Leading firms in Asia Pacific: Regional International Arbitration

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, particularly outside the major hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong, require firms to enter into local alliances or have similar restrictions requiring firms to be divided into different entities, often with some degree 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, and as such, this section should be read alongside the jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction coverage.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance‘s international arbitration team is well-rated across the region for both commercial and investment treaty disputes. Regional practice group head Cameron Hassall splits his time between Sydney and Hong Kong while Shanghai-based Lei Shi and Thomas Walsh in Hong Kong jointly lead the Greater China practice which excels in private equity and corporate disputes. Also in Hong Kong, the group benefits from the addition of Jonathan Wong from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, who handles arbitration cases with a focus on cross-border and Greater China matters. In Singapore – where the firm has a local law alliance with Cavenagh Law LLP -, its strong team is led by Nish Shetty and includes energy and infrastructure disputes expert Paul Sandosham, investment arbitration expert Paul Tan and Kabir Singh, who is known for handling disputes relating to India and Indonesia. In Perth practice head Sam Luttrell and Amanda Murphy excel in natural resources, energy and mining sector and investment treaty disputes.

Practice head(s):

Cameron Hassall;

Other key lawyers:

Lei Shi; Thomas Walsh; Sam Luttrell; Amanda Murphy; Nish Shetty;  Paul Sandosham; Paul Tan; Kabir Singh; Jonathan Wong

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s international arbitration team is particularly strong for corporate and private equity disputes and counts energy, construction and TMT among its sector specialisms. Hong Kong-based Simon Chapman QC leads the regional practice, having taken over from Global CEO Justin D’Agostino. In mainland China, Helen Tang advises Chinese SOEs and private enterprises, as well as multinational corporations operating in China, on a broad range of commercial arbitration matters, while Hew Kian Heong focused on construction arbitration. Clients also benefit from the firm’s collaboration with Kewei Law Firm in Shanghai. In Singapore, Alastair Henderson leads the team which excels in corporate and shareholder disputes as well as telecoms, technology and banking sector matters. Tomas Furlong and Gitta Satryani, who is carving a niche in investment treaty and sovereign immunity are other names to note in Singapore while recently promoted Dana Kim is a key partner in Seoul. In Australia, the group includes Chad Catterwell in Melbourne and Leon Chung in Sydney while Brenda Horrigan retired.

Practice head(s):

Simon Chapman QC

Other key lawyers:

Justin D’Agostino; Helen Tang; Hew Kian Heong; Alastair Henderson; Tomas Furlong; Gitta Satryani; Dana Kim; Chad Catterwell; Leon Chung

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy handles a full range of commercial and investment treaty work, particularly in the energy, mining and financial services sectors. Matthew Hodgson leads the Hong Kong team following Matthew Gearing QC’s return to the Bar while Shanghai-based Jane Jiang  (who is dual-qualified in Hong Kong and the UK) is another key contact. In Perth, Mark Van Brakel is noted, while in Singapore it has a growing practice led by Sheila Ahuja. It also benefits from additional PRC disputes capabilities through its joint operation firm Lang Yue Law Firm.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Hodgson

Other key lawyers:

Jane Jiang; Mark Van Brakel; Sheila Ahuja

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie‘s international arbitration practice has a strong team in Southeast Asia. It is particularly strong in Singapore and Vietnam. In Vietnam, the team excels in the banking and finance, commercial, investment and construction disputes; Minh Tri Quach leads the practice following Frederick Burke’s retirement. For construction and TMT disputes its Singapore office, led by Nandakumar Ponniya, is noted, while in Thailand, practice head Wynn Pakdeejit has a strong reputation for telecoms and transport sector disputes. Also in Southeast Asia,  Jarkata-based Timur Sukirno is noted. In mainland China, where it benefits from a joint operation with FenXun Partners, Shanghai-based Simon Hui is highlighted while Gary Seib is the name to note in Hong Kong following Paul Teo‘s departure to Mayer Brown in Singapore. Sydney-based Jo Delaney joined HFW.

Practice head(s):

Minh Tri Quach

Other key lawyers:

Nandakumar Ponniya; Wynn Pakdeejit; Timur Sukirno; Simon Hui; Gary Seib

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s international arbitration team spans from Australia to Southeast Asia and counts construction disputes among its specialist areas. From Sydney, ACICA vice-president Gitanjali Bajaj leads the Asia Pacific practice; she has particular construction, infrastructure, oil and gas, power and energy sector expertise. The group also benefits from strong individuals in Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. In Thailand, the team is particularly strong for insurance and construction disputes; Don Rojanapenkul and senior consultant Peter Shelford are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Gitanjali Bajaj

Other key lawyers:

Don Rojanapenkul; Peter Shelford; Satpal Gobindpuri

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells‘ international arbitration practice benefits from strong teams in Singapore and Hong Kong and a reputation for handling complex construction, energy and commercial disputes. Timothy Hill and James Kwan jointly lead the Hong Kong practice and handle construction and commercial disputes respectively. The Singapore-based team is known for energy, infrastructure and construction disputes, practice head Kent Phillips is popular with Japanese clients.

