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China > Dispute resolution > Dispute resolution: foreign firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution: foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's 'overall service is excellent; the firm provides clients with very professional advice and timely responses to its clients' queries'. The practice stands out for its large, dedicated arbitration practice in Greater China; it also distinguishes itself through its Alternative Legal Services hub in China, comprising a Shanghai-based bilingual team that provides a cost-effective, on-the-ground means of tackling the document-intensive elements of major disputes. The team represented SIPC and Addax (subsidiaries of the Sinopec Group) in, reportedly, the largest claim ever filed with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre; with Repsol as respondent, this highly complex fraud matter that arose from the 2012 purchase by SIPC and Addax of a 49% stake in a significant upstream business in the North Sea, is valued at over $5.5bn. It also defended BYD Company, a Chinese electronic component manufacturing company, against complex and highly contentious litigation proceedings in the Hong Kong High Court that were commenced by Foxconn and involved allegations of breach of confidence in relation to confidential information and trade secrets. Jessica Fei, who has over 20 years' experience in international arbitration, leads the Beijing disputes practice. Recent growth saw Shanghai's Helen Tang, who 'has a great eye for detail and is very professional', promoted to the partnership; and construction arbitration specialists Michelle Li and Hew Kian Heong, who split their time between Shanghai and Beijing, were hired from Pinsent Masons. In Hong Kong, Justin D’Agostino is global disputes head, while commercial litigation head Gareth Thomas, arbitration head Simon Chapman and Greater China managing partner May Tai are other key names.

Baker McKenzie FenXun has a large, full-service dispute resolution team in Greater China that advises on commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, commercial and international arbitration, contentious restructuring and insolvency, and regulatory investigations. The practice fields sector specialists in financial services, energy, mining, construction, infrastructure and telecoms. Commercial and insurance dispute resolution expert Simon Hui is the recommended name in Shanghai; in Hong Kong, Cynthia Tang heads the dispute resolution group.

Jones Day's global disputes practice in China regularly represents clients before the courts in Mainland China (with local counsel); it has particular strength in commercial arbitrations at the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, as well as before numerous offshore arbitral institutions; and it is highly rated for regulatory investigation work involving sanctions, The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, anti-corruption, and antitrust. The team recently acted for The Procter & Gamble Company, which indirectly holds shares in a joint venture company in China, in high-value claims brought by a joint venture shareholder seeking damages. Peter Wang, Michael Vella and Haifeng Huang are the names to note.

Allen & Overy LLP's litigation practice focuses on corporate and financial services disputes and is supported by significant contentious IP, antitrust, restructuring and insolvency, and regulatory practitioners. It also has a specialised international arbitration practice in Greater China. Jane Jiang and Hong Kong's global co-international arbitration head Matthew Gearing QC are highly rated practitioners.

DLA Piper's disputes practice covers shareholder and director issues, regulatory investigations, banking and financing matters, employment law, IP, construction, shipping and cyber fraud. It acted for Ping An Bank in the recovery of onshore and offshore loan debts of over HKD2bn from China Huishan Dairy Holdings Company and related companies. On the mainland, of counsel Xiaoshan Chen handles arbitration disputes covering sale of goods, trade and commodities, shipping and joint ventures. In Hong Kong, Asia litigation and and regulatory group head Kevin Chan is 'an outstanding professional', Ernest Yang is Hong Kong litigation and regulatory leader, and Harris Chan is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP's China dispute resolution team's recent work includes multi-jurisdictional engineering matters, regulatory investigations, white-collar crime, infrastructure disputes and cyber fraud. Alongside the Washngton DC office, the team assisted Dun & Bradstreet Corporation with major investigation and cross-border enforcement actions that related to the acquisition of data. Shanghai’s Eugene Chen is highly rated. Terence Wong joined Winston & Strawn LLP's Hong Kong and Shanghai offices.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP's PRC team acts for multinational corporations and Chinese companies in complex commercial litigation, antitrust matters, product liability cases, IP disputes, environmental litigation, and securities and shareholder claims. It represented Syngenta in over 1,800 lawsuits in the US, which allege that its commercialisation of Viptera and introduction into the corn supply allegedly caused China to reject all shipments of American corn. Tiana Zhang, Jodi Wu and Agnes Li are the key mainland contacts, while Kelly Naphtali and Cori Lable are the Hong Kong names to note.

Norton Rose Fulbright is highly regarded for complex, often multi-jurisdictional disputes involving contract and commercial disputes; financial institutions and asset managers, including regulatory issues; real estate and construction; technology and telecoms; shipping; and major estate litigation. The Hong Kong-based practice includes Camille Jojo and Alfred Wu as well as consultants Jim James and Philip Nunn.

Clifford Chance LLP's key advisors include Hong Kong litigation and dispute resolution head Brian Gilchrist and Cameron Hassall, who heads international arbitration for Greater China. Gilchrist has particular expertise in disputes involving banking, directors’ duties, minority shareholders and insurance, along with tax, trusts and contentious probate, and employment; Hassall specialises in cross-border investment and shareholder disputes, primarily in the energy and infrastructure, private equity, banking and aviation sectors.

