Morrison & Foerster Add Kirkland Partner To China Team

Morrison & Foerster has strengthened its private equity services in China by hiring a partner from Kirkland & Ellis.

Rongjing Zhao, who worked at Kirkland for eight years, has now joined MoFo and will be based in the firm’s Shanghai and Beijing offices.

This year, she becomes the third private equity partner to join the firm in Asia, following the recruitment of Steven Tran and Tabitha Saw in Singapore from Mayer Brown and White & Case respectively. Rongjing’s appointment also helps replenish MoFo’s M&A and PE team in China, after the departure of partner Li Ruomu to Cooley in Shanghai in December last year.

The firm’s press release announcing the appointment is below

Morrison Foerster, a leading global law firm, is pleased to announce the arrival of Rongjing Zhao, as a partner in the firm’s Private Equity and Mergers & Acquisitions Groups, based out of its China offices. Zhao brings to Morrison Foerster more than 15 years of experience representing private equity firms, as well as public and private companies, in a variety of complex cross-border transactions. Zhao’s addition underscores the continued expansion of the firm’s leading private equity capabilities in Asia, where Morrison Foerster is ranked in Band 1 for Private Equity in the latest edition of Chambers Asia-Pacific and Tier 1 for China: Private Equity in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021-2023, and across the firm’s global offices. She is the fourth private equity partner to join the firm this quarter, following the additions of Steven Tran and Tabitha Saw in Singapore, and James Beach in San Francisco.

Zhao has extensive experience advising private equity firms, institutional investors, and major corporations on complex cross-border transactions, including control deals and leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, growth capital investments, spin-offs, and distressed M&A transactions. She primarily represents private equity funds on investments and acquisitions in China and the rest of Asia. Zhao also advises clients on take privates of U.S.-listed companies and other U.S. public and private company M&A transactions.

“Rongjing is a highly sophisticated, U.S.-trained lawyer and Mandarin native speaker with extensive private equity M&A experience in China, Asia, and the U.S.,” said Marcia Ellis, global co-chair of Morrison Foerster’s Private Equity Group. “Rongjing’s addition significantly enhances our PE and M&A offering in China. Her strong technical skillset and relationships with private equity funds and leading corporations present significant opportunities and synergies for our clients in Asia and across our global platform.”

“Morrison Foerster is a premier international firm with an impressive private equity and M&A practice. I was particularly attracted to MoFo by the fact that MoFo has, on the ground in Asia, a deep talent pool and all of the practices required to support PE firms and their portfolio companies throughout the entire investment life cycle,” said Zhao. “I look forward to growing my private equity and M&A practice in China and in other geographies in Asia, while working together with my colleagues across the firm’s global offices to tackle our clients’ most strategic and important transactional needs.”

Prior to joining MoFo, Zhao was a partner at a leading international law firm where she worked in the firm’s Hong Kong and Shanghai offices for several years. Prior to that, she worked in the Shanghai and Los Angeles offices of another prominent global firm. Zhao earned her LL.B. cum laude from Fudan University and her LL.M. from New York University School of Law, where she was also editor of the Journal of Law and Business. She is admitted to practice in New York and in the People’s Republic of China (non-practicing).

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