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Asia Business Law Journal presents the A-List of top private practice lawyers in Thailand. Lim Miran and Nguyen Yen report

W ith the region opening up, Thailand’s economy grew at a greater pace in the second quarter of this year, backboned by the welcome return of tourism. However, persistent inflation and a slowdown in China, the country’s second-biggest source of investment, continue to drag on the emerging recovery.

Despite slow economic improvement, the export and import sectors enjoyed double-digit growth of 10.6% and 20.7%, respectively, in the first nine months of 2022. Investment, however, slumped sharply by 42% in the first half compared to the same period last year. The government now projects GDP growth of 2.7% to 3.2% this year, against 1.5% last year, the slowest in Southeast Asia.

Aiming to support the recovery and build the economy, the Thailand Board of Investment approved a new five-year investment promotion strategy in October.

The government also introduced a long-term resident visa, encouraging high-net-worth foreigners to relocate, with a package of benefits including discounted personal income tax rates and a 10-year renewable visa. This strategy, to be accompanied by specific incentives and policies for implementation from 2023 to 2027, reflects government efforts to attract investment in innovative, high-tech and green industries.

Sahachai WibuloutaiThai regulators also set the country on course to be crypto-friendly paradise after relaxing the tax burden for investors. But following global turmoil in the crypto market, the government instead tightened supervision over digital-asset firms. The Securities and Exchange Commission is now looking to amend existing digital-asset regulations, which were first approved in 2018, to include stricter qualifications for the management and licensing of crypto custodians.

As inflation continues worldwide, and international conflicts further restrict international trade and prolong the high price of energy, Thailand will need to be ready to continue adjusting policies to keep up recovery momentum for the coming years. This will require companies to turn to their trusted lawyers not only for guidance on the increasing complexity of Thai law, but also for important business decisions that shape their future.

Against this challenging backdrop, Asia Business Law Journal presents its A-List of the top 100 lawyers practising in Thailand.

The A-List is based on extensive research conducted and nominations received from in-house counsel based in Thailand and elsewhere, as well as Thailand-focused partners at international law firms. Nearly all of the A-List lawyers are strategically located in Bangkok, which is not only Thailand’s commercial capital but also home to the headquarters of the country’s government offices and courts.

Comments submitted to Asia Business Law Journal by clients suggest that they seek lawyers who have in-depth legal expertise and are well-equipped to cope with various legal matters in an increasingly sophisticated and cost-effective manner.

Catching the sun

Having endured significant losses in the past two years, Thailand’s tourism industry finally found a glimpse of hope with the region’s reopening. As a result, many businesses in the hospitality and real estate sectors have been actively seeking guidance on various legal matters.


Simon Allison, the London CEO of HOFTEL, a global alliance of hotel property investors, recommends Benjamin Hirasawa, founder and managing partner at BH2I, as his go-to lawyer in the hospitality sector.

“He has an excellent understanding of the hospitality sector, and especially of relations between owners and hotel operators, which he combines with a commercial, practical approach to getting things done,” says Allison. “He also works incredibly long hours to meet deadlines. Hirasawa is probably the most experienced and rounded hotel sector lawyer in Thailand today.”

Joshua Dinnerman, chairman at InterAsia Asset Management in New York, also praises Hirasawa for his knowledge in doing business in Asia. “In my view, as a cross-border business investor and operator, Ben is without question the best attorney in many facets of law,” says Dinnerman. “Ben is extremely versatile and has the rare skill needed to support complex transactions and business deals.”

Arkrapol Pichedvanichok, senior partner at Chandler MHM in Bangkok, is praised by Salin Nimmanahaeminda, co-CEO at real estate leasing company Anusarn Chiangmai in Chiang Mai, who has sought advice on corporate matters.

“His unparalleled knowledge of the law and highly experienced team enable him to provide practical and commercially actionable solutions,” says Nimmanahaeminda. “I enjoyed working with him tremendously and do not think there is another lawyer that has the same breadth and depth of experience as Pichedvanichok in Thailand.”

