PRESENTATION SPONSORS PROUDLY PRESENTED BY OVERVIEW Asian Legal Business is proud to present the ALB Vietnam In-house Legal Summit 2024 happening this 26th September in Ho Chi Minh City. Brace yourself for a remarkable lineup of industry experts and in-house legal professionals as they discuss the latest regulatory reforms, legal trends and current priorities for general counsel this year. Join us for another year of impeccable content and great networking. TOPIC HIGHLIGHTS Unveiling The New Law on Protection of Consumers’ Rights 2023 • Decoding Decree No.13: Highlights on Personal Data Protection • The ESG Essentials: ‘Ambition to Action’ • How 2024 is shaping up for M&As? • Insights into Law on Electronic Transactions 2023 (‘’New Law’’) • Compliance in Spotlight – Navigating the Next Wave • International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Dynamics for 2024 • AI Excellence: Paving the Way to the Smart Future • Strategic Insights: ’A Success Formula’ for Modern GCs *Topics are subject to change 26 SEPTEMBER - HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM ALB VIETNAM IN-HOUSE LEGAL SUMMIT 2024 FOR SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES, YOU MAY REACH OUT TO: Amantha Chia / (+65) 69738258 FOR SPEAKING AND PROGRAM INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT: Amruta Manjrekar / (+91) 977 3438471 PROUDLY PRESENTED BY SPONSOR Create meaningful connections with senior in-house decision makers at this year’s ALB Japan In-House Legal Summit on 18 April 2024. To be held in Tokyo, the event will cover updates, usable takeaways, and real-life examples to help GCs tackle pressing legal issues facing their companies today. AGENDA AT A GLANCE Responsible AI For the Japanese GCs • The State of Japanese Data Privacy • New Dawn for Japanese M&A • What You Need to Know About Japan’s New Arbitration and Mediation Act • Legal Chief’s Role in M&A Deals • AI Matters - Questions of Ownership Insight • Legal Crisis Management: A GC’s Role in Retrospect • New Ways of Working: General Counsel of the Future *Please note that the agenda is subject to change Complimentary passes are available exclusively to in-house counsels and general counsels from corporations only. All confirmed participants will be notified via email. ALB reserves the right to cancel any registrations at any time if they do not meet the profile stated above. Representatives from law firms and legal service providers are welcome to contact our sponsorship team. 18 APRIL - TOKYO, JAPAN FOR MORE INFORMATION, KINDLY VISIT ALB JAPAN IN-HOUSE LEGAL SUMMIT 2024 FOR PROGRAM AND SPEAKING ENQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT Marianne Tocmo TO REGISTER FOR THE ALB JAPAN IN-HOUSE LEGAL SUMMIT 2024, PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW: Complimentary passes are available exclusively to in-house counsels and general counsels from corporations only. All confirmed participants will be notified via email. ALB reserves the right to cancel any registrations at any time if they do not meet the profile stated above. Representatives from law firms and legal service providers are welcome to contact our sponsorship team. FOR THE SPEAKER DETAILS AND OTHER EVENT UPDATES, SEE THE EVENT WEBSITE BELOW:

1 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM COVER STORY 16 ALB Asia Super 50 TMT Lawyers 2024 ALB showcases the top lawyers in the region’s fastgrowing technology, media, and telecommunications practices. By Asian Legal Business FEATURES 14 A sustainable future Strong government intervention and a willing market is turning Hong Kong into a global sustainable finance hub, but it is far from reaching its full potential. 20 Asia’s new power couple Increased economic activity between India and Japan is creating new work for lawyers in both countries, but there is still a long way to go to facilitate cross-border legal market growth and expansion. 24 Green push Thailand is on a quest to decarbonise its gas-heavy power grid. The Thai government has also penned the National Energy Plan to steer the country to a greener future. However, while there are sectors that are poised to benefit, there are also potential pitfalls during the energy transition journey. Plus: - Chandler MHM 26 ALB Top 15 Southeast Asia Litigators 2024 This year’s ranking, featuring exceptional lawyers from seven countries, shines a light on this impressive pool of talents. Plus: - Drew & Napier - YKVN 30 Onwards, upwards, forwards There has been a continued rise in prominence of the role of chief diversity officers in law firms globally as the legal industry has gradually taken stock of the need to pursue DEI goals. Apart from creating a forward-looking workplace, cultural awareness also adds value to the firm’s calibre in the eyes of clients. ALB hears from diversity leaders on how empowering inclusion can make a law firm stronger. 34 Pivot to Asia The Middle East’s economic ties with emerging Asian economies is on the rise as M&A and sovereign investments between the regions drive growth. However, Asian law firms and lawyers are struggling to compete in an overcrowded legal market. 38 From risk to opportunity In the face of expanding regulatory landscapes and mounting pressures, legal and compliance professionals are aiming for a “businessoriented mindset, emphasizing not just adherence to regulations but alignment with unique business situations. BRI EFS 3 The Briefing 4 Forum 7 Q&A 8 Explainer 9 Deals 10 Appointments Plus: - LHBM Counsel CONTENTS 24 Green push REUTERS/Prapan Chankaew

