Event Report

Hot on the heels of our successful 2022 GC Summit in Thailand, and our first ever GC Powerlist Thailand launch earlier this year, The Legal 500’s 2023 Thailand GC Summit took things up a notch, with 200 in-house lawyers attending the Hyatt Regency in Bangkok to hear from some of the best in the business on the legal and business issues that affect them. Providing expert commentary for this must-attend event were Baker McKenzie, Nishimura & Asahi and Thanatip and Partners. Also supporting the event was the newly-minted Thai Corporate Counsel Association, who provided speakers for an all-GC panel session. All this meant this years summit being even more practical and useful than last years.

Khun Wallaya Kaewrungruang, Chief legal and compliance officer at SCBX and one of the most distinguished GCs in Thailand, kicked things off by speaking about some of the challenges and opportunities presently facing in-house counsel across the region based upon her vast experience. From there, we moved on to the first panel session alongside Nishimura & Asahi. This session featured highly respected subject matter experts from SCL Nishimura & Asahi (Jirapong Sriwat, Christopher Osborne, Masaki Noda, James Rix and Apinya Sarntikasem) who shared insights on regulatory frameworks, risk mitigation strategies, and successful deal execution. Tailored for in-house lawyers in the country, the panel focused on the unique challenges posed by Thailand’s dynamic business landscape and regulatory framework while addressing concerns of complexity and volatility.

Dr Vincent Siaw, executive vice president of legal and international projects at Thoresen Group, then stole the show with an excellently received talk on career progression and goals for in-house lawyers. Leveraging all he has learned over a long and successful legal career, Dr Siaw spoke about the various options open to in-house lawyers past the point of becoming a general counsel. He made use of a very interesting live poll, which gave some interesting results that we will look to examine more in an article on The Legal 500 website in the future.

As artificial intelligence continues to intrigue the legal industry, the next topic, alongside Thanatip & Partners, explored how in-house legal teams in Thailand can effectively integrate AI technologies into their operations. The panel was a diverse and knowledgeable one. Kornjan Tangkrisanakajorn of Thanathip & Partners was joined by Asst. Prof. Dr. Peerapat Chokesuwattanaskul of consultancy firm VA Partners, Asst. Prof. Dr. Chanita Wongviriyawong of EATLAB, Jeff Ong of Tricor Vistra and James Evans of Linfox. A frank and full discussion ensued, addressing issues such as skill development, ethical considerations, and the impact on traditional legal workflows. The session was particularly interesting for the diversity of views on AI expressed; some being extremely impressed by what they have seen, others less so.

Baker McKenzie diligently prepared the next session on international dispute management, and had the big guns engaged to provide a full-spectrum analysis of prevailing trends. Managing partner for the Bangkok office Wynn Pakdeejit was on stage alongside Yada Yuwataepakorn of the host firm, Kawin (Kevin) Kanchanapairoj of Pandora Production Company and Kimberly-Clark Thailand’s Kanokrat Perngmark.

Our final session was a unique one, with an all-GC panel being organised alongside the Thai Corporate Counsel Association. This highly practical panel session provided insights into key challenges, developments, and strategies shaping the role of in-house lawyers in the country. The panel examined how the role of in-house lawyers evolved in response to the changing business landscapes and legal dynamics in Thailand, especially in light of the latest trends and regulatory developments affecting the legal landscape. On stage for this session were Sahachai Wibuloutai of PwC Mekong, Chitanong Poomipark of Dusit International, Rugeradh Tungsupakul of Lazada Thailand, Visitsak Arunsuratpakdee from True Corporation and Maprang Sombatthai of LINE Company Thailand.

We were thrilled at how well this event went, from the amount and calibre of attendees that we hosted, to the strength of speakers, the wide variety of relevant topics covered and the great conversations that came about during the post-event networking session, which continued long into the night! Many thanks to all of the law firms that partnered with us for the event, and especially to those that appeared on stage to share their wisdom with the audience. We have big plans for Thailand in 2024, and look forward to more great events like this one in the future.

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