Pichedvanichok is also described as “the most intelligent, honest and best legal adviser” by Worapong Padungkirtsakul, CEO at property and facility services provider IFS Thailand, based in Bangkok. “He does not just advise what is just in front of us, but the future impact of today’s decision,” says Padungkirtsakul. “He provides us with a comprehensive conclusion of each option facing us.”

Alex Sigeda, senior vice president at global commercial real estate services company JLL in Bangkok, is impressed by Troy Schooneman, partner and head of international practice at Kudun and Partners, for the amount of care and passion he brings to every task.

“What stands out the most with Schooneman is the level of interest he takes in each client early in the process, aiming to build a personal connection and laying the foundation for a long-lasting relationship over the years to come,” says Sigeda. “While his foresight and attention to detail are second to none, it’s the personal touch and the non-confrontational yet firm approach to negotiation that makes him a standout lawyer.”

Andreas Schaffer, co-founder and chief operations officer at software startup Mimetik in the German state of Sachsen, says Schooneman stands out in finding pragmatic solutions with counterparty legal counsel.

“I have worked with Troy over many years on international transactions and investment deals,” says Schaffer. “He has an exceptional capacity to quickly and reliably structure deal solutions, as well as develop contracts and supporting legal deal documents of the highest quality.”

Ace cards

As Thailand’s economy seeks to evolve and expand, companies in various sectors find themselves in need of legal assistance. Many clients name their trusted lawyers in the A-List who can provide well-established advice in multiple areas of law.

M&A activities are poised to experience continued growth in both value and volume, and Piyasak Chotipruk, executive vice president at renewable energy company Prime Road Power in Bangkok, trusts Wanchai Yiamsamatha, a partner at law firm LS Horizon, for his wealth of experience.

Paul Tauber“Wanchai has many decades of legal practice in the areas of administrative law, M&A and commercial transactions,” says Chotipruk. “He has solid knowledge in these practice areas and always provides the best practical solutions compared to others.”

Sunee Osatarayakul, director of legal at Procter & Gamble Trading (Thailand) in Bangkok, also nominates Yiamsamatha for the quality of his work in various legal cases in the past few years. “His experience, skill and knowledge have been brought up to protect and prevent Procter & Gamble business operations from any disruption, even during the pandemic to endemic,” says Osatarayakul. “I feel relaxed and assure the work result if any case is under his supervision.”

In the banking and finance fields, Kwanchanok Puttametha, first vice president of corporate banking at Krung Thai Bank in Bangkok, appreciates that Chandler MHM’s partner, Supattra Sathapornnanon, is always ready to take action. “She is very kind, helpful and smart for acting as the lender’s legal adviser,” says Puttametha. “When we need to know any legal points, she can help anytime.”

Savika Jongpakpaisal, head of loan documentation at TISCO Bank in Bangkok, agrees on Sathapornnanon’s promptness and dedication. “She has acted as a legal adviser for project financing on all aspects of structuring, negotiating and documenting transactions,” says Jongpakpaisal. “She is willing to provide the most practical solution and fast response to solving problems to meet deadlines.”

Kwanchanok PuttamethaKenji Sugimura, managing partner and patent attorney at leading Japanese IP firm Sugimura & Partners in Tokyo, nominates Satyapon Sachdecha, managing partner at Satyapon & Partners in Bangkok, for his renown in the IP world. “He has been practising exclusively in the field of IP law for more than 30 years,” says Sugimura.

“His strategy, leadership and contribution to the international IP community, such as the International Trademark Association, Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriete Industrielle and Asian Patent Attorneys Association, are outstanding and respectable.”

Jason Corbett, founder and managing partner at Silk Legal in Bangkok, is highly regarded in the cryptocurrency market by his peer Paul Tauber, a partner at Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass in California.