2 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM Asian Legal Business is available by subscription. Please visit for details. Asian Legal Business has an audited average circulation of 11,402 as of 30 September 2016.Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as Asian Legal Business can accept no responsibility for loss. MCI (P) 004/02/2024 issn 0219 – 6875 KDN PPS 1867/10/2015(025605) Thomson Reuters Alice @ Mediapolis, 29 Media Circle, #09-05, Singapore 138565 / T (65) 6775 5088 10/F, Cityplaza 3, Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong / T (852) 3762 3269 BRIDGING THE GULF As you peruse through this issue of Asian Legal Business – which includes our Top 15 SE Asia Litigators ranking and our Super 50 TMT list, along with a number of fine features – I would direct your attention to the Middle East Focus section that we are launching here. While ALB has had events and awards in the Middle East, our editorial coverage has been less focused. But that is about to change. We’re starting with a four-page section in this issue, but our plans are bigger: Expect to see not just expanded print coverage, but also more online content in the form of news stories and videos, and a dedicated newsletter further down the road. Please do get in touch with myself and my team if you would like to be a part of this coverage; in-house counsel are especially welcome. The reason for this initiative is very obvious: Ties between the Middle East and Asia, particularly Asia’s fast-growing developing economies, have been strengthening significantly of late. A report released late last year by Asia House, an independent think tank, found that there had been a “remarkable surge” in trade between GCC countries and what it calls the “Emerging Asia” list of 34 Asian nations, including China, India, and most ASEAN members. Trade between the two sets of countries grew by 34.7 percent from $383 billion in 2021 to $516 billion in 2022, significantly faster than projections, and could reach approximately $757 billion by 2030. The legal work being generated through this corridor is not insignificant, and we hope to be able to bring key news and analysis related to it going forward. RANAJIT DAM Managing Editor, Asian Legal Business, Thomson Reuters HEAD OF LEGAL MEDIA BUSINESS, ASIA & EMERGING MARKETS Amantha Chia MANAGING EDITOR Ranajit Dam ASIA JOURNALIST Sarah Wong ASIA WRITER Nimitt Dixit RANKINGS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR Wang Bingqing COPY & WEB EDITOR Rowena Muniz SENIOR DESIGNER John Agra TRAFFIC/CIRCULATION MANAGER Rozidah Jambari SALES MANAGERS Hiroshi Kaneko Japan, Korea (81) 3 4520 1192 Jonathan Yap Indonesia, Singapore (65) 6973 8914 Krupa Dalal India, Middle East, Singapore (91) 22 6189 7087 Romulus Tham Southeast Asia (65) 6973 8248 Simon Wan Hong Kong (852) 3462 7730 Steffi Yang South and West China (86) 010 5669 2041 Steven Zhao China Key Accounts (86) 10 6627 1360 Yvonne Cheung China Key Accounts, Hong Kong and Korea (852) 2847 2003 SENIOR EVENTS MANAGER Julian Chiew SENIOR EVENTS MANAGER, AWARDS Tracy Li

3 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM THE BRIEFING: YOUR MONTHLY NEED-TO-KNOW BAKER MCKENZIE MUST Percentage of U.S. corporate law departments and law firms demanding an increase in human expertise before they are willing to utilize GenAI, according to a survey by Consilio. (Reuters) Baker McKenzie must face a lawsuit in the United States over alleged legal malpractice committed by lawyers in its former Russian office, an Illinois appeals court has ruled. The state’s 1st District Appellate Court said in February that plaintiff Lehram Capital Investments had presented enough evidence to establish “the legal unity of liability” of Baker & McKenzie’s overseas and U.S. branches. The Chicago-founded firm, which says it employs 4,800 lawyers globally, had argued that it is structured so that its Russia branch was a completely separate entity from its U.S. counterpart. It had sought to move the case first to Moscow and then to London following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the appeals court refused, ruling that the case can proceed, at least for now, in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago. It cited in part Baker & McKenzie’s code of business conduct, which states, “We are one firm. What one of us does, all of us do.” The case stems from U.K.- based Lehram’s purchase of a coal mine in Kemerovo, Russia, in 2013. 63 PERCENT FACE U.S. LAWSUIT OVER RUSSIAN LAWYERS’ CONDUCT IN THE NEWS Clifford Chance has enhanced its generative AI use after implementing Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Viva Suite across its offices, becoming one of the first large global law firms to do so. This follows the previous rollout of its proprietary AI tool Clifford Chance Assist last year. “BASICALLY: BUFFALO IS BUSTED.” QUOTE UNQUOTE Bursa Malaysia, Indonesia’s IDX, Thailand’s SET, and Singapore’s SGX have come together to form the ASEAN-Interconnected Sustainability Ecosystem. This initiative aims to enhance sustainable development by implementing common ESG metrics. Part of a message sent in 2019 by Wee Hong Shern to Ong Peng Boon, directors at Singapore’s Ong & Co, which related to contraband cigarettes. They were recently found guilty of attempting to obstruct the course of justice. IN THE NEWS (Reuters) China Evergrande’s liquidators have hired three law firms to advise on the troubled property giant’s winding-up process, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Global firm Clifford Chance and Hong Kong firms Tanner De Witt and Karas So were mandated recently to provide legal advice on the liquidation, which has been under way for about six weeks, the people added. Alvarez and Marsal (A&M) Managing Directors Tiffany Wong and Eddie Middleton were appointed liquidators by a Hong Kong judge on Jan. 29, bringing an end to more than 18 months of negotiations between the firm and offshore bondholders. The Guangzhoubased firm was considered the world’s most indebted developer with more than $300 billion of total liabilities both onshore and offshore. But Evergrande was ordered to be liquidated after it had been unable to offer a concrete restructuring plan for more than two years. CHINA EVERGRANDE LIQUIDATORS APPOINT LEGAL ADVISERS, SOURCES SAY Proportion of U.S. law firm leaders who feel that their teams are managed effectively in a hybrid format, according to a CBRE survey, which found only 11 percent do not support hybrid working. 70%