Clyde & Co LLP's 'team never disappoints clients and it provides high-level legal skills, efficient working procedures and smooth, English language communication abilities'. It is well known for its sector expertise in insurance, infrastructure, transportation, marine, aviation, and trade and commodities. The key advisers are Asia managing director Ik Wei Chong and Richard Bell, who are 'both highly recommended by clients', and Andrew Rourke, who divides his time between Guildford and Shanghai. Dennis Wong was promoted to partner, while former Beijing managing partner Patrick Zheng left for Llinks Law Offices.

CMS is well known for its experience in handling commercial disputes in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, technology, energy and logistics sectors. The key Beijing contacts are office managing partner Nick Beckett and Falk Lichtenstein; Shanghai's Ulrike Glueck's practice covers disputes involving M&A, shareholder agreements, real estate and construction, distribution, employment, and pensions.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is highly rated for regulatory enforcement litigation as well as international arbitration. Hong Kong-based Asia disputes practice head William Robinson is recommended for his assistance with corporate investigations and anti-bribery and corruption matters; other highly rated practitioners are John Choong and Tim Mak.

O'Melveny is highly rated for cross-border disputes, particularly US-bound litigation, including defending China-based, US listed companies in securities class actions in the US Federal Courts. Examples include acting for China Agritech, an organic compound fertilizer manufacturer and distributor, in successfully defeating motions for class certification in securities class actions, which were litigated in the Central District of California. Hong Kong's Denis Brock is the international disputes and arbitration practice chair and regional head of the Asia litigation practice; Binga Guo joined White & Case LLP's Beijing office.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is particularly well known for assisting Chinese clients with US securities litigation cases; and the firm's clients span industrial sectors from manufacturing, technology and telecoms to financial services and healthcare. In Hong Kong, Rory McAlpine is practice head and Bradley Klein leads a team that advises on internal investigations, US regulatory enforcement matters, and US federal and state trial and appellate litigation. Steve Kwok is also highly rated.

'Providing a stellar service', Bird & Bird focuses on litigation arising out of: equity and debt capital markets; private equity and infrastructure investments; investigations by regulatory bodies; shareholder and boardroom issues, including disputes arising out of joint ventures in China; and disciplinary proceedings for professionals. Hong Kong’s Richard Keady is 'an excellent litigator who is very commercial in his thinking and adept at dealing with difficult issues and characters'; and Robert Rhoda is 'absolutely charming and a delight to work with'.

Dechert LLP's PRC team is led by Beijing office managing partner Jingzhou Tao, who is recommended for China-related dispute resolution and international arbitration. Mariana Zhong regularly assists foreign and PRC clients with international commercial arbitrations.

Linklaters' practice covers contentious regulatory matters, white-collar matters and insolvency. In Hong Kong, Asia dispute resolution head Melvin Sng also co-heads the restructuring and insolvency practice in Asia; and Justin Tang acts for investment and commercial banks, listed corporations, Big Four accountancy firms and the Hong Kong government. Tang 'has very sound knowledge and he is efficient and goal oriented without engaging in excessive legalese'.

Morrison & Foerster LLP's 'team is responsive and sophisticated in terms of its knowledge of arbitration procedure'. Its recent experience includes acting in parallel Hong Kong and PRC court proceedings, which sought to set aside an unfavourable Hong Kong-seated ICC arbitration award. In Hong Kong, Craig Celniker is Asia disputes resolution head and Timothy Blakely heads up Hong Kong litigation. Adrian Yip is also a key contact.

Pinsent Masons is recommended for litigation and international arbitration involving construction, engineering, infrastructure and energy projects. Helen Chang, Helena Chen and Sam Boyling are the key contacts. Former China head Hew Kian Heong and Michelle Li joined Herbert Smith Freehills.

'Truly understanding how to deal with clients and meet and exceed their needs', Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is 'highly rated for its 'understanding of the region both in terms of legal and commercial culture'. The practice includes IP disputes, antitrust, post M&A issues, financial litigation and oil and gas disputes, while Shanghai managing partner Sam Williamson specialises in Asia-based government enforcement matters and investigations, as well as US-facing litigation involving issues and parties in Asia.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has a significant sector focus on energy, construction, infrastructure and telecoms, as well as disputes arising from M&A deals or other forms of business combinations. Asia international  arbitration head Nils Eliasson divides his time between the Hong Kong and Beijing offices.

Simmons & Simmons has a strong sector focus on asset management and investment funds, financial institutions, TMT and life sciences; it was recently also active in commodities disputes. Joseph Chu regularly acts for Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed PRC companies on the regulatory issues that arise from Securities and Futures Commission investigations.

Stephenson Harwood is 'impressively knowledgeable in dispute resolution'. The team is experienced in cross-border and domestic high-profile litigation, particularly in relation to white-collar crime, investigations, insurance, construction and IP. Malcolm Kemp in Hong Kong is the litigation head and Evangeline Quek in Shanghai focuses on commercial, international trade and shipping disputes.

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