“Jason is highly valued as a trusted legal adviser for our clients that are doing business in Thailand,” says Tauber. “He is also internationally recognised as one of the top experts on cryptocurrency legal matters, and is a sought-after speaker at international conferences.”

Sahachai Wibuloutai, general counsel at PwC in Bangkok, has been working with Herbert Smith Freehills’ partner, Warathorn Wongsawangsiri, in various complicated and unprecedented litigation matters, and confidently calls him “one of the very best dispute resolution lawyers in Thailand”.

“As a defence lawyer, he set a new precedent by successfully convincing the court to dismiss lawsuits without going to trial,” says Wibuloutai. “His expertise and carefully planned winning strategies are impressive.”

Emi Rowse Igusa, a partner at Kudun and Partners, is nominated by Jane Lee, chief legal counsel at Chubb Insurance in Hong Kong, for being very detailed and thorough. “Igusa explains the legal issues very clearly,” says Lee. “It’s very hard to find a lawyer [like Igusa] who actually thinks from the client’s position and gives sound and practical advice.”

The pandemic has reminded the world that a vibrant healthcare sector is crucial to fight new challenges. In this sector, Ittaya Sirivasukarn, CEO of Miskawaan Health Group in Bangkok, recommends John Formichella, a partner at Formichella & Sritawat, for being “very knowledgeable with customer service mindset, and always thinking beyond the requirements in order to protect his client”.

Panuwat Chalongkuamdee, a partner at Somboon Rittichai Panuwat Passawan, is another prominent lawyer in this sector. A member of senior management at Bangkok Dusit Medical Services who preferred not to be named has this to say about Chalongkuamdee: “He is a very sharp and bright legal counsel, and is able to understand and maximise the key business elements to benefit the client in complex healthcare agreements in a timely manner.”

Compiling the A-List

The A-List is based on extensive research conducted by Asia Business Law Journal. To identify the top 100 lawyers in Thailand, we turned to thousands of in-house counsel in Thailand and around the world – as well as partners at international law firms – and asked them to tell us which lawyers should make the cut. Nominations were made by professionals at a wide range of Thai and global companies, financial institutions and law firms including Allen & Overy, Alvarez & Marsal, Amburaya Hotels and Resorts, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Anusarn Chiangmai, Bangkok Bank, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, Bayfront Law, Central Retail Corporation, Chai Watana Tannery, Chubb Insurance Hong Kong, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass, Cognyte, Copart, Dechert, Deminor Recovery Services, Dextra Asia, Diethelm Travel Management, Duane Morris, Fynn Development, Genpact, Grab, Harneys, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, HOFTEL, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Huawei Technologies (Malaysia), IFS Facility Services, iLaw Myanmar, IndonLegal Works, InterAsia Asset Management, IRMA Insights, JLL, KONE, KPMG Phoomchai Tax, Krung Thai Bank, Linklaters, Luen Jin Enterprise, Mayer Brown, Meyer International, Miller Thomson, Mimetik, Miskawaan Health Group, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, Motor Image Enterprise, NEC Capital Solutions, Nishimura & Asahi, Plowman Chambers, Prime Road Power, Procter & Gamble Trading (Thailand), PwC, Reed Smith, Royal Enfield, Sharpe & Jagger, Shook Lin & Bok, SMBC Nikko Securities, Sparrow Business Solutions, Sugimura & Partners, Tanner De Witt, TC Subaru (Thailand), the Stock Exchange of Thailand, TISCO Bank, Titan Singapore, TMBThanachat Bank, Twinpalms Management, VILAF, Walalangi & Partners, and many more. The nomination process was backed up by thorough editorial research.

The final list reflects the nominations received, combined with the Asia Business Law Journal editorial team’s more than 30 years of collective experience in documenting and analysing Thailand’s legal market. All Thai private-practice lawyers were automatically eligible for inclusion in the nominations process and, as always, there were no fees or any other requirements for entry.

The names and photographs of all 100 A-List lawyers are published here. 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 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 Asia Business Law Journal.

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