associate Sarah Xiong and associate Amaya Zhou will also join the firm.

With Li joining the firm, Reed Smith has established a robust tech & data offering in Asia, with five partners and one counsel across the region specialising in this area – partners Hagen Rooke (Singapore), Asha Sharma (Hong Kong), Bryan Tan (Singapore), Amy Yin (Shanghai), Barbara Li (Beijing) and counsel Charmian Aw (Singapore).

Kyri Evagora, Reed Smith’s Asia-Pacific managing partner, said: “We are very pleased to strengthen our corporate offering in Asia with Barbara’s arrival. Her appointment reflects our regional strategy of hiring and growing the best talent in the market to meet the evolving needs of our clients.”

Denise Jong, co-chair of Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group, said: “Barbara is a tremendous lawyer with a wealth of experience advising on corporate matters, particularly in the TMT and FinTech sectors. She is renowned in the Asian market and we are very pleased to have her on board.”

Eric Lin, Reed Smith’s Beijing office managing partner, added: “We are delighted to welcome Barbara to the firm. She is a heavyweight corporate lawyer and a true market-leader. She will help to enhance the firm’s corporate and tech & data offering in China.”

Li said: “Reed Smith is an exceptional law firm with a truly collaborative culture and impressive global platform. I am very pleased to be joining and look forward to supporting the firm’s clients operating in the region.”

Since the start of 2021, Reed Smith has significantly grown its Asia partner headcount, with hires including:

  • Simon Spells joining the Transportation Industry Group in Singapore in January 2021
  • Manoj Purushothaman joining the Global Corporate Group in Singapore in January 2021
  • Timothy Cooke joining the International Arbitration practice in Singapore in May 2021
  • Johnny Lim joining the Global Corporate Group in Singapore in January 2022
  • Bryan Tan joining the Entertainment and Media Group in Singapore in March 2022
  • Matthew Townsend joining the International Arbitration practice in Hong Kong in August 2022
  • Zeldar Wang joining the Dispute Resolution practice in Shanghai in September 2022

With Li’s arrival, Reed Smith now has nearly 150 lawyers, including 42 partners, across its four offices in Asia: Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.


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