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China > Projects and energy > Foreign firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Projects and energy: foreign firms
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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    • John Bishop - Pinsent Masons
    • Yvonne Ho - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Paul McKenzie - Morrison & Foerster LLP
    • Xiao Yong - Vinson & Elkins LLP

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Highly recommended for project finance, Allen & Overy LLP often acts for major Chinese energy and natural resources corporates, including ChemChina, State Grid International Development (SGID) and CITIC Construction. Beijing-based Ling Li led advice to Harbin Electric in its role as a sponsor and EPC contractor regarding the development of the 1,200MW Hassyan Clean Coal IPP in Dubai. The team includes Yvonne Ho and Victor Ho in Beijing, as well as Matthew Bisley in Shanghai.

Clifford Chance LLP is primarily instructed by Chinese banks on complex outbound matters, with a particular strength in offshore power projects. Practice head Jiahua Ni, who divides his time between the Beijing and Shanghai offices, led advice to a six-strong syndicate of Chinese and African banks on the $825m financing of the construction and operation of a 300MW coal-fired power plant and coal mine in Zambia. Ni has also been advising Hydro Power Lower Sesan 2 as the project company on the $700m financing of a 400MW hydropower dam in Cambodia; the client is a joint venture between Cambodian conglomerate Royal Group and Hydrolancang International, which is a subsidiary of the SOE China Huaneng Group. The team saw a number of changes in 2016 with Stephen Harder’s retirement and Timothy Democratis’ relocation to Beijing.

Excellent on all measures’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides a ‘high-value service’ on the full range of energy work, with a strong focus on outbound matters. ‘Impressive’ Beijing-based practice co-head Monica Sun advised the Silk Road Fund (SRF) on its acquisition of a 9.9% stake in the Russian Yamal LNG project in the South Tambeyskoye gas field, including complex due diligence and negotiated documents. Hong Kong-based co-head Hilary Lau has been advising POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings on all aspects of the development of its $4bn gas-to-LNG project in Ethiopia and Djibouti. Co-head Fergus Smith is based in Hong Kong.

Clients rate the ‘exceptional’ group at Linklaters as being one of ‘the best on major project financings’, headed by Stuart Salt in Hong Kong. Salt and Xiaohui Ji in Beijing led on the Chinese aspects of advising the lenders on the $20bn financing of Yamal LNG project in Russia. Other work highlights included advising CDB on the Jawa 7 1,320MW coal fired power project financing in Indonesia covered by Sinosure. The ‘very calm and knowledgeable’ James McLaren and of counsel Andrew Compton (both in Hong Kong) are also recommended. Other clients include China Light and Power, Bank of China and Sinopec.

Norton Rose Fulbright often handles M&A and financing matters, with an increasing focus on outbound work. Beijing-based practice head Tom Luckock advised a consortium of Huaneng Shandong and Shandong Ruyi as the sponsor of the bidding, financing, development and construction of the $1.8bn coal-fired project in Pakistan. On the lender side, Fei Kwok has been advising ICBC on the financing of three solar projects in India. Paul Wee joined from Clifford Chance LLP, whereas Jie Zhang moved to Reed Smith Richards Butler.

Baker McKenzie has extensive experience of advising domestic and international clients on the full spectrum of projects work, particularly in the context of financing and M&A. Beijing partner Stanley Jia often assists major SOEs with outbound investments. Shanghai-based Danian Zhang primarily acts for clients in M&A, corporate and environmental compliance matters. The team also includes Bee Chun Boo and Simon Leung in Beijing, as well as of counsel Kai Chang Yong in Shanghai.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s ‘outstanding’ energy and natural resources expertise was considerably strengthened by the recruitment of Michael Arruda, Joanne Du and arbitration expert Phillip Georgiou to the Hong Kong office from Jones Day. The ‘well-connected’ Jeff Layman in Beijing advised an American oil company on all China and Hong Kong-related aspects of a merger between the client and another oil major. The team includes Russell Wilkinson in Hong Kong.

Pinsent Masons specialises in infrastructure projects and is often instructed by contractors and project sponsors. Ellen Zhang in Beijing, Amanda Yao in Shanghai, John Yeap in Hong Kong and Singapore-based David Platt advised the sponsor, China Machinery and Engineering Corporation (CMEC), on the financing of a $2bn coal-fired power plant in Pakistan. The department is headed by Shanghai-based Hew Kian Heong, who has been assisting an increasing number of domestic clients with a wide range of oil and gas, and energy-related matters, including major outbound midstream projects and construction-related disputes.

Shearman & Sterling’s ‘timely and professional’ team is experienced in acting for sponsors and lenders. Sean Wang, who splits his time between Beijing and Shanghai, led advice to ICBC, Standard Bank and Africa Development Bank as the lenders on the proposed $2bn financing of a 930MW coal-fired plant in Lamu County, Kenya. On the sponsor side, Wang advised Shanghai Electric on the development of the 1,000MW coal-fired power plant in Pakistan. Andrew Ruff is another key partner.

Headed by Xiao Yong, Vinson & Elkins LLP excels in handling cross-border transactions in the oil and gas sector. Yong led advice to Sinopec on its purchase of a 10% stake in Russian gas processing and petrochemicals business, SIBUR. Jay Kolb, who divides his time between Beijing and Hong Kong, and Hong Kong-based Nicholas Molan have been advising China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) on a number of issues regarding its LNG trading and regasification arrangements in China. Other clients include China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China ZhenHuaOil and EuroChem.