4 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS ANNIE TSOI, partner, Deacons In today’s competitive legal landscape, cultivating strong relationships with clients is crucial for sustaining long-term success and growth. Clients expect smooth working relationships with lawyers at all levels. To achieve this, we are very aware of the importance of developing and honing our junior lawyers’ client-facing abilities. At Deacons, we have a comprehensive and structured training program under Deacons Academy, which aims to provide our lawyers with practical skills training. Taking a modular approach, Deacons Academy offers different levels of training to build confidence and develop skills across five main pillars of attributes, namely People Engagement, Business Development, Commercial Acumen, Personal Qualities and Risk Management. These programs comprise workshops, seminars, and interactive sessions that focus on communication, negotiation, relationship building, and client service. We also have a special program for our trainee solicitors who may, quite understandably, find it culturally challenging moving from college to work. For trainees and junior lawyers, we focus more on developing effective communication skills; both internally and externally. One of the most popular training sessions is networking skills in a cocktail reception setting. We all recognise that walking into a room where there is a sea of new faces can be very intimidating. In the classroom session, we offer ways to start or join a conversation and politely leave one. This is followed by a real cocktail reception where participants are encouraged to invite one of their friends or contacts to attend so that they can practice what they have learnt in the classroom in a relatively safe and comfortable environment. Another popular session is on personal branding, focusing on making a good first impression. In this session, participants learn how to apply their knowledge of appropriate appearance and grooming, posture, body language and attitude in creating impactful first impressions in professional settings. Other sessions, such as impactful advising skills, managing emotions, and effective influencing, were also very well received. Providing exposure and opportunities for junior lawyers to engage directly with clients is crucial for their professional development. Encouraging and empowering junior lawyers to attend client meetings, participate in negotiations, and handle client communications under appropriate levels of supervision can help them gain practical experience and build rapport with clients. These hands-on approaches allow junior lawyers to learn by doing and gradually build their client-facing capabilities. Finally, fostering a culture of timely feedback and continuous improvement is essential in helping junior lawyers refine their client-facing skills. We have regular feedback mechanisms, such as performance reviews, to gauge progress and identify areas for improvement. Constructive feedback and guidance from supervisors and clients enable junior lawyers to learn from and reflect on their experiences and enhance their client relationship capabilities. ANDREW KOON, co-chair of NextGen Hong Kong Chapter, Mayer Brown The younger generation of lawyers is more techsavvy and comfortable with the use of technology in the workplace, including but not limited to the use of software to participate in virtual meetings and to communicate with others using applications on mobile devices. The use of such technology has brought immense convenience to lawyers in the workplace, but it has also brought certain shortcomings, such as reduced opportunities to develop professional networking skills. FORUM SOCIALLY SKILLED Owing to the pandemic and today’s unprecedented connectedness, young workers are undergoing a home-working revolution that is reshaping workplace dynamics. However, it’s also feared that these younger lawyers might fall short in acquiring the social skills essential in cultivating client relationships. Law firm talent leaders share how to nurture a new generation of technically and socially capable lawyers in the age of digitalisation. WHAT MEASURES HAS YOUR FIRM BEEN TAKING TO DEVELOP JUNIOR LAWYERS’ CLIENT-FACING SKILLS BESIDES TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE? ANNIE TSOI ANDREW KOON STEFANIE YUEN THIO

5 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS Mayer Brown introduced NextGen Hong Kong in 2021 to provide a platform for our next generation of lawyers to strengthen professional relationships and network with rising leaders across a range of industries. With various events organised throughout the year, covering a wide range of training and workshops, social and speaker events, such a platform not only allows our junior lawyers to network with their peers and clients, but, more importantly, gives them the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their clients, cross-sell their legal capabilities, explore and challenge their way of thinking, and better understand the developments in technology and global shifts that will shape the future of business in a less pressured environment. In addition to our commitment to developing our future leaders through our NextGen platform, our firm’s Learning and Development department regularly organises internal workshops, providing another channel for our junior lawyers to develop their interpersonal and client-facing skills. STEFANIE YUEN THIO, joint managing partner, TSMP Law Corporation TSMP prides itself on personalised services in providing very targeted solutions to complex problems. In addition to top legal brains, our lawyers must be able to engage effectively with clients and other counsel. Training at TSMP covers both domain subjects and softer skills. Trainee solicitors are mentored by senior lawyers and partners who expose them to legal and client-facing work. We have a specially tailored equipping course for junior lawyers. For instance, they are exposed to personal branding training, where they learn about their own communication styles and how to conduct themselves professionally. We try to keep it real, and our partners gamely filmed a cheeky video demonstrating poor table manners as part of our training materials. Even young associates are encouraged to attend clientfacing networking events and are brought along for overseas marketing trips. TSMP also cares deeply about diversity and has strong and active female mentorship circles, where young women lawyers can obtain insights and guidance on their work-life journey. All this is part of the collegiate culture at TSMP, where we aim to develop well-rounded lawyers and equip them with social skills that they can take with them throughout their careers. (Reuters) Partners in the Middle East, Europe and New York were named recently as the first leaders of international law firm A&O Shearman, which is set to debut this spring when legacy firms Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling finalise their planned merger. Allen & Overy partner Khalid Garousha in Abu Dhabi was elected as senior partner of A&O Shearman effective May 1, the firms said. Paris-based Hervé Ekué, also from Allen & Overy, was elected managing partner. The new leaders will step up at a pivotal moment for London-founded Allen & Overy and New York-founded Shearman, which