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Labour and employment: foreign firms

Index of tables

  1. Labour and employment: foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

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    • Claire Zhao - Faegre Baker Daniels

Baker McKenzie FenXun is able to provide 'thoughtful, commercial and sound legal advice, without the need for hours of research and consultation'. The department is an established name in China's labour market and in addition to its 'in depth knowledge of PRC labour law' and its domestic tie-up with FenXun Partners (enabling seamless service in labour and employment disputes), the team also maintains multiple proprietary public databases outlining recent employment cases and helping to navigate the varying labour regulations across Chinese cities. Headed by Hong Kong-based Jonathan Isaacs, the team has been particularly active in employee investigations matters, where it has advised a number of international financial services companies and manufacturers on investigations involving executives and senior management. The employment group has also handled mass layoffs for clients including a leading multinational tech company. A key figure in the mainland team is Zheng Lu, who is 'a strong advocate for her client's interest, but is also able to empathise with the individual employees she interacts with, making it easier for both parties to find a middle ground'.

From employee data privacy issues to misconduct investigations, DLA Piper has been in the thick of many of the market's budding trends, which have also included restructuring projects in the manufacturing sector - another area in which the team has been heavily involved. In the Beijing office, Johnny Choi advised FMC Corporation on a major employee transfer arising from the client's acquisition of DuPont's crop protection business, and the client's parallel sale of its health and nutrition business to DuPont. Choi has also been instructed by international corporates to assist with numerous terminations of individuals in senior management, and helped devise litigation strategies for a US-based retailer. The Asia-wide employment group has undergone some leadership changes, with Helen Colquhoun joining the Hong Kong office from Withers to head the regional employment practice, following the departure of Julia Gorham, who left for Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Additionally, senior associate Ying Li joined the team from Simmons & Simmons.

The employment group at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP assists its international client base with a range of regulatory and investigatory mandates, and advises on non-contentious issues including employee transfers, immigration and transactional due diligence. Working across the Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices, the team is instructed by healthcare and life sciences companies, industrial corporations, security and logistics groups, and multinational financial institutions. In the Beijing office, Karen Ip advised a European food stuffs manufacturer on the employment aspects of its contemplated liquidation, and has also assisted multinational corporates with the recruitment of expatriate managers and executives. Ip has also been instructed in employee misconduct investigations and dismissals. Shanghai-based Nanda Lau advised one of the world's best-known oil and gas companies on the employment terms and potential redundancies associated with the client's restructuring of two Chinese subsidiaries. Gareth Thomas is a key contact in the Hong Kong office.

Hogan Lovells International LLP provides its international client base with comprehensive day-to-day employment advice, and is also called upon to assist with corporate transactional matters, employee investigations and disputes. Philip Cheng leads the Shanghai-based group, which assisted a client in the shipping sector with the termination of several employees following an investigation. The team also advised a European corporate on its arbitration strategy in a case involving a member of its senior management. In the non-contentious space, Cheng and Beijing-based Roy Zou are acting for a laboratory research company in relation to an employee rationalisation project following a significant global acquisition. The firm has also launched an association firm, Hogan Lovells Fidelity, in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which it expects will greatly enhance its ability to provide the full-range of support in labour and employment disputes in the PRC.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is well known for its work in employee investigations and complex termination mandates. The department is headed by Lesli Ligorner, who is highly regarded by clients and peers alike. Among the team's recent highlights, Ligorner assisted a global trade organisation with the dismissal of three employees, who had mismanaged the client's Shanghai location for over a decade, and, separately, assisted with the termination of an employee, who had taken a large amount of confidential and proprietary company information. The practice head has also been involved in a number of management terminations arising from sexual misconduct allegations. Additional contacts include Todd Liao, who advises clients on employment contracts and various employee agreements, and Dora Wang, who has experience in employment disputes and is often instructed to advise on compliance matters.

Simmons & Simmons exhibits 'strong interplay between its Hong Kong and mainland China offices, enabling seamless service on cross-border mandates', where it is 'well-suited to advise global companies'. Acting for a number of household name tech companies and financial services groups, the Shanghai-based employment department, which includes Matthew Durham and May Lu, advises its clients on layoffs, organisational restructurings, immigration and employee data protection issues, but has been especially active in employee investigations. Indeed, the team has assisted multiple clients with investigations and subsequent terminations of employees accused of fraud and sexual misconduct. Also recommended is Hong Kong-based practice head Fiona Loughrey, who is known for 'going out of her way to ensure that her clients feel valued'. Legal executive Amelia Jin joined the team from Winston & Strawn LLP.

Working alongside its colleagues in the Australia offices, Ashurst advises its corporate clients on employment matters associated with their various business strategies and corporate transactions in China. Michael Sheng is the main contact in the department, which also has experience structuring employee incentive plans. Frank Zhuang left the team for Baker McKenzie FenXun.

Bird & Bird provides comprehensive employment law support to its client base, which is primarily composed of tech-related corporates such as broadcasting companies, IT and communications groups, life sciences companies and digital media companies. Among its major instructions in 2017-2018, the team advised a global auto parts company on a compliance investigation and subsequent employee transfers and terminations, and also assisted an international manufacturer of aircraft passenger products with the China-related employment issues arising from a multijurisdictional merger. The team is often called upon to assist its clients with drafting employment agreements and structuring litigation and arbitration strategies. Ying Wang is the department's key contact in the mainland, while Pattie Walsh heads the regional employment practice from the Hong Kong office.

Faegre Baker Daniels' Shanghai-based employment department is led by Kevin Jones, who has considerable experience handling mass layoffs and helping clients in the manufacturing and retail sectors to mitigate potential strike actions. Moreover, Jones has particular expertise in staffing issues arising from M&A and corporate reorganisations, and has also handled employment disputes and internal anti-corruption investigations. The team also includes associate Claire Zhao, who has assisted corporates with employee terminations and transfers and also has experience in labour disputes.

Pinsent Masons has experience assisting its corporate client base with redundancy projects, employee transfers and terminations. In the mainland, Helen Chang and Wei Liu specialise in construction law and M&A, respectively, in addition to having experience with employment mandates. Additional contacts include legal director William Soileau, who has handled employee transfers and terminations, and Paul Haswell, who practices out of the firm's Hong Kong office and has experience with employment arbitration.


Labour and employment: PRC firms

Index of tables

  1. Labour and employment: PRC firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Baohua Law Firm is a boutique labour and employment firm, which handles employment litigation, compliance and investigatory matters, employee transfers and mass layoffs for household name multinational corporates and Chinese state-owned entities (SOEs). Indeed, the department has been instructed by major SOEs in the telecoms, power, and financial services sectors, and has also acted for a global European food distributor, and American corporates spanning the automotive, electronics, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and oil and gas industries. The team is led by Baohua Dong and includes John Dong, Anson Gu, Jie Yang and Jay Chen, all of whom have extensive experience in human resources management and employment litigation and arbitration.

'One of the leaders in China's labour legal market', JunHe LLP provides 'practical and reliable advice' across contentious and non-contentious labour matters. The team has 'a solid grasp of legislative dynamics and local judicial practice' which gives the group 'a clear advantage in labour disputes'. The team's clients include some of the most widely recognised names in the technology, pharmaceuticals, energy and engineering and manufacturing industries. In the non-contentious space, Hongjuan Bai assisted a multinational confectionery company with the integration of multiple China-based operations involving hundreds of employees, which required various resettlements, salary adjustments and employee terminations. Jianjun Ma assisted a European software company with settlement agreements with 400 employees following a staff optimization exercise. The team also advised on litigation and arbitration strategies for Chinese subsidiaries of foreign companies, and is highly recommended for employment disputes.  Yimu Bu has 'a wealth of experience in labour disputes' and is identified by clients as 'one of the team's most promising young partners'.

King & Wood Mallesons provides 'incomparable' service characterised by 'quick response times' and 'commercially friendly, tailor-made advice'. Jointly led by Linda Liang and Junlu Jiang, the team advises on the entire spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, and also played a role in shaping significant pieces of Chinese labour policy. Lucy Lu and Juquan Yin assisted a global US manufacturing company with the closure of 22 entities in China involving the layoff of around 400 employees. Similarly, the Shenzhen-based team advised a well-known technology company with the closure of two manufacturing sites and the layoff of several thousand employees. In the contentious space, the team defended an ex-employee against her former employer involving alleged violation of a non-compete agreement, and also represented a household name tech company in litigation against one of its employees for gross misconduct. Additional contacts include Xiaodan Xu and Ting Liu, who have experience in labour arbitration.

River Delta Law Firm provides domestic and multinational clients with 'speedy responses and and commercially sensitive advice' facilitated by 'a high level of cooperation across its various Chinese offices'. In the contentious space, Cathy Qu assisted Thomson Reuters with the arbitration and litigation proceedings concerning the allegedly illegal termination of an ex-employee, while Jun Shen represented Pactera in an internal investigation and subsequent labour disputes with several employees. Qi Wang acted for Shenzhen DPT Electronics on the resettlement of over 3500 employees from DPT Group's Shenzhen site to Dongguan. 2017 also saw the opening of the firm's new Chongqing office. Founding partner Jason Lu and the 'professional and diligent' Lin Sun are also key figures in the team. The department's international clients include Panasonic and Goodyear, while Tencent is among the team's major domestic clients.