Other key lawyers:

Timothy Hill; James Kwan; Kent Phillips

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons‘ international arbitration team has a breadth of experience in Greater China disputes. Commodities disputes expert Tao Huang is a key name to note in mainland China while in Hong Kong, practice head Paul Starr, construction and infrastructure experts Donovan Ferguson and Edmund Wan, and corporate disputes partner Barbara Chiu are key names. In Australia, the team excels in investment treaty arbitration, key names include Daisy Mallett and construction disputes expert Peter Pether. The group also benefits from the blockbuster hire of Amanda Lees from Simmons & Simmons in Singapore; Lees has significant experience in both commercial and investment treaty arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Paul Starr

Other key lawyers:

Tao Huang; Donovan Ferguson; Edmund Wan; Barbara Chiu; Daisy Mallett; Peter Pether; Amanda Lees

Ashurst

Jeremy Chenoweth leads Ashurst‘s Asia Pacific international arbitration team from Brisbane while in Sydney ACICA president Georgia Quick is strong for arbitration arising from energy, construction and infrastructure projects. Other names to note in Sydney include Peter Voss and Bill Smith, while in Singapore where the team is particularly active in LNG pricing disputes, Rob Palmer and Michael Weatherley are highlighted.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Chenoweth

Other key lawyers:

Georgia Quick; Peter Voss; Bill Smith; Rob Palmer; Michael Weatherley

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC has a strong commercial and investment treaty arbitration in South Korea. For the former, Hongjoong Kim is the key contact while Junu Kim focuses on investment disputes. The practice, led by Tony Dongwook Kang, recently welcomed former judge Changhyun Lee in February 2021 after the departure of David McArthur in December 2020 to join Anderson Mori & Tomotsune in Tokyo.

Practice head(s):

Tony Dongwook Kang

Other key lawyers:

Hongjoong Kim; Junu Kim; Changhyun Lee

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore

Clyde & Co LLP blends its global reach with local partnerships in the Asia Pacific region, with Westlink Partnership in mainland China and a joint venture with Clasis in Singapore. Its Singapore-based team is a popular choice for disputes relating to India or Indonesia and also has a growing roster of US clients. Prakash Pillai and Sapna Jhangiani are key names to note. The group is strong for China-related disputes, particularly those with trade and commodities, insurance or marine angle. Shanghai-based Ik Wei Chong and Nicholas Lum, who splits his time between Shanghai and Singapore, are also highly recommended. In South Korea, Nicholas Sykes is noted for shipping and energy matters while Jon Howes and Eugene Tan excel in construction arbitration.

Other key lawyers:

Sapna Jhangiani; Prakash Pillai; Ik Wei Chong; Nicholas Lum; Nicholas Sykes; Jon Howes; Eugene Tan

Fangda Partners

Fangda Partners‘ international arbitration team stands out for greater China disputes and is one of the few Chinese law firms active in complex and high-value arbitrations inside and outside China involving Chinese elements. The group is led in mainland China by Nuo Ji, Benjamin Miao and Daniel Huang in Shanghai and Ming Kang and Helen Shi in Beijing. While in Hong Kong Peter Yuen, Olga Boltenko (who is noted for investor-state disputes) and energy sector expert Matthew Townsend are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Miao; Daniel Huang; Nuo Ji; Ming Kang; Helen Shi

Other key lawyers:

Peter Yuen; Olga Boltenko; Matthew Townsend

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang fields one of the strongest arbitration teams in South Korea with an impressive caseload across a broad range of jurisdictions and industry sectors. The team is highly experienced in both investment treaty arbitration and commercial arbitration and continues to expand within its regional network of offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam.  Practice heads Byung-Chul Yoon and Eun Young Park are well-regarded for a range of disputes while, for construction arbitration, Byung-Woo Im is the key contact.

Other key lawyers:

Byung-Woo Im

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP‘s impressive Singapore-based team handles commercial and investor-state disputes with particular oil and gas, construction and infrastructure sector specialisms. Wade Coriell and Simon Dunbar are key contacts for commercial disputes while for investment treaty issues Elodie Dulac is noted.

Practice head(s):

Wade Coriell

Other key lawyers:

Simon Dunbar; Elodie Dulac; Emerson Holmes

Norton Rose Fulbright

For energy, construction and infrastructure disputes, Norton Rose Fulbright‘s international arbitration team is particularly recommended. The team includes Andrew Battisson in Sydney and Brisbane-based Dylan McKimmie, while in Singapore experienced KC Lye and recently promoted energy sector expert Katie Chung are key names to note. In Hong Kong, Alfred Wu and Camille Jojo excel in construction and corporate arbitration, respectively.

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Battisson; Dylan McKimmie; KC Lye; Katie Chung; Camille Jojo; Alfred Wu

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP has a strong reputation for investor-state disputes and energy sector international arbitration; it is regularly instructed on China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines related multimillion-dollar arbitrations. Practice heads Andre Yeap and Kelvin Poon are key contacts in Singapore, as is the regional head of dispute resolution group Francis Xavier, SC, while in Vietnam Chau Huy Quang is noted for investor-state disputes. It counts construction and healthcare disputes among its other areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Andre Yeap SC; Kelvin Poon

Other key lawyers:

Chau Huy Quang; Francis Xavier SC; Ng Kim Beng

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling’s international arbitration practice counts energy, infrastructure and telecoms disputes among its areas of specialism. China disputes experts Nils Eliasson in Hong Kong and Emmanuel Jacomy (who splits his time between Singapore and Beijing), and Singapore-based Daryl Chew are the key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Nils Eliasson

Other key lawyers:

Emmanuel Jacomy; Daryl Chew