said May is the target for completing the merger. The deal, first announced in May 2023, is poised to create a firm with more than 3,900 lawyers across 48 offices. New York-based Adam Hakki, who is currently Shearman’s senior partner, has been appointed co-chair of the global A&O Shearman board and executive committee, the firms said. Hakki will also be chair of the firm’s U.S. business. Doreen Lilienfeld, Shearman’s global managing partner who practices in New York and Menlo Park, California, will serve as co-managing partner of the combined firm’s U.S. business. Both Hakki and Lilienfeld will continue to represent clients, the firms said. The deal gives Shearman, one of New York oldest and most prominent law firms, broader scale internationally, particularly after the firm saw a wave of departures in 2022 and early 2023. The merger will give Allen & Overy greater scale in the United States, especially in New York, where London-founded firms have long sought growth. Garousha has served as interim global managing partner of Allen & Overy since September. He will take over as senior partner from Wim Dejonghe, who has served in the top spot since 2016. Garousha has also been the firm’s regional managing partner for the Middle East and Turkey, while Ekué is currently managing partner in Paris. Allen & Overy held elections in February for the senior leadership positions. There were three Allen & Overy partners in the running for the senior partner role, and five that were vying to be managing partner, the firm previously said. Shearman lawyers were not in the running for the top roles. A&O, SHEARMAN PARTNERS PICKED TO LEAD MERGED LAW FIRM

6 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS On Valentine’s Day, Indonesians went to the polls during the world’s largest single-day election, and decided that their former defence chief should be their next president. Although the official results have not been finalised yet, the usually reliant quick polls have given a strong mandate to Prabowo Subianto, scrapping the need for a run-off. Prabowo is a retired army general who decided to run for the office of president with the backing of Joko Widodo (Jokowi), the highly popular incumbent; indeed, Jokowi’s son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, is Prabowo’s vice-presidential candidate. On the campaign trail, Prabowo had vowed to extend the policies and programmes of the Jokowi administration, and to grow Indonesia’s economy aggressively, and lawyers, too, are expecting a continuity in governance that will provide them the blueprint they need to assist their clients better. “We expect that businesses will continue to grow their operations and investments in the strategic sectors that the (Widodo) government has been focusing on, namely, renewables, energy transition, sustainability, EV supply chain, telecommunication and technology, logistics and transportation,” says Mita Guritno, managing partner of HHP Law Firm, member firm of Baker McKenzie in Indonesia. She underlines healthcare, hospital services and pharmaceuticals as areas that corporates and their law firms should pay close attention to because “improving the quality of healthcare services and reducing dependency on imported drugs” is high on the government’s agenda, she says. Lawyers at Hogan Lovells DNFP concur. “Indonesia also permits unrestricted foreign ownership in hospitals and has relaxed exemptions for foreign personnel within the healthcare sector. We are excited about the prospect of legal and economic development in this area, especially as we represent several foreign hospital clients,” note the Hogan Lovells Jakarta team led by managing partner Chalid Heyder and corporate partner Mochamad Kasmali. Guritno also believes infrastructure development, particularly relating to roads, ports and airports, will be another bright spot, driven by the continued development of the new capital city, Nusantara. “Agriculture appears to be another sector of potential growth, based on Indonesia’s current development plan,” adds Guritno. All eyes are also on energy transition and how Indonesia is going to spearhead the green revolution powered by its rich reserves of much-coveted critical minerals, including nickel and cobalt. “For the energy transition, Indonesia has issued several regulations on carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), the latest one being Presidential Regulation No. 14 of 2024. We would expect the issuance of implementing regulations to support the development of CCS in Indonesia and the plan to create Indonesia as one of the CCS hubs in Asia Pacific,” note Heyder and Kasmali. Hogan Lovells also expects the new government to expedite the timeline for achieving the goal of net zero carbon emissions “with more robust funding expected from third-party state and non-state actors.” “We expect that the government will issue new regulations to achieve the expected targets in energy transition and infrastructure, which would provide certainty to investors, including feed-in tariffs. We also note the government’s plan to replace coal-fired power plant with renewable sourced energy,” they add. Another key legacy of Jokowi is transforming Indonesia – a sprawling archipelago prone to natural disasters including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - into a digital economy with high connectivity and robust digital infrastructure. Lawyers expect the Prabowo administration will continue to build on the digital roadmap crafted by Jokowi to stimulate Indonesia’s economic growth. “Indonesia is currently strengthening its information and technological regulation with the recently amended EIT Law, the enactment of the Personal Data Protection Law, and the improvement of regulations on Electronic System Providers, including video game industries. This is to harmonise with Indonesia’s purpose of going industry 4.0 (digital transformation) and attracting investments in the digital market,” explain Heyder and Kasmali. Looking ahead, Hogan Lovells anticipates the issuance of implementing regulations that were previously put on hold due to the elections. These include implementing regulations on personal data protection, renewable energy, and the health industry. In the meantime, lawyers are keeping an eye on future developments in sectors, including improvements in digitisation, modernisation of health amenities, and the food industry. “We expect the current trend of economic growth to continue under the new administration. As Indonesia’s economy grows, this provides an important opportunity for Indonesia to play a bigger role within the Southeast Asia legal market,” Heyder and Kasmali note. “We do not anticipate any significant challenges in the legal industry during the transition period. However, we will continue to monitor the evolving legal landscape in case of the unexpected,” they add. LAWYERS EYE RISE IN HEALTHCARE, INFRASTRUCTURE WORK IN PRABOWO ERA REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

