After extensive research, China Business Law Journal presents a list of the country’s top up-and-coming legal talent. Luna Jin reports

This year, many of China’s post-’80s lawyers are officially entering middle age. With the rapid growth in China’s legal market, this second generation of legal professionals, who grew up in tandem with the country’s reform and opening-up, are now gradually taking up the banner of succession.

At this moment, young Chinese lawyers are making remarkable achievements. Some, as lead partners, have helped Chinese companies to go public in the US against a backdrop of tense international relations. Other have grown with emerging industries and worked hard to become the go-to lawyer for business compliance in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. Still others are already founding partners, with law firms that are thriving and competing strongly in their respective areas of expertise.

Recognising this evolution, China Business Law Journal continues with its Rising Stars awards this year, based on our years of observation and experience in covering the China legal market. From more than 1,000 nominations from business leaders, senior in-house counsel and the wider legal community, we have selected 40 young elite lawyers under the age of 40 to create our latest list, which recognises their outstanding contributions in China-related practice. The pioneers on the list all have more than 10 years of experience from a wide range of industries including mergers and acquisitions (M&A), asset management, intellectual property (IP), antitrust and dispute resolution.

Given space constraints, it is difficult to showcase the achievements of all the lawyers on our list, so we have indiscriminately highlighted a few. We are convinced that these young legal elites represent the vanguard of the future of the legal sector.

Top of practice

Young lawyers who are highly skilled in specific practice areas are not only trusted by in-house counsel, but are also appreciated by corporate management.

Mia Wang 王佳音, Maia Active

Collin Shi, a Shanghai-based partner at Llinks Law Offices, is an eminent respected adviser in the private equity/venture capital (PE/VC) sector. Mia Wang, CEO and co-founder of Chinese sportswear brand Maia Active, says that Shi has surprised her with his professionalism, communication skills and diligence for clients. During the series B financing of Maia Active, as the company’s legal adviser, Shi not only sorted out and negotiated many complex terms with the legal team of the investors, but also reorganised the corporate structure for the company.

“Shi and his team also provide day-to-day legal advice to us, and have successfully handled a number of disputes, which over the past two years have greatly reduced costs for us in terms of fines and other costs from the compliance side,” says Wang.

In the areas of investment, M&A and securities, Qin Jiaren, a Beijing-based partner of Anli Partners, was recommended by the legal director of one of China’s leading real estate trading platforms for his broad experience. “Qin is able to precisely understand the business objectives and legal service needs of clients, is adept at proposing pragmatic, innovative and flexible solutions to the problems encountered in projects, and can provide quality legal services for complex projects involving legal issues in multiple arenas, such as state capital regulation, regulation of listed companies and industry regulation.”

In the same field, Shen Jun, a partner in the Shanghai office of Commerce & Finance Law Offices, was also widely recognised. “As an emerging internet company, Bilibili can have nearly 10 investment and M&A projects every year,” says Zhang Ziling, senior director of investment and M&A at the leading Chinese video platform. “On these projects, Shen and his team have demonstrated steady process control, superb communication skills and exceptional professionalism.

“We are delighted to have lawyers like him assisting us and providing professional services that will enable the company to continue to grow at a rapid pace.”

Previously, Shen acted as lead counsel for Bilibili’s IPO in the US, and the acquisition of the Hong Kong company that owns China’s first virtual singer, Luo Tianyi.

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