HONG KONG HK

Big Four firm EY expands in Hong Kong

Kareena Teh, a former senior partner at Dechert, has joined EY’s Hong Kong member firm, LC Lawyers, along with two other associates, as the Big Four accounting firm expands its legal presence in the Asian hub.

Teh and the associates, Mok Ho-yin and Philip Kwok, focus on general corporate and commercial disputes, as well as regulatory and compliance matters and governance. Kwok joins LC Lawyers as counsel.

Teh, who spent five years at Dechert, earlier had an 11-year stint at Baker McKenzie, leaving as a partner. She previously worked as a barrister and solicitor in Christchurch, New Zealand.Back in May, LC Lawyers hired Rossana Chu from Troutman Sanders, after the U.S.-headquartered office exited Asia.

The Big Four accounting firms have been pushing into Asia in recent years, unsettling the market with their high-profile hires and quick expansion.

TOKYO

Tokyo – A City Guide for Lawyers and Legal Professionals

Tokyo, the capital of Japan is one of the largest, busiest and most populated metropolises in the world. This vibrant city is also called city of cities. You may think of it as several cities interlinked through an excellent public transport system. It also is a major commercial and financial hub of Japan.

Though Tokyo is called the “Most Livable City” in the world by the magazine Monocle and was ranked first in the 2017 Safe Cities Index, this massive city can be confusing for first timers.

So here is a quick guide to help any lawyers or legal professionals more effectively navigate Tokyo when they visit.

Getting Around Tokyo

From ultra speed bullet trains to bicycle on rent, Tokyo offers array of convenient choices for getting around. To save you from getting overwhelmed and confused with the available choices we have shortlisted the easiest way of getting around Tokyo.

Trains & Subway – Tokyo has the world’s best and most sophisticated railway system. It is the best way to get to any part of the city. HyperDia is a website where you can find possible routes to get to your destination, including the cost and the transfers involved.

Taxis – Taxis are excellent but considered expensive in Tokyo. They are however, a good option to avoid transfers while commuting from trains. You can always visit the nearest station to your destination and from there take a taxi.

Buses – Buses are not recommended to tourists but if you plan to travel to lesser known areas or would like to avoid the crowded train stations, Toei transportation will serve as a handy guide.

Prepaid Cards – While there are many prepaid cards available, including unlimited rides for day cards, Suica and Pasmo cards are the best prepaid cards that are valid on trains, subways, as well as buses.

Suica card can also be used at stores, kiosks, taxis and for pickup at the airport.

BicycleRenting a bike is a great way of exploring the city. They are available through membership plans as well.

Data SIM Card – A visitor SIM will help you stay connected with your loved ones. It needs to be ordered in advance and you can arrange for it to be delivered to you at the airport or the hotel.

Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping, and Entertainment

Tokyo is so massive that it’s impossible to explore the entire city in a short trip. Also, it’s easy to get lost so we recommend staying near the JR Yamanote line or any subway station for convenience. We have selected some of the best and attractive places for you to stay in Tokyo, near Yamanote line that offers the best of hotels, restaurants, shops and tourist attractions, all at a convenient walking distance.

Shinjuku

The Tokyo Station Area

Ginza/Hibiya

Shibuya

Roppongi and Akasaka

Other convenient locations include:

Nihombashi, Shinagawa, Hamamatsucho and Shiodome

Ebisu, Daikanyama and Meguro

Tokyo Legal Resources

Japan Bar Associations

Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), Chiyoda-Ku  – The JFBA, is an organization of mandatory membership and represents all attorneys in Japan.

Bar associations are established in each of the jurisdictions of the district courts, but the Tokyo area has traditionally had three bar associations. Attorneys that have a law firm in Tokyo become members of one of the following three Tokyo Local Bar Associations.

The Tokyo Bar Association

The Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association

The Dai-Ni Tokyo Bar Association

Lawyers qualified as foreign attorneys receive permission from the Minister of Justice and join a bar association as a foreign lawyer registered in Japan.