7 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS Q&A ‘HKIAC WILL CONTINUE TO ADAPT AND INNOVATE’ Joanne Lau recently took on the role of secretary-general of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC). She shares her plans to showcase the unique advantages that Hong Kong boasts as a top-notch arbitration hub, and how innovation will drive the HKIAC forward. ALB: How are you planning to bolster Hong Kong’s reputation as a credible international arbitration hub? JOANNE LAU: With friendly competition between arbitration centres (which I see as a positive thing) and in tricky geopolitical environments, users would understandably scrutinise and compare the performance of different dispute resolution bodies. So, one of my key objectives is to ensure that HKIAC’s case administration and arbitral appointment functions continue to be efficient and of top quality. I am very confident as we have a fantastic multilingual case management team at the Secretariat, which is supported by standing committees composed of a diverse group of experienced external practitioners. Community engagement is another key goal. This requires having frequent conversations with different stakeholders about the benefits of arbitrating in Hong Kong and creating a vibrant and welcoming environment that encourages exchange of ideas. Finally, HKIAC will continue to adapt and innovate. Although the 2018 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules have been working well, we have proposed certain amendments to respond to arbitration developments and users’ needs, particularly measures aimed at enhancing HKIAC’s role in ensuring the efficiency and integrity of the arbitral process. Public consultation for the proposed amendments is now underway. ALB: What are some of the challenges facing Hong Kong today as an arbitration centre? LAU: Substance and perception are both important in maintaining Hong Kong’s status as a leading arbitration centre, and one challenge is to ensure that the public, whether local, regional or international, takes a positive view. Hong Kong already benefits from sophisticated arbitration legislation and unique arrangements with mainland China, including in obtaining interim measures in support of arbitration. There are many recent court judgments demonstrating the robustness and experience of the Hong Kong courts in handling arbitration-related matters. Hong Kong also has a deep bench of local and foreign arbitration practitioners. So, Hong Kong has the infrastructure and talent pool in place to expertly handle both China-related and non-China related arbitrations. Public perception is just as important, though as our users from around the world need to understand and recognise these qualities too. HKIAC plays a crucial role in clearly communicating the advantages of arbitrating in the jurisdiction and promoting its services. I think there is scope to demystify the arbitration process further. More broadly, although not specific to Hong Kong, parties to arbitration are increasingly focused on the cost and time involved in resolving disputes. The HKIAC rules revision includes proposed amendments which are aimed at promoting efficiency such as introducing time limits on closure of proceedings. ALB: How do you plan to foster collaboration between the HKIAC and legal professionals, institutions, and stakeholders? LAU: First, it is key to stay visible and proactive in reaching out to different people and institutions, both locally and in other jurisdictions. To that end, I have a number of upcoming overseas visits and local engagement events in the diary already. The HKIAC has signed a number of MoUs with other institutions to foster collaboration, and I hope to continue to pursue such opportunities as well. Two, it is important to listen and be open minded. I am eager to hear feedback and suggestions from different parts of the arbitration community. Three, capacity building is important in promoting a healthy arbitration ecosystem. Being a Hong Kong native, I am personally keen to see more local talent joining the profession and specialising in international arbitration, and to support younger practitioners. The HKIAC’s tribunal secretary programme is one such initiative and is now in its tenth year, having successfully trained over 200 tribunal secretaries from across the world. ALB: How do you plan to integrate and leverage technological advancements within the HKIAC? LAU: We have state-of-the-art hearing facilities at the HKIAC. Although we have seen the return of popularity of in-person hearings, the availability of virtual hearing facilities means that remote or hybrid hearings can now be easily arranged as and when required by parties and tribunals. I want to encourage more parties to use Case Connect, which is an online case management system that allows documents to be uploaded to a repository and enables communications between parties and tribunals to take place via its platform. It is a very effective tool for enhancing efficiency. Finally, artificial intelligence is an exciting and fast-developing area, so we will closely follow its developments and keep that under review, too. JOANNE LAU

