My name is Maxence Bloch. I am a partner in the Paris office.
AQ is about making the client understand that wherever they work with us it will be the same, whether it is in China or in Europe. My personal view on AQ is that it is a means of looking towards the future – looking East and not looking West.
Looking West is the usual thing that European lawyers would do. They would naturally turn to the US market. It is easy, it is what people understand.
Looking East is something much more unusual. AQ is not so much about speaking Chinese or simply understanding everything about China, it is more about understanding that China is the second largest global economy.
A lot is happening there, and we should be used a gateway for clients to access those markets and to be able to go there confidently and knowing that we will be there to support them.
A great example of what AQ can bring to us, comes from a recent experience working on the opposite side of a transaction with Airbus. It was an M&A transaction. Airbus were selling part of their business to a private equity fund that we were representing.
At the end of the transaction Airbus mentioned that they had heard about our combination [merger] with one of China’s leading law firms and it seemed ground breaking and original. Airbus told us that they were running into some big anti-trust issues in China and they would very interested to hear more about our capabilities in China.
This was good news for us as we have strong capability and expertise in similar transactions in China, and so we were able to explain to them how were able to help.
A few months later, in Paris with one of our China partners, we were able to introduce this client to Airbus and the meeting was a success. I think this will probably lead to new work for the firm.