Inter Pacific Bar Association, Minato-ku, Tokyo – Established in April 1991, IPBA is an international association of business and commercial lawyers who live in, or have a strong interest in, the Asia-Pacific Region.

JCAA – The only permanent commercial arbitral institution in Japan, that contributes to the resolution of disputes arising from international and domestic business transactions

Roppongi Bar Association – Since its establishment in 1982, the RBA has served as a networking organization primarily consisting of foreign legal professionals located in Japan. It is a unique resource for those involved in the international legal community in Japan, or an interest in issues affecting the community.

Top Law Firms in Japan

The domestic market is dominated by the following four major Japanese firms:

  • Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
  • Nishimura & Asahi
  • Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Aisalaw has an exhaustive list of industry specific top lawyers of Japan.

Leading international firms include:

  • Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • White & Case

Tokyo is back on the  global law firm radar with the advent of international law firms like Mayer Brown, Debevoise & Plimpton and King & Spalding, in Japan, with outbound projects and M&A deals.

Japan was due to open an international arbitration body specializing in intellectual property in Tokyo in September, the first one in Asia designed to facilitate resolution of a growing number of patent disputes.

Legal Events in Japan

Follow Leaders in Law to get more news and updates on the latest and upcoming legal events in the Asia-Pacific legal markets.

HK PHOTO

Up to 40 staff may be leaving Reed Smith in HK

Denise Jong, the APAC managing partner of Reed Smith Richards Butler, has confirmed that up to 40 people could be leaving the firm soon, including partners, fee-earners and secretaries.

While the exact number is still up in the air, Jong confirmed to Leaders in Law that the firm is aware of the intentions of David Morrison and five other partners from the firm’s Hong Kong-based disputes team to join MinterEllison in January next year.

The other partners are believed to be William Barber, Alex Kaung, Eddy So, Nathan Dentice, and Desmond Yu. MinterEllison could not be reached for comment. In a media release supplied to ALB, Jong said that conflicts in any law firm “as large and complex as Reed Smith” are a fact of life.

“It is inevitable that, over time, certain representations taken by the firm pose issues for litigators whose clients might need to be adverse to an industry focus of the firm,” she said.

“Our Hong Kong office has a strong and diverse litigation group, as well as a leading corporate group in Hong Kong and Asia. Notwithstanding the departures, we will continue to have 20 partners and, in total, about 100 fee earners in our Hong Kong office, one of four offices in Asia.”

Bangkok – A City Guide for Lawyers and Legal Professionals

Bangkok, the capital and commercial hub of Thailand is an enigmatic city. From ancient temples, palaces, a floating market, a unique cultural experience to huge shopping malls, skyscrapers and a bustling nightlife — this city of contrasts has something to offer everyone. It also is the world’s second most visited city, behind only Hong Kong.

While the people of Bangkok are extremely hospitable and helpful, the city for first time travellers can be a little overwhelming.  So we have created a quick guide here to help lawyers and legal professionals effectively navigate Bangkok during their visits.

Getting Around Bangkok

Bangkok is huge and can be pretty confusing for visitors.  It is also notorious for its gridlock traffic but thankfully it has an excellent public transportation system which makes getting around the city convenient and easy.

BRT and MRT: BRT, also known as the sky train — and MRT, the underground train network — are one of the quickest and most convenient ways of getting around Bangkok.

Taxis: Unless you are travelling during the peak traffic hours, taxis are the most convenient, inexpensive and fastest way of getting around the city. You may also download Grab app (formerly Uber) to book a car or taxi from the airport or to get around the city.

Motorcycle taxi: If you are travelling solo and need to get somewhere within a kilometer, a motorcycle taxi is a quick and easy option. You can easily spot motorcycle drivers in orange, green or purple vests around BRT/MRT stations, shopping malls and tourist attractions.