8 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS CAN VIETNAM’S NEW LAND LAW HELP ITS DEVELOPMENT DREAMS COME TRUE? In its bid to transform into a highincome country in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has moved to revamp its law to give more flexibility to the development and management of land, which is considered a crucial piece within the country’s economic development plans. In January, Vietnam passed an amended Land Law to enhance the quality of land use planning. Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha said he believed the new law would “contribute to promoting growth with innovations and breakthroughs in thinking” and “help accelerate the country’s industrialisation and modernisation process, ensure social stability and national security, and protect the environment.” WHY DOES VIETNAM NEED THE NEW LAW? Vietnam’s economy was hailed as a steady performer throughout the COVID pandemic, even as some of its tourism-dependent neighbours took a beating. Bosting heightened attractiveness as an alternative manufacturing hub to China, Vietnam’s economy has been riding a rise in export demand. In 2022, Vietnam sped to its fastest annual GDP growth since 1997, with an 8 percent uptick despite headwinds from a global slowdown. The figure softened to 5.05 percent last year partly due to weakening external demand, but it still outstripped many regional economies. However, the country has been grappling with a rigid system regulating land use and procedures, crumping the effective allocation of land and dampening investor confidence. The government is confident that the new law could help unlock the commercial value of Vietnam’s land resources. For example, delays in land acquisition are a frequent problem. It has been noted that the wait is mainly due to administrative issues, such as lack of transparent information, and legal issues, such as compensation and resettlement regulations. Duyen Ha Vo, a senior partner at Vietnamese firm VILAF, notes that the new land law supplements regulations to optimise land management and use, ensuring efficiency in urban and rural land development. “Another objective is to implement a comprehensive, consolidated land law regime, emphasising the transformation and systematisation of all land policies and regulations to achieve consistency and effectiveness in application,” she says, adding that the law also intends to clarify the rights and obligations of land users. HOW IS THE LAW GOING TO HELP MODERNISE VIETNAM? Of the hundreds of new points in the 16-chapter law, Duyen highlights the changes to the regime to obtain land for “projects eligible as socio-economic development” based on “national and public considerations.” These projects refer to proposed projects that would give the Vietnamese state the power to reclaim land from existing occupants and reallocate or lease it to investors. “The new law extends and further intricately categorises the list of such projects,” notes Duyen. “For instance, new items added to this list are medical facilities, educational and training facilities, projects of renovation and rebuilding of apartment buildings and sea reclamation projects.” Moreover, investors are allowed to enter into private negotiations with existing land occupants to obtain land for projects. Otherwise, they would have to go through the statutory land resettlement and clearance process for the state to reclaim such land from existing occupants, she points out. “The new law also diversifies the forms of compensation to existing occupants for resettlement and requires compensation to be made according to market values of the reclaimed land,” notes Duyen. In addition, a new legal framework will be introduced to authorise land use for multiple purposes. This provision is seen as especially significant to developers. With the authorisation, “residential land may add agricultural, or commercial, service uses as ancillary use purposes; religious and worship land may add commercial, service uses as ancillary use purposes, and agricultural land and non-agricultural land may add construction of postal, telecommunications, and electricity infrastructure works as ancillary use purposes,” says Duyen, adding that the land user must submit a modified land use plan proposal for official approval. Image: Andrey_Popov/ EXPLAINER

9 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS Another well-received change introduced is the explicit permission for persons to transfer their “lease rights” to others if they lease land from the state under an annual rent payment scheme. Also, there will be no investor selection tendering requirements except for township development projects including international football betting and joint ventures with state-owned enterprises involving changes in land use purposes, Duyen points out. WHAT CHALLENGES WILL INVESTORS BE FACING? Duyen points out that most proposed changes actually favour land users compared to investors, who therefore, will need to pay closer attention, especially the immediate period - around two to three years – following the enactment of the new law. “Investors must navigate this transitional phase with careful consideration, informed advice, and strategic planning. Business areas such as real estate, energy, DEALS $8.5 BLN Merger of Viacom18 and Star India Deal Type: M&A Firms: AZB & Partners; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Covington & Burling; J Sagar Associates; Khaitan & Co; Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Jurisdictions: India, U.S. $6.8 BLN Establishment of CVC Capital Partners Asia VI fund Deal Type: Fund Firm: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Jurisdiction: N/A $6.4 BLN Formation of KKR’s Asia-Pacific infrastructure and energy fund Deal Type: Fund Firm: Debevoise & Plimpton Jurisdiction: N/A $5.9 BLN Renesas’ acquisition of Altium Deal Type: M&A Firms: Covington & Burling; DLA Piper; King & Wood Mallesons; Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu; Reed Smith Jurisdictions: Australia, Japan $3.3 BLN Lawson take-private Deal Type: M&A Firms: Anderson Mori & Tomotsune; Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu; Nishimura & Asahi Jurisdiction: Japan $2.8 BLN APG’ investment in Indonesia toll road platform Deal Type: M&A Firms: ABNR; Clifford Chance; Herbert Smith Freehills; Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung Jurisdictions: Indonesia, Netherlands $2 BLN Dai-ichi Life Holdings’ acquisition of Benefit One Deal Type: M&A Firms: Mori Hamada & Matsumoto; Nishimura & Asahi Jurisdiction: Japan $1.5 BLN CVC Capital Partners’ acquisition of Sogo Medical Group Deal Type: M&A Firms: Clifford Chance; Mori Hamada & Matsumoto; Nishimura & Asahi Jurisdiction: Japan, Luxembourg infrastructure projects, and commercial/industrial properties will necessitate meticulous legal guidance and strategic regulatory management for successful project development and M&A activities,” says Duyen. “While a comprehensive assessment will be needed after the issuance of sub-law regulations guiding the new law’s implementation, the new law’s anticipated effect is to provide increased opportunities and flexibility for investors, land users, and relevant state authorities,” she adds.