Zhong Lun Law Firm is instructed by multinationals and state-owned enterprises in complex employment matters, and is particularly active in employment litigation. The department handles the full life-cycle of employment matters for clients such as Microsoft (China), which Haiyan Duan advises on day-to-day employment matters and also represented in two labour disputes concerning employee terminations for misconduct. Duan also provides ongoing contentious and non-contentious employment advice to Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corporation, and assisted AVIC Real Estate with an employee integration project following a significant merger. In the Shanghai office, Carol Zhu assisted a telecoms company with a mass redundancy exercise involving over 400 employees, and also represented a subsidiary of a world-renowned pharmaceutical company in labour disputes with multiple employees.

The labour and employment department at Fangda Partners comprises specialists in compliance, corporate transactions and litigation, and has been particularly active in mass layoff and employee transfer mandates. In one matter, Bo Zhou advised a multinational retailer on the termination of several hundred employees in relation to the client's plan to close its retail sites in China. The team, which has expertise in employee share option schemes, also acted for a US medical appliance company in relation to the implementation of an employee share option scheme for its Chinese subsidiary. On the contentious side, Zhou represented an international corporate in litigation against a former employee accused of bribery. Moreover, the team handled a number of internal employment investigations and counselled a manufacturing company on its human rights compliance in relation to its Chinese operations. Other key figures in the department include Xie Zheng and George Xu. Anheuser-Busch InBev and Pierre Fabre are among the team's new clients.

Lanbai Law Firm is among China's oldest labour and human resources law boutiques. Working across its Shanghai, Guangzhou, Suzhou and Ningbo offices, the team handles general labour compliance, M&A support, employee transfers and mass layoffs, and has a particularly active labour disputes practice. Key figures include George Lu, Lily Mu, Ben Zhang and Aaron Qian. The team's clients have included Chinese policy banks and other financial institutions, as well as a variety of European and US corporates.

With expertise across a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, AnJie Law Firm is known for providing 'comprehensive business and legal advice at a tremendous value'. Jointly led by Zhenghe Liu and Hongquan Yang, the team has been particularly active in disputes concerning violations of non-compete agreements, and continues to be involved in a variety of employment litigation and arbitration. Liu, who can 'quickly come to grips with a client's business goals and legal requirements', advised a Sino-foreign joint venture agricultural company on multiple employee terminations and related arbitrations; he also handled a mass redundancy exercise for an international energy company. Yang provides ongoing compliance and litigation advice to clients such as Oracle. The team also has experience of handling the employment aspects of various corporate and organisational restructuring projects. Yiche, Daimler Greater China Labour Union and Hippo Culture and Technology are among the department's clients.

DaHui Lawyers advises domestic and international employers on the full range of contentious and non-contentious labour and employment matters such as redundancy projects, collective bargaining and HR management. The team has been engaged in some particularly complex labour disputes, including one matter concerning the historical scope of an employers pension programme. Department head Xing Wan has considerable experience in employment litigation and has recently been involved in a strike settlement and a nationwide redundancy plan. Wan's team also provides ongoing comprehensive labour and employment advice to clients such as Shanghai Disney Resort. Another key contact is Lin Bai, who specialises in commercial disputes resolution, but also has experience in employee investigations and employment litigation. Air Products and Chemicals is also among the department's clients.

DeHeng Law Offices is primarily instructed by Chinese SOEs, but also assists international corporates with human resources management, and advises on the employment aspects of M&A transactions and bankruptcy proceedings. The labour team has also handled employment investigations and large outsourcing projects for SOEs in the telecoms and energy sectors. Jianping Wang and Wenwei Su are key contacts in the department.

Dentons China is 'a truly global law firm providing exceedingly professional service'. Marked by 'fast and effective communication, deep industry knowledge and a strong support network', the employment team regularly works alongside its colleagues throughout the world to advise multinational corporates on the gamut of contentious and non-contentious labour and employment matters. Indeed, working in conjunction with its New York colleagues, the team acted for an employer in relation to a collective claim for remuneration brought by hundreds of Chinese nationals, who were unlawfully employed in Saipan by a Chinese entity. In another stand-out matter, Anderson Zhang assisted a European textile manufacturer with employee negotiations in relation to employee strikes that were staged at the client's three primary China locations. Zhang also advised a world-renowned media company on the feasibility of employing non-PRC journalists. Additional work has included Denny Jiang and Jicheng Liu advising Dongjiang Port Development on the layoff of around 100 employees. Dennis Fu is also recommended.