Boats and Ferries: Getting on a river boat or ferry is a fun way of avoiding the city’s gridlock traffic. Bangkok has an extensive canal network with different types of boats offering a variety of services.

Bus: While a bus may not be your favorite way of getting around a city, it is the cheapest and the best way of exploring the real Bangkok. Make sure you get a BMTA map from the bus terminal before you take the bus.

Tuk Tuk: Bangkok’s iconic three wheeled rickshaw continues to be a tourists favorite. It is not a very convenient mode of transportation but worth the experience for first timers.  It is ideal to settle the price before getting in.

Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping and Entertainment

Bangkok offers a wide range of accommodation options from luxury hotels to serviced apartments. You just have to know the neighborhood you prefer to stay in.

It also offers an unforgettable shopping experience ranging from world class shopping malls to traditional Thai Markets where you can find virtually everything. From vintage and designer clothes and accessories to antiques and much more, you name it and you’ll find it here.

While most tourists use Bangkok as a stopover before they move to the picturesque islands nearby, it is a city worth exploring. Here are some of the places you must visit before you decide to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Arun

Floating Markets

Chatuchak Market

Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World: The Aquatic Wonderland

Thailand Legal Resources

Thailand’s legal system is based on a civil law system. It has its base in ancient Hindu Code of Manu but is largely influenced by the legal systems of European countries — mainly France and Germany. The Thai legal authorities also took input from Japanese, English and American legal scholars at the time of drafting the civil and commercial code.

The first Bar Association in Thailand was formed in 1914.

Foreign legal professionals are not allowed to practice law in Thailand but they can work as consultants.

Top Law Firms in Thailand

Listed below are few of the top law firms of Thailand.

Linklaters

Pisut and Partners Co., Ltd.

LawAlliance Limited

Dej-Udom & Associates Attorneys-At-Law

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Jaiyos Advisory Co., Ltd.

Legal Events in Bangkok

Follow Leaders in Law to get more news and updates on the latest and upcoming legal events in the Asia-Pacific legal markets.

Article by Mamta Rathore 

Pillsbury Adds China-Focused Litigation Partner in New York

As bilateral hostilities between the world’s two largest economies persists, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has recruited a litigation partner in New York who focuses on China-related disputes.

Geoffrey Sant joins from Dorsey & Whitney, where he was a New York partner in the firm’s trial department. Sant mostly helps Chinese companies and executives defend securities class actions and other commercial and employment claims before U.S. courts.

Sant will be a partner in Pillsbury’s New York office and spend “a substantial amount of time in Asia.” Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he will primarily work out of the firm’s Beijing office and also spend time in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei.

He joined Dorsey & Whitney in 2012 after spending four years with Morrison & Foerster; he became a partner at Dorsey in 2016.

The hire comes at a time when the United States and China are in an escalating battle over trade issues. Multiple rounds of high-level negotiations have taken place, but little progress has been made. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is tightening scrutiny of Chinese companies and individuals on the cybersecurity and intellectual property fronts.

Last week, the Department of Justice indicted a group of Chinese government officials for alleged trade secret theft. Also last week, the Department of Commerce banned all exports to Chinese semiconductor maker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. Ltd. amid intellectual property theft allegations.

Deborah Baum, Pillsbury’s Washington, D.C.-based litigation practice leader, said Sant’s ability to collaborate with Chinese clients and understand complex Chinese laws and documents will help serve the firm’s clients well.

In August, Pillsbury opened an intellectual property-focused Taipei office with trial lawyer Christopher Kao and patent specialist David Tsai. In 2016, it launched a Hong Kong office, led by former Clyde & Co global aviation finance head Paul Jebely, primarily focusing on commercial aircraft and private jets financing work. Sant said the financial services and aviation sectors—focuses for Pillsbury in Asia—are also rapidly expanding aspects of his practice.

The firm’s Beijing office, led by former Paul Hastings partner David Livdahl, was opened in 2014. The Shanghai office, led by IP litigation partner Jack Ko, was launched in 2006.