10 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS APPOINTMENTS LINDA BAI LU LEAVING Taxise Asia JOINING Dentons Rodyk PRACTICE Private Wealth, Tax LOCATION Singapore GWENDOLINE BROOKER LEAVING Total JOINING Frasers Law Company PRACTICE Energy LOCATION Hanoi JAE WOO JEON LEAVING Daewoo Engineering & Construction JOINING Yoon & Yang PRACTICE Construction LOCATION Seoul DAVID CLINCH LEAVING Shearman & Sterling JOINING Pinsent Masons MPillay PRACTICE Energy, Infrastructure LOCATION Singapore HUN-TAE DOH LEAVING Daejeon District Court JOINING Shin & Kim PRACTICE Tax LOCATION Seoul DONG-KYU KIM LEAVING Seoul Southern District Court JOINING Shin & Kim PRACTICE Insolvency LOCATION Seoul BRIAN YOUN LEAVING Milbank JOINING DLA Piper PRACTICE Energy, Project Finance LOCATION Seoul U.S. law firm Perkins Coie has announced the closure of its Shanghai office, making it the latest international law firm to scale back operations in mainland China. Since June 2023, both Proskauer Rose and Akin Gump have announced the closures of their Beijing offices, and Latham shuttered in Shanghai. A spokesperson for the Seattlebased Perkins Coie confirmed the news to ALB, stating, “We are providing significant support to our lawyers and staff in Shanghai during this transition and truly appreciate their commitment to the firm and our clients.” Despite the closure, the spokesperson emphasised, “China has one of the world’s most dynamic technology and business markets for established companies, venture capital, startups, and entrepreneurs, and we remain committed as a firm to our China practice and clients.” Perkins Coie still has a presence in the Greater China region. with offices in Beijing and Taipei. In November 2019, the firm established a China IP agency, led by Scott J. Palmer from its Beijing office, which also has a branch in Shenzhen. Established in 2006, the Shanghai office of Perkins Coie specialised in intellectual property and litigation, regulatory and government affairs, and foreign direct investment, serving mainly technology companies within and out of China. The firm’s website currently lists eight staff members in Shanghai, including one resident partner, Jun Lu, and three resident senior consultants. SAM PARK LEAVING Samsung Electronics JOINING Yoon & Yang PRACTICE Labour LOCATION Seoul JAKE ROBSON LEAVING King & Wood Mallesons JOINING Greenberg Traurig PRACTICE Corporate/M&A LOCATION Singapore PERKINS COIE LATEST U.S. FIRM TO SHUTTER OFFICE IN CHINA Image: Kitch Bain/

11 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS With the Asian region continuing to remain a hotspot for trade and investment, gone are the days when Singapore’s law firms were content simply with the domestic pie. Singapore Big Four firm Allen & Gledhill, which already has a presence in Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia, recently announced the opening of an office in Shanghai – its first in China – and recently established a new alliance in Indonesia. This development is the latest sign that homegrown Singapore firms are been projecting their vision beyond borders: Rajah & Tann has spent years cultivating its image as the “lawyers who know Asia”, and Drew & Napier’s regional law network added Thailand’s largest law firm Tilleke & Gibbins as a member last year ramping up its access to the Southeast Asian region substantially. The trend of regionalisation is by no means exclusive to bigger players. One of the pioneers two decades ago was Kelvin Chia Partnership, which opened offices in multiple countries, becoming reportedly the first foreign law practice in North Korea. More recently, Singaporebased JTJB announced an expansion in Thailand through a merger between its Bangkok outfit and local commercial boutique AWP & Alliance, and another firm, PDLegal, launched its own foray into Thailand with its first overseas office. “We are now seeing more regionalisation efforts by smaller or mediumsized Singapore law firms, driven by the fact that Singapore legal work is increasingly regional and international in nature as a result of the clients and businesses which lawyers support,” say John Sze, managing partner, and Ting Chi Yen, senior partner, at JTJB. At PDLegal, Gerard Quek, deputy managing partner, says Singapore law firms now face strong and growing competition at home, especially for complex cross-border work as international law firms continue to pour in. “Regionalisation is another way for Singapore local firms to build its reputation and revenue. Therefore, it makes commercial sense for firms to expand into countries where we are close by, familiar with the respective cultures and already have a body of clients doing business in those jurisdictions,” adds Quek. The growing competition has prompted some firms to add on crossjurisdictional capabilities. “Assembling a cross-jurisdictional team of law firms for a transactional matter can be challenging from the perspective of conflicts clearance, choreography, costs and commercial sensitivity,” explain Sze and Ting who add that clients would like to see a “one-stop shop” in terms of costs and time management. But for a Singapore local outfit to actually put boots on foreign turfs, these regional outposts will need to make commercial sense in the long run. “A new overseas office will require significant setting-up costs and will be expected to operate at a loss for a certain runway. Some foreign offices may never turn a profit or be self-sustaining,” say Sze and Ting. Quek stresses that an important aspect of financial viability for setting up overseas lies in whether a firm already has an existing pool of clients operating in that foreign jurisdiction. Counting on only commercial potential is not enough. “When I first started acting for Thai clients, I first started going to Thailand once a year; then the number of trips increased to four a year; then to eight a year and managed to build valuable relationships over time,” says Quek. “Without an existing client base in Thailand, it would not have been financially viable for us to set up the Thai office.” Navigating local regulations and barriers to entry of a foreign market, as near as it maybe, is also a challenge. In the meantime, law firm management is advised to be aware of the impact at home while searching for glory farther afield. “Many Singapore law firms are instructed by foreign law firms on Singapore-specific matters, who may not appreciate an intrusion into their jurisdiction,” say Sze and Ting. “Local law firms have the ‘home-ground’ advantage in their local business networks, understanding of local markets, language, culture, and practices. Referrals may also diminish or go to other ‘independent’ Singapore firms if the relationship with local incumbent firms is affected.” For JTJB, staffing the firm’s overseas outpost with the right people is top of mind as “one must consider the potential implications of a difference in direction or opinions with local partners or management,” note Sze and Ting. The pair predict the growing prominence of the pan-Asian law firms within an increasingly saturated legal marketplace like Singapore, which Sze and Tang describe as “not big enough to support ‘mega’ local firms or organic growth beyond a certain size.” Medium-sized Singapore domestic firms, which “straddle an unenviable position between being too expensive for certain clients while too unbranded for others”, will also play a key role in driving the trend of regionalisation due to the challenges confronting the entire segment, Sze and Tang add. WITH COMPETITION HEATING UP AT HOME, SG FIRMS PURSUE REGIONAL GROWTH Image: Majonit/

12 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS Keen to regain its footing as an international entertainment hub, Hong Kong had been desperately seeking a victory. But a recent attempt to score a goal on the football pitch has turned into a situation that has gone beyond the realm of sports, and instead become a matter of international relations. It all started to go pear-shaped on Feb. 4. Some 40,000 diehard fans of Argentine football legend Lionel Messi, having spent lavishly on costly tickets and merchandise, ended up watching their idol sitting out a widely promoted pre-season match between the Hong Kong team and Messi’s club Inter Miami. Messi was the poster boy for the much-hyped event, the organisers of which had strongly implied in their promotional materials that the Ball d’Or winner would be on the pitch. As it became clear that Messi was going to stay on the bench all day, the event ended in a chorus of boos and jeers. The fallout was immediate: Hong Kong politicians roundly condemned the Argentine star’s no-show, while on the mainland, a friendly match between Argentina and Nigeria scheduled for March in the city of Hangzhou was scrapped. While Hong Kong’s reputation took a hit, event organiser Tatler Asia bore a hefty financial brunt by agreeing to a 50 percent refund of all officially purchased tickets. The organiser said it promoted the match branded as Tatler XFEST Hong Kong following a “contractual agreement with Inter Miami” that marquee players, including Lionel Messi “would play unless injured.” But lawyers fear that Tatler Asia’s hands might be tied when it comes to holding Inter Miami accountable. “It really depends on the actual wording of the contract signed between Tatler Asia and Inter Miami knowing that normal drafting of this kind of sports contracts can be somewhat ambiguous,” says Colin Cohen, senior partner at Boase Cohen & Collins. Eric Chan, principal at CPH Legal, believes there appears to be no breach of contract between Tatler and Inter Miami unless Tatler can prove the club has falsely claimed “fitness and safety considerations.” “If the terms are well defined enough and if Tatler Asia can prove that the alleged injuries were falsely proclaimed, then there is a breach of contract on the part of Inter Miami, and Tatler can claim for damages. But my gut feeling (not having reviewed the contract) is that the terms would be favourable to Inter Miami,” says Chan. Cohen believes whether Tatler decides to pursue legal actions against Inter Miami would be more likely to be determined by commercial considerations. “If Tatler were to sue Inter Miami, other teams would think very hard before appointing Tatler as their promoter