White & Case LLP is experienced in handling the full lifecycle of energy and natural resources project work, including M&A and disputes as well as project development and finance. Beijing-based David Li led on the Chinese aspects of advising a six-strong consortium of lenders on the financing of Anadarko Petroleum’s Mozambique LNG project. Hong Kong-based Hallam Chow, Eugene Man and Anthony Vasey have been assisting China Water Affairs (CWA) with a number of transactions, including its $109m acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Goldtrust Water Holdings. Xiaoming Li leads the group in Beijing. Since publication, Xiaoming Li departed to Han Kun Law Offices.

Professional and caring’, Ashurst’s ‘excellent’ practice was augmented by the arrival of new department head Chin Chuan Chen and his team from Clifford Chance LLP. The group primarily acts for lenders in the full range of energy and natural resources matters, with a particular focus on power. Chen, who divides his time between Beijing and Singapore, is advising CDB and Bank of China on a number of pipeline projects, including the $12.2bn financing of the construction and development of the Kazakhstan-China natural gas pipeline. Other clients include China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), ICBC and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC).

DLA Piper is highly experienced in handling outbound transactions for SOEs and private companies, particularly in matters regarding the One Belt, One Road initiative. Practice head Carolyn Dong, who divides her time between Beijing and Hong Kong, advised a syndicate of lenders (comprising ABC, China Construction Bank, Mizuho Bank, Scotiabank and HSBC) on a $1bn refinancing of Sinopec Canada with regard to its acquisition of an interest in a LNG project and upstream oil and gas assets in British Columbia, Canada. The team recruited Beijing-based financing expert Li Jie Han from Latham & Watkins LLP. Hong Kong-based Paul Lee heads the Asia finance and projects group.

At Hogan Lovells International LLP, the infrastructure, energy, resources and projects department is noted for its financing capabilities and has a particular strength in assisting Chinese clients with investments in Latin America. In Beijing, managing partner and practice co-head Jun Wei specialises in project finance and infrastructure development. Beijing-based of counsel Michael Zou advised CDB on the $1.6bn financing of the Astana Light Rail project in Kazakhstan. Shanghai-based co-head Terence Wong primarily handles international arbitration matters.

Jones Day’s ‘very responsive and service-oriented’ team covers the full range of project work, including financing, M&A, structuring and dispute resolution. Clients recommend Hong Kong-based co-head Ben McQuhae, who advised Ophir Energy on its portfolio acquisition of five Indonesian controlling interests from Niko Resources, including a number of closings in London, Cyprus and Hong Kong. John Kao and Graham Lim (respectively based in Beijing and Hong Kong) advised Shenzhen Energy on its $542m acquisition of CPT Wyndham Holdings, the owner of China Hydroelectric, from a consortium of investors led by NewQuest Capital Partners. The other practice co-heads are Maria Tan Pedersen in Hong Kong, and former King & Wood Mallesons partners Dirk Walker and Dina Yin in Beijing.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s projects and infrastructure group excels in complex cross-border transactions for domestic and international clients. In Hong Kong, Benjamin Carale advised San Miguel Corporation as sponsor regarding financing of the 300MW coal-fired Limay power project in the Philippines. The practice is led by Joseph Bevash, who divides his time between Hong Kong and Singapore.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has seen a significant increase in mandates from clients in the renewable energy sector, as well as investments in the infrastructure area. Practice head Shepard Liu led on the Chinese aspects of advising Honiton Energy during the auction sale of its portfolio of wind farms in China and Mongolia to Terraform. Other clients include Bank of China, CDB and PowerChina.

With a long history in the mining sector, Morrison & Foerster LLP continues to handle a number of big-ticket outbound transactions. Beijing and Shanghai managing partner Paul McKenzie led in assisting with Eldorado Gold’s disposal of interests in two Chinese projects, valued at $300m and $600m, respectively. In Beijing, regulatory and M&A expert Sherry Yin has developed a particular expertise in cleantech.

Regarded as being ‘good value for money’, Simmons & Simmons primarily handles major outbound transactions and has a strong focus on energy-related projects. Beijing-based Eric Lin has been advising CMEC as a co-investor on the financing of a 700MW coal-fired power plant in Pakistan. Other clients include CNOOC, Shenhua Group and China Resources. Ian Wood heads the practice in Hong Kong.

Eversheds LLP advises on the full spectrum of traditional and non-traditional projects, particularly within the nuclear sector. In Beijing, practice head Jay Ze advised CDB as one of the lenders of the £30bn financing of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, England. The team includes Ingrid Zhu-Clark, who specialises in assisting Chinese clients with outbound transactions in the oil and gas sector. Clients include Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Sinopec and Beijing Gas.

At Sidley Austin LLP, the energy and natural resources group has seen a significant increase in mandates from clients in the renewable energy and power sectors. The team includes Lan Tao in Beiing, who often advises multinationals on energy M&A transactions in China, as well as assisting Chinese companies with major outbound transactions in jurisdictions in Latin America, Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Hong Kong-based Tom Deegan is a key partner.

Led by Alan Schiffman from Hong Kong, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s energy and infrastructure practice has extensive experience of work across the full spectrum of projects work, with notable expertise in IPP projects. Clients include Sinopec, Daqo New Energy and HongHua Group.

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China and Hong Kong

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Legal Developments in China

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • What is the relationship between PPP and concessions?

    From fledgling concessions to PPP that is sweeping the country today, there are two major sets of regulations to be followed: one being regulations for concessions led by the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) and the other the series of regulations for PPP led by the Ministry of Finance (“MoF”).  However, to date, there is still not one law that expressly defines the relationship between the two, resulting in much confusion and many impediments in practice.  The relationship between concessions and PPP is an issue currently desperately needing clarification.
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