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APT Legal to open new offices across India

New Delhi-based APT Legal, will be opening new offices in Mumbai, Jaipur, Allahabad (Prayagraj) and Patna. Having started out as Chamber Practice, APT Legal has been representing clients both in the private sector and public sector, pan-India.

The firm handles litigations before the Supreme Court, high courts and appellate tribunals. The firm’s partners focus on practices including mining and metal, arbitration, civil, corporate, and commercial laws. It also advises on insolvency and bankruptcy, white collar crime, competition, energy, environment and forest laws and telecom regulations, among others.

APT Legal’s Delhi office has two partners supported by 10 Associates while the Mumbai, Jaipur, Allahabad and Patna offices will be led each by a partner along with three associates.

Macau firm plots regional Greater Bay Area coverage

MdME Lawyers has made history as the first Macau law firm established in Hong Kong following approval from Hong Kong’s Law Society to register as a foreign firm and practice Macau law in Hong Kong.

MdME, which made the announcement on the same day the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge was opened to the public, bills itself as bridging the gap between the two legal markets by focusing on opportunities that span both markets.

Founded in 2006, with over 25 fee-earners, the full-service firm has represented large corporations operating in Macau across sectors such as finance, gaming, real estate, energy, construction, infrastructure, pharma and telecom.

Gonçalo Mendes da Maia, founding and Managing Partner of MdME said the new Hong Kong office would help the firm achieve its goal to become “a truly regional firm in the Greater Bay Area”.

HongKong1

Int’l law firms clash with HK Law Society

Partners from 15 international law firms in Hong Kong have drafted a letter expressing their concerns over proposed rules from the Law Society that would curtail employment opportunities for foreign lawyers in Hong Kong, and tighten up so-called “loopholes” in the city’s legal market.

The South China Morning Post first broke the story, revealing that the Law Society had sent a letter to consulting firms in early October proposing fresh restrictions on lawyers who qualified outside Hong Kong. Under the new guidelines, they would only be able to offer legal advice on cases that involved the jurisdictions they were registered in. Hong Kong law firms would also have to employ two local lawyers for one foreign lawyer, up from a ratio of one to one.

Hong Kong-based partners from international law firms, including Linklaters, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Latham & Watkins, Paul Hastings, Kirkland & Ellis, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, were among those who signed the joint letter to Melissa Kaye Pang, president of the Law Society, voicing their concerns about the changes. While foreign lawyers are currently prohibited from directly handling Hong Kong cases, law firms based in the special administrative region reportedly sidestep this by employing such lawyers in cases that include foreign elements, and having a local lawyer sign the legal recommendation. This may allow them to avoid being named a “practicing” lawyer, as they are technically only serving in an advisory role.

One of the issues raised following the announcement by the Law Society has been the question of what defines foreign or local lawyers, as one source told SCMP that many “foreign” lawyers in Hong Kong are citizens who have studied law overseas.  Since the story broke, the Law Society has extended the consultation period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.

Withers Recruits Disputes Partners in Hong Kong, Singapore

Soo Khim Keoy and two associates join the Hong Kong office from Baker McKenzie, while Amarjit Kaur joins Withers KhattarWong in Singapore from Morgan Lewis Stamford.

 

Withers has hired dispute resolution partners in Hong Kong and Singapore, hiring them away from Baker McKenzie and Morgan Lewis.

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Ex-regulator launches Japanese antitrust boutique

Tsuyoshi Ikeda, a former investigator for Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), has left Japanese Big Four law firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto to start an antitrust and consumer protection boutique called Ikeda & Someya.

During his time at the JFTC, Ikeda participated in around 20 dawn raids, prepared the implementation of the leniency system and investigated a case involving standard-essential patents.

At Mori Hamada, where Ikeda was a counsel, he worked on cartel, merger review, and other types of antitrust/competition cases. Earlier, he was an associate attorney at Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners.