Stronger together


Olympics shows us all the way forward

Having drifted apart in the past year or so, the world came closer again for a few weeks in Tokyo, thanks to the Olympics. Elite athletes from all nations put on a spectacle and helped the world fight back its fears.

The Olympics symbolises the human spirit and our will to rise above challenges and win against the odds. The remarkable success of the Tokyo Olympics inspires us with its message of solidarity, hope and courage to move forward.

As with the Olympics, healthy competition is at the heart of a free market. In our Cover Story this issue, we narrate the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) efforts to foster a spirit of competition among businesses in the Asean region.

Ruben Maximiano, the OECD’s Paris-based senior competition expert, discusses with us how Asean countries can build a robust, competitive trade ecosystem. Asean stands to benefit by USD4 billion annually from e-commerce alone if governments in the 10 member states remove existing regulatory barriers to competition in the logistics sector, according to recommendations made by the OECD.

Our Asia-Specific feature analyses the unique challenges that Asia presents to environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds. Global inflows into ESG funds in Asia are witnessing a massive influx, which is expected to continue into the years ahead, but investing is replete with risk given the region’s diversities and historical inequalities. The lack of universal standards and conflicting development goals among regional governments mean that investors can’t copy-paste their global knowledge, but must develop a more bespoke approach, writes Reema Bhattacharya of global risk consultancy firm Control Risks.

In the second of our two-part series on legal technology, Siri Hal Jarvis & Associates peers into the undefined future of legal tech and explores how it is already reshaping the business of law. In the first part of the series, Lawyering 2.0, we discussed how the pandemic had forced legal practitioners to adopt tech tools in their practice. The second part looks at where it is headed and how AI and machine learning might reinvent the legal profession. Just how long will it be before an AI like Marvel’s fictional entity, Jarvis, becomes a reality – and makes partner?

In Looking to the East, we interview the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court of Arbitration’s new president, Claudia Salomon, the first woman to lead the nearly century-old institution. Salomon discusses the ICC’s Asian strategies, and how it is rolling out tailored programmes for the region. She gives her perspectives on how the pandemic has changed arbitration, and observes emerging trends in the sector.

This issue also packs in two of our most popular features – our annual Philippines A-List, revealing the top private practice in the country, and Indonesia Law Firm Awards.

After a battering from the pandemic, the Philippines is likely to exit from recession this year. During this tumultuous period, corporate lawyers who can advise on practical impacts in volatile circumstances – scaling up businesses, controlling the damage, or drawing up exit strategies – are highly sought after. We present to you 100 of the top practitioners in the Philippines who can offer the best legal counsel to guide your business through the present challenges.

Indonesia Law Firm Awards 2021 identifies the best-in-class law firms that in-house counsel and international lawyers trust with their most critical legal needs. After an extensive global survey, we have identified four law firms that have proven to be the best in the country, and in 22 other categories we have four winners each of equal standing. Hadiputranto Hadinoto & Partners was adjudged the Law Firm of the Year, a well-earned recognition, banking on their formidable reputation and an enviable array of deals in the past year.

Finally our Head-to-Head section looks at a comparison of patent law development in the region, with leading law firms from mainland China, Japan, India, Malaysia and Taiwan offering in-depth analysis of the latest in patent regulations in their respective jurisdictions.

Best wishes,

Mithun Varkey
Editor, Asia Business Law Journal
Managing Editor,