This section acts as an overview of firms’ capabilities in international arbitration across the region covered by The Legal 500’s Asia Pacific guide. A number of jurisdictions have regulations requiring firms to enter into local alliances or have similar restrictions requiring firms to be divided into different corporate entities, often with varying degrees of autonomy. This section looks at firms as broader units, and does include members of such affiliates/member firms; some offices may operate with varying degrees of integration. As such, this section should be read alongside the jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction dispute resolution coverage.
Leading firms in Asia Pacific: Regional International Arbitration
Clifford Chance has a presence across Asia in the disputes market, with key practitioners in ASEAN, Greater China and Australia. In Singapore, Nish Shetty and Paul Sandosham share leadership of an international arbitration practice that also includes Paul Tan and Kabir Singh, who has expertise in matters concerning South Asia. Lei Shi is a key contact based in Mainland China, while key contacts in Hong Kong include Thomas Walsh, while Cameron Hassall in Sydney is notable for his China-related work and is admitted as a solicitor-advocate in Hong Kong, with energy expertise down under coming from Sam Luttrell, and Spencer Flay is active in construction disputes.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP continues to have elite level arbitration practices both in Asia's key entrepôts, but also in other critical economies such as Australia, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia. In Singapore, Alastair Henderson has energy expertise, while Elaine Wong is notable for Japanese-related disputes and Gitta Satryani is active in public international law. The firm's managing partner for Japan and Korea, David Gilmore, also counts international arbitration in his practice, and Helen Tang is a key contact in Shanghai. Further north in ASEAN, Chinnawat Thongpakdee and Warathorn Wongsawangsiri are key arbitration practitioners in Bangkok. In Hong Kong, solicitor-advocate silk Simon Chapman KC continues to add advocacy firepower, with Kathryn Sanger another notable name and Justin D’Agostino - in addition to his responsibilities as the firm's CEO - continuing to be active in some investor-state work. In Australia, Chad Catterwell heads the practice group on a national level, with Elizabeth Macknay notable in Perth and Elizabeth Poulos busy in Brisbane. Furthermore, office managing partner Mike McClure and Dana Kim contribute further expertise in Seoul.
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy has a broad range of arbitration specialists across several key hubs in the region. The firm’s Hong Kong team is spearheaded by Matthew Hodgson and also includes 2021 partner promotion Joanne Lau. In Australia, Mark Van Brakel is a key contact, as is David Jenaway. Melody Wang is a notable name in the firm’s Chinese joint operation, and Jane Jiang is a key name in the firm’s Shanghai office, while in Singapore Sheila Ahuja is active in matters including investment treaty arbitration.
Baker McKenzie has a broad platform across Asia, including a number of notable practitioners in select Asian jurisdictions. Gary Seib, who practised as a barrister in Australia, is a key contact based in Hong Kong. Turning to ASEAN, Nandakumar Ponniya heads a Singapore team that also includes Ashish Chugh, while Wynn Pakdeejit heads the firms's arbitration practice in Thailand.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
John Choong is the fulcrum of the practice group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Hong Kong, which also includes the mainland Chinese-qualified Xin Liu, while in Singapore Nicholas Lingard is active in a range of politically-sensitive disputes, including investment treaty arbitrations.
Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee has arbitration practitioners in its offices both in Hong Kong and Singapore. In Hong Kong, James Kwan is active for commercial arbitrations, including M&A disputes, while Timothy Hill heads a construction disputes group active in engineering-related arbitrations, heading the firm's group in this area. Furthermore, in Singapore, it can count on commercial arbitration specialist Kent Phillips.
King & Wood Mallesons
In King & Wood Mallesons‘ Chinese heartland, Tao Huang heads the practice group, with other notable names including Yuwu Liu and Jessica Fei. Edwina Kwan, who is also admitted to practice in Hong Kong, Peter Pether and construction specialist Julianna Jorissen in Perth are notable names in the firm’s strong Australian offering. Paul Starr, Donovan Ferguson and Edmund Wan are key names based in the Hong Kong office, while Amanda Lees is a notable presence in Singapore.
Allen & Gledhill LLP
Singapore-based firm Allen & Gledhill LLP is active in a range of matters, with a focus on both commercial and technical-related disputes. Yee Leong Chong and Dinesh Dhillon share leadership of the team, while Ramesh Selvaraj is also another key contact. Hafzan Taher , another notable practicioner, is based in the firm’s Indonesian affiliate.
Ashurst LLP is notable for its strength in the Australian market, and additionally features strength in Japan and Singapore. In Australia, Jeremy Chenoweth and Georgia Quick share leadership of the practice, which also includes Peter Voss, while Ronnie King leads the charge for the firm in Tokyo. Rob Palmer and Michael Weatherley, who both have energy expertise, are key names in the firm's Singapore office.
Clyde & Co
Global insurance heavyweight Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore has expertise in arbitration across Asia, with a focus on work involving hard assets and natural resources. Prakash Pillai leads the local team in Singapore, which also includes energy, natural resources and marine expert Leon Alexander, and construction specialist Eugene Tan. Ik Wei Chong and Nicholas Lum are notable names in the firm’s Shanghai office. In Hong Kong, Jonathan Howes is the name to note; his expertise includes construction arbitrations.
