After a long and highly unfortunate pandemic-related hiatus, on behalf of everyone at The Legal 500 I am delighted, honoured and excited in equal measure to welcome you to this latest edition of our Southeast Asia GC Powerlist. This will mark the first time that The Legal 500 has journeyed to Southeast Asia since the start of the pandemic, and what better way to mark our return than with the launch of the local edition of our premier title dedicated to highlighting the very best in-house lawyers around the world – the GC Powerlist.
It was a pleasure to lead the research for this project which has always been one of my favourite GC Powerlist editions to work on, for the diversity and variety of the countries involved and the enthusiasm of the lawyers we speak to but, first and foremost, because of the excellent and innovative work that we hear about every time we research for a Southeast Asia GC Powerlist.
Dr Vincent Siaw, executive vice president of legal and international projects at Thoresen Group in Thailand, provided a thought-provoking essay for inclusion in this year’s list which is well worth reading. In it, he lays out his conception of in-house lawyers as the ‘sword and shield of their organisations’. His words effectively sum up the changing role of corporate counsel in the modern day:
‘The traditional general counsel role remains a noble one, as it is connected to the greater good of the entire corporation; the shield prevents the corporation from being a target and fulfills one of the fundamental corporate governance duties of protecting the interests of the corporation and its stakeholders. There is a growing paradigm shift in corporations’ general counsel role, from being a passive response function into a proactive one. If you are a general counsel aspiring to pick up the “sword” in your corporation and move to the front line, there are steps you can take to get there.’ For stories from those who have been able to take the front line for their organisations, and how they were able to do this, read on to the interviews within.
A huge thank you to everyone who spoke to us as part of The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia 2022 and to our sponsors Jones Day, Indus Law, Mohanadass Partnership, Frasers Law Company and Kudun & Partners for making this all possible. To those of you who were successful in making this year’s list: congratulations from myself and the rest of the GC Powerlist Research Team. You are part of an elite group of the most trusted, effective and innovative in-house lawyers globally.
Joe Boswell| Head of research
Frasers is delighted to congratulate all of the nominees for this year’s GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia 2022. This is a well-deserved recognition of all your hard work and achievements over the past year.
Having worked with many in-house counsels over the decades, we understand how challenging the demands on legal teams have become, as businesses strive towards recovery and growth in an increasingly challenging global economy. Opportunities in Southeast Asia remain abundant and exciting, but require legal teams to be acutely aware of all potential risks and manage these to enable optimal commercial decision-making. Frasers appreciates the need for close partnership between in-house and external counsel in exploring new opportunities. Delivering the best quality advice and support remain our standard as we continue to work alongside in-house legal teams.
We are proud to be the premiere advisors of international firms growing their businesses in Vietnam, and also to Vietnamese firms exploring opportunities overseas. Our team’s intimate understanding of Vietnam’s rapidly changing regulatory framework, coupled with extensive knowledge of the local business climate, enables us to act as strategic partners to our clients. By leveraging this expertise, we are able to provide innovative, responsive, and state-of-the-art legal solutions. We differentiate ourselves by not only ensuring compliance with Vietnamese laws and regulations, but also ensuring transactions are structured and documented to best protect the interests of our clients.
We look forward to another year of success working in close partnership with our clients and are proud to support the GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia 2022.
INDUSLAW expresses its heartiest congratulations to the winners of The Legal 500 GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia.
In the ever-evolving business ecosystem of today, general counsels are faced with several challenges which require them to don multiple hats including those of the gatekeeper, compliance champion, strategist, defender and guardian of the conscience. INDUSLAW salutes your accomplishments, and recognises the kind of rigour, excellence and quality each of you demonstrate in your respective roles. INDUSLAW is also pleased to have this opportunity to honour the distinguished GCs recognised in the coveted Legal 500 GC Powerlist of 2022. We are proud to promote the ‘Thought Leadership’ and the resilience of the leaders in you.
