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China > Labour and employment > Labour and employment: foreign firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • 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.

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