Based on extensive editorial research, China Business Law Journal has compiled a list of top private practice lawyers for China-related business. Richard Li reports
As more quality law firms are springing up, the legal services market for China’s domestic and cross-border business is seeing more competition than ever. At the same time, clients are now paying more attention to their expenditures on external legal services, and expect more from the service providers.
As with last year, to understand the clients’ ideas about what it takes to become an outstanding lawyer in China-related business we sought answers from a large number of professionals, mainly experienced in-house counsel and corporate managers.
Hundreds of nominations were filed for the A-List and we received many comments. Based on this feedback and the editorial team’s own extensive research we made the choices, as difficult as always, to select our 100 elite and compile them into China Business Law Journal’s A-List this year, a list of top private practice lawyers for China-related business. From the list you will find many already notable practitioners who have handled significant or complex deals for their clients.
From the comments of clients we found that, for them to view a lawyer as outstanding, specialized legal expertise is a must, but still not enough. Companies prefer a legal expert with a businessperson’s mindset and the ability to formulate commercially workable solutions. A lawyer with strong interpersonal and negotiating skills can provide the added value that most clients relish.
For example, Lü Mengyu, a partner at Sidley Austin in Hong Kong, received compliments on her interpersonal skills and a deep knowledge of her sector. “I am consistently impressed by Mengyu’s ability to think from a client’s perspective and help other parties involved to understand a transaction from this viewpoint,” says a director from a securities company.
“Her interpersonal skills have brought banks and clients together, resolving conflicts that might otherwise have seen a deal fail. She is particularly skilled at acting as an intermediary for bank syndicates and advising companies who sometimes make unusual requests because of a lack of familiarity with Hong Kong capital markets.”
Simon Tsi, the managing and founding partner of Chang Tsi & Partners, has “a wealth of life and practising experience”, says a client. “In particular, he showcased his irreplaceable capabilities in the communication and co-ordination with judicial authorities and national ministries.”
According to a general manager from a real estate company, Nafisa Nihmat, a partner at Dentons in Shanghai, is “meticulous”, and good at communication. “Through effective communication, she is able to think in terms of the client’s commercial arrangements and management decisions and accurately grasp the needs of the clients, and then provide high-quality and effective legal opinions and practical solutions.”
The legal chief of a Chinese technology group says Su Wenwei, a partner at DeHeng Law Offices in Beijing, is “the labour law counsel we choose first”. “She not only has a good grasp of the labour regulations and policies, and can apply them with excellent skill, but also has a deep knowledge about corporate human resources management,” says the client. “She could advise our company from both the perspectives of law and human resources management … and shield our company from legal risks in employment by helping us develop labour management systems and procedures.”
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The A-List is based on extensive research conducted by China Business Law Journal. To identify the top 100 lawyers for China practice, we turned to thousands of in-house counsel in China and around the world, as well as partners at Chinese and international law firms, and asked them to tell us which lawyers should make the cut.
Nominations were received from professionals at a wide range of Chinese and international companies, law firms and other organizations. The final list reflects the nominations received combined with the China Business Law Journal editorial team’s years of collective experience in documenting and analyzing China’s legal market.
All private practice lawyers for the China market were automatically eligible for inclusion in the nomination process, and there were no fees or any other requirements for entry into that process. The names and photographs of all A-List lawyers are published on the pages that follow.
In addition, each A-List lawyer was given the opportunity to include their biography and contact details, for which a publishing fee was charged.
It is important to note that while the compilation of the A-List was based solely on independent editorial research, the biographies and contact details that appear alongside many of the listings have been written by the participating lawyers and the content has not been independently verified by China Business Law Journal.