INDUSLAW is a top-tier full service Indian law firm, the 7th largest* in India, providing legal services to a wide range of international and domestic clients across a variety of sectors on legal issues relating to their business, strategy, litigation and transactional goals. With over 400 lawyers including more than 60 partners spread across Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad & Mumbai, INDUSLAW has been fortunate to partner with and contribute significantly to many established businesses and new economy companies. Our multi-disciplinary teams work across offices to provide seamless and focused advice and to assist clients in taking informed decisions and reaching effective outcomes.
The firm and its lawyers have been consistently recognised across practice areas, by all leading legal and industry specific publications (including the following accolades):
On behalf of Jones Day, we extend our congratulations to each of the counsel included in the GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia 2022. We have had the pleasure of working with many of you, and are familiar with the invaluable role that in-house counsel play in any successful transaction. Your selection into this powerlist is a well-deserved acknowledgement of your hard work and commitment to the field, and we are truly pleased to see you recognised among the most influential and innovative lawyers in the region.
Businesses in Southeast Asia face a variety of challenges. Legal and regulatory regimes are constantly evolving across the multiple jurisdictions and diverse legal systems in the region. Covid-19, advances in technology, enhanced compliance obligations, competing stakeholder interests and increasing political risk dynamics, all contribute to a complex and changing economic, corporate and regulatory landscape. The challenges faced by general counsel have evolved and become increasingly complex in these uncertain times. The business demand for experienced in-house advisors and legal teams has never been greater.
At Jones Day, we understand the challenges, unique cultures, and ways of doing business in the different South and Southeast Asian nations. Our Singapore office, which opened in 2001, is an ideal base from which our multilingual team supports our clients across the region. The majority of our partners have been living and working in the region for most of their careers. In recognition of our long-standing commitment to Singapore and deep experience in key practice areas, we are one of only a few firms awarded a QFLP licence to practice Singapore law in permitted areas (primarily commercial, corporate and finance).
Importantly, our Singapore office is a fully integrated part of a global law firm serving clients as One Firm Worldwide. Jones Day has more than 2,500 lawyers in 42 offices spread across five continents. Our ‘One Firm Worldwide’ philosophy fosters the creation of inter-office and cross-practice teams, enabling us to commit all of our firm’s resources to each of our clients and to put client interests above all else. Recognising this, the firm has been ranked No. 1 in the BTI Consulting Group’s 2022 ‘Client Service A-Team’ report for the sixth year running and awarded ‘Best of the Best’ status for superior client service.
Everyone at Jones Day greatly appreciates our clients recognising the commitment and quality of service we provide to them. We strongly believe that the in-house teams at our clients should also receive recognition for their efforts and achievements. We are proud to support the GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia 2022 and look forward to another year of success working in close partnership with our clients.
All of us at Kudun & Partners, Bangkok’s fastest growing, innovative law firm, extend a hearty congratulations to this year’s winners of the GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia 2022. We are well aware of the amount of hard work and sheer effort that it takes to achieve such distinction, and we celebrate your success as you strive forward.
Several of our attorneys have worked in-house, and as a result we are aware of the special demands placed upon in-house attorneys and the pressures that you confront each day.
Kudun & Partners was established in early 2015 by passionate lawyers who were emboldened by a vision to change the traditional working relationship that law firms have with their clients and thereby create a vibrant new practice. We treat our team members and clients as family, respecting each person’s unique talents and capabilities. Our partners bring with them deep expertise and respect in the Thai legal community. The unique combination of varied experience and close cooperation among the partners brings a depth not typically found amongst most Thai law firms.
Our key practice areas include capital markets, corporate M&As, dispute resolution/litigation and international arbitration, tax and restructuring, project financing, FDI and investment-related laws including permits and licensing, real estate, infrastructure funds and REITs. We have dedicated foreign practices; China and Japan to cater to the burgeoning investments into Thailand.
We have broad experience across a spectrum of industries including most specifically renewable energy projects, oil and gas, financial services, real estate, hotel and resorts, TMT (technology, media and telecoms), digital assets platforms, and manufacturing/industrials.
