By Vin Gurrieri
Cooley LLP has bolstered its fledgling office in Shanghai by luring a former Johnson Controls Inc. general counsel with extensive experience in pharmaceutical industry matters and project financing to join the firm as a partner in its business and technology practice group.
Christina Zhang becomes the third partner in Cooley's Shanghai office, which opened its doors in December and is the firm's first international location, the firm said June 5. She will focus her practice on all aspects of her clients' businesses in China, including the selection of investment vehicles, the building of certain types of manufacturing facilities, setting up joint ventures, licensing, mergers and acquisitions and environmental protection.
"Cooley is the go-to firm for companies and investors in the technology, life sciences and clean technology sectors," Zhang said. "I could not be more excited about being part of the Cooley team that will grow the practice and establish our brand in China."
In her nearly two decades as an attorney, Zhang also has handled a wide range of litigation and compliance issues including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters, antitrust cases, trade compliance and government investigations.
Beginning in 1998, Zhang spent about eight years as an in-house counsel for Merck & Co. Inc., where she handled procurement issues, sales and marking, acquisitions, divestitures and licensing activities.
In 2006, Zhang joined Pfizer Inc. unit Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., where she was named chief counsel of the company's China-based operations. At Wyeth, Zhang handled the pharmaceutical manufacturer's product registrations with China's State Food & Drug Administration and helped launch a Chinese version Wyeth's blockbuster vaccine Prevenar, according to the firm.
While at Wyeth, Zhang also spearheaded various company projects, including the construction of a $300 million infant formula facility and the expansion of other pharmaceutical facilities.
Zhang received a law degree from Duke University School of Law in 1993. She also obtained a master's degree in law at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing in 1990, and a bachelor's degree in economics from the same university in 1985.
Zhang, who began her career as an associate with New York's Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP in 1993, will be joined in Shanghai by associate Benjamin Qiu.
Qiu joins Cooley following a stint as senior counsel at Innovation Works, a Chinese investment fund that sought financing for startup companies in the mobile computing, e-commerce and cloud computing industries.
"We are committed to establishing and expanding our practice in China with the hiring of talented local attorneys," said Brad Peck, partner-in-charge of Cooley's Shanghai office. "With their extensive experience and deep local insights, Christina and Ben will add great value to our clients here. Moving forward, each of them will be integral to powering Cooley's growth in China, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the firm."
Upon joining Cooley, Zhang and Qiu will become part of a firm that features more than 650 practicing attorneys in 10 offices.
The Shanghai office is led by Peck and Cooley partner Patrick Loofbourrow, each of whom relocated from Cooley's San Diego office to manage the firm's Shanghai location.
Peck specializes in corporate and securities law and represents technology and life sciences companies ranging from startups to public corporations. Loofbourrow specializes in representing emerging technology and life sciences companies, as well as venture capital firms and other companies that invest in those businesses.
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