'Highly efficient, highly professional and highly communicative', Global Law Office is rated for its 'familiarity with China's regulatory practices and deep-seated knowledge of the country's judicial process'. From early stage compliance, to layoffs and transfers, to eventual litigation, the team handles the full range of labour and employment matters for its corporate client base, which comprises major domestic and international clients. Department co-head Zhao Li is representing a well-known TMT company in four related disputes with a former high officer, having already settled two additional claims arising from the same incident. Weiwei Gu, who co-heads the team from the Shanghai office, successfully represented a winner of the Chinese National Talent Award in a dispute with his former employer concerning a non-compete agreement. The team also handled mass terminations and employee transfers, which saw the recently promoted parter Gaochong Hu advising a domestic online music provider on the termination of dozens of employees.

Han Kun Law Offices 'provides stellar employment and general business advice' to a variety of large domestic corporates and international companies with operations in China. Led by Will Huang, the team is 'communicative, pragmatic and responsive - even on very short notice'. An 'outstanding litigator and counsellor', Huang specialises in employment disputes where he advised clients including AbbVie Pharmaceutical Trading (Shanghai), Levi Strauss Asia Pacific Division and Takeda (China) Holdings on matters such as infringement of trade secrets, breach of non-compete agreements and employee fraud. Huang assisted Cardinal Health with the employment aspects of its 2017 acquisition of certain Medtronic businesses, which involved the transfer of around 10,000 employees from one company to the other. Sunny Gao is a recommended associate in the team, which also provides ongoing HR management and compliance advice to a mix of domestic and international companies.

Jincheng Tongda & Neal is well known for assisting SOEs with major employee resettlement, advising listed companies on regulatory compliance, and representing employers in disputes with senior executives. Of particular note, department head Feng Liang acted for Beijing GSafety Technology (a group comprising numerous subsidiaries operating under various internal regulations) in connection with the update and coordination of its employment regulations. Liang also advised China Poly Construction Group on the layoff and relocation of multiple employees. Contentious highlights include successfully representing an internet company in a dispute with a former employee, and acting for a senior executive in a wrongful termination claim against a globally known computer hardware company. Juntao Zhang, who has experience in employment litigation and arbitration, is another name to note.

Servicing domestic and international companies in Guangdong, Macau and Hong Kong, PW & Partners matches its 'responsive and informed legal service' with comparably solid 'industry insight and business sensitivity'. Headed by the highly regarded James Peng, the team specialises in structuring large redundancy projects often involving several hundred, and sometimes several thousand employees. In 2017-2018, the team advised on multiple nationwide redundancy mandates and handled accompanying litigation and arbitration for several well-known companies in the shipping, food and beverage and manufacturing sectors. Also recommended is senior lawyer Ozzie Ou, who handled contentious and non-contentious employment issues for high-profile clients including several Fortune 500 companies.

R&P China Lawyers provides 'outstanding client support' characterised by 'high-quality and solution-oriented legal advice' and 'fast response times'. The team comprises lawyers with expertise in corporate transactional work and employment matters, and thus has considerable experience with the employment aspects of M&A and corporate reorganisations, but also handles mass terminations and misconduct investigations. Headed by Robin Tabbers, the team is often instructed by Dutch corporates, but advises a range of European clients on their operations in China. Tabbers has been particularly active in employee investigations concerning various corruption issues. Additional contacts include Rogier van Bijnen and Beijing-based Koen Naber, who has experience in employment disputes. Progress-Werk Oberkirch, Nutriad Group and Opendesk (Shanghai) are among the department's clients.

R&P China Lawyers - Mandarin translation: R&P China Lawyers 提供'杰出的客户支持',其特点是 '法律咨询服务质量高、以解决方案为导向 ',而且反应'迅速'。 该团队的律师都具有公司交易工作和就业事务方面的专业技能,因此,在并购和公司重组的就业方面经验丰富,而且还从事大量解聘和不良行为调查的工作。 该团队由Robin Tabbers领导,通常接受荷兰公司的指示,但为广泛的欧洲客户在中国的运营提供咨询。 Tabbers 一直积极从事与各种腐败问题有关的员工调查工作。 其他联系人包括 Rogier van Bijnen 和办公地点在北京的Koen Naber,他们在就业纠纷方面经验丰富。 进展 - Werk Oberkirch、Nutriad Group 和 Opendesk (Shanghai) 都是该部门的客户。


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