As the Thai sponsor firm for the GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia 2022, we strive each and every day to reflect the unique values that guide Thailand and to deliver quality legal services with a distinctive Thai flavour.
Once again, our sincere congratulations on your accomplishment and our best wishes for your continued success.
My partners and I congratulate you on your selection to this year’s powerlist. It is wonderful that we have weathered the challenges of the last few years and are now able to meet again in person to celebrate this event.
Having worked with some of you in high intensity settings, I am all too familiar with the invaluable role that GCs play in any successful litigation or transaction. Speaking as a dispute resolution practitioner, the pace and demands of international litigation has become such that it is the effective GC who plays the pivotal role in running a successful case.
Your selection to this powerlist sets you apart from the field, and is a deserving recognition of the hard work, commitment and impressive legal skills that each of you epitomises. We are indeed pleased for you and also pleased that we have partnered with you to deliver dispute resolution success.
Our focus as a boutique practise specialising in commercial and construction arbitration has taken us to leading arbitral fora all over the world. At home, in Malaysia, we frequently appear in the courts and are regulars at the AIAC acting in high value claims. Recent involvement in investment treaty disputes is also a notable addition to our experience and skill-set.
Like each of you, my partners and I are committed to excellence and believe very strongly that we must constantly challenge ourselves. Indeed, a fighting spirit and thinking out of the box are vital to successful outcomes, and qualities which our practise seeks to inculcate in each of our lawyers.
My best wishes to you all and hope that this recognition spurs you to take on new challenges and enriching careers. Enjoy your evening!
The Legal 500 journeyed to the Lion City to launch the 2022 edition of the Southeast Asia GC Powerlist at the grand and historic Raffles Hotel. Among the almost 140 attendees on the evening were the cream of the crop of regional legal luminaries; the most respected, well-known and highly regarded in-house lawyers that Southeast Asia has to offer. Joining the celebrations from The Legal 500 side were Ben Lovell global business development manager and GC Powerlist chief editor Joe Boswell.
After networking drinks and canapes, guests settled in for the keynote speeches: first Joe Boswell, then Zac Sharpe, partner at Jones Day who spoke to the unique characteristics of Southeast Asia and the in-house lawyers who operate there. Finally, Miscen Desiderio-Dime, managing director of legal, compliance and regulatory affairs at Accenture Philippines spoke on behalf of the other in-house lawyers in attendance. In a charming, funny and moving speech, she spoke of how she got into law and what being a lawyer, particularly an in-house one, means to her.
Of the evening, Miscen Desiderio-Dime said: ‘I had a fantastic evening meeting the best and brightest lawyers in Southeast Asia at the Legal 500 GC Powerlist. Thank you Legal 500 for this honor and allowing me the pleasure of delivering the keynote address.’
Kristian Nico Acosta, legal manager of Golden ABC said: ‘The Legal 500 is often regarded as the Oscars and Michelin of the legal profession. But the esteemed publication is more than recognizing law practice prestige and prominence. It is actually a platform to inspire and encourage other lawyers to follow the footsteps of their colleagues who have been instrumental in changing or forming opinions within their industry.’
Maree Myerscough, chief operating officer and general counsel Asia Pacific for Aquila Capital, said: ‘We were treated to a wonderful reception at Raffles Hotel Singapore and hosted by Ben Lovell and Joseph Boswell, who along with Zachary Sharpe and Millicent Joie Desiderio-Dime brought lots of great energy to the event. It was especially nice to reconnect with GCs from around SE Asia who had flown in for the event (hooray for regional events again!) and celebrate with Singapore-based peers who were also acknowledged including Lily Tsen, Terry D. Thornley, Hazmi Hisyam, Lukáš Zapletal, Carlos Estrada, Nick Fell, Adam Emilianou, April Raimundo and Hwee Ping Chua and Benita Lee. Congratulations to all!’