CMS has strong arbitration groups in both Singapore and Hong Kong. Lakshanthi Fernando is the key name for commercial arbitrations in Singapore, where Kelvin Aw and Lynette Chew are notable names for construction work, while the Hong Kong office includes Nicolas Wiegand – who heads the firm’s APAC International Arbitration practice group, and the Australian-qualified Mariel Dimsey are key practitioners – the two have practices straddling mainstream commercial and construction work.
Global player Dentons has arbitration lawyers across many of the markets it is active in across Asia, including in its firm-wide centre of gravity in China. In Singapore, Herman Jeremiah and Lawrence Teh are key names, while notable names in the firm’s mainland Chinese offices include Tao Li in Beijing and Summit Chen in Shanghai, while Keith Brandt leads a Hong Kong group that also includes Robert Rhoda and Richard Keady. The firm’s combination with Link Legal in India makes it the first foreign firm with a direct presence in India.
DLA Piper‘s core strength in international arbitration in Asia comes from active markets away from the traditional entrepots of Hong Kong and Singapore. In Australia, Richard Edwards and Gitanjali Bajaj are key practitioners, while Don Rojanapenkul leads the firm’s disputes practice in Bangkok.
Fangda Partners carries the flag for mainland China in a range of international arbitration matters. Key names in Beijing include Ming Kang and Helen Shi, while in Shanghai Nuo Ji, Benjamin Miao and Daniel Huang are key contacts. The firm also has an arbitration team in Hong Kong, including Peter Yuen (who is dual qualified in England and Hong Kong), as well as Olga Boltenko, who is Russian-qualified on top of her admission as a Hong Kong solicitor and contributes investor-state arbitration expertise.
Kim & Chang
Kim & Chang continues to be South Korea's domestic firm for international arbitration, giving it a presence in the global market working with Korean businesses such as construction contractors. Byung-Chol Yoon heads the practice, with Sae Youn Kim, Byung-Woo Im , Dong Seok Oh and US-qualified Matthew Christensen all key practitioners based in Seoul.
Mayer Brown has strong arbitration groups in Singapore and Hong Kong (the latter presence, via the history of Johnson Stokes & Master, being the oldest component of the firm's merger genealogy). Yu-Jin Tay has been joined of late in the Singapore office by Kay-Jannes Wegner, who brings with him strong Korean connections from his previous firms, and Paul Teo. In Hong Kong, Menachem Hasofer has notable expertise in engineering disputes, and Tom Fu is notable for his expertise on matters crossing over with mainland China - other key names include Vivien Yip and Geoffrey Chan .
Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright‘s international arbitration offering in the Asia-Pacific region stems from Singapore, Hong Hong and Australia. In Singapore, Katie Chung and Andrew Battisson share leadership of a practice with expertise in areas including energy and investor-state arbitration. The team in Hong Kong includes Alfred Wu , whose engineering background equips him well for construction disputes, and Dylan McKimmie in Brisbane and Tamlyn Mills in Sydney are two key Australian names.
Energy and construction form a key part of the Pinsent Masons arbitration practice, which is active in cross-border matters across the region. Sam Boyling in Singapore has a strong track record of work relating to Mainland China, with a team also including fellow energy disputes specialist Nicholas Brown. In addition, Dean Lewis heads a Hong Kong team that also includes Nicholas Turner, who has a following among Korean contractor clients, and Mohammed Talib.
Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP
Singapore-headquartered firm Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP not only has arbitration strength in its home jurisdiction of the Little Red Dot, but can also call upon expertise elsewhere in South East Asia. In Singapore Avinash Pradhan and Kelvin Poon share leadership of the team which also includes eminent practitioner Andre Yeap SC, while Eri Hertiawan is a key name for international arbitration work in the firm’s Jakarta affiliate, while Chau Huy Quang is a key arbitration practitioner in the firm’s Vietnamese affiliate.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP has arbitration strengths in Singapore and Hong Kong. In the former, Timothy Cooke, Kohe Hasan - who has particular connections to Cambodia - and Kyri Evagora are notable names, while in the firm's Hong Kong office, Lianjun Li and Asha Sharma continue to be key names for work with connections to mainland China.
Squire Patton Boggs
Squire Patton Boggs has an energy-focussed arbitration presence in Asia, focussed on its Singapore and Australian offices. Barry Stimpson and Rodman Bundy are the key names in Singapore – Stimpson has a track record in LNG work, while Bundy has a track record of public international law and commercial matters. Further south, David Starkoff in Sydney has investment treaty expertise, in addition to other Australian-based lawyers with construction and energy expertise such as Greg Steinepreis and Cris Cureton .
Zhong Lun Law Firm
Beijing’s Zhong Lun Law Firm‘s arbitration practice includes Dong Feng and Binbin Sun as co-heads, as well as Huawei Sun , who is active in commercial cases involving public international law, and Wilson Huo. Frederick Hui is a key contact in Hong Kong, as is Gilbert Leung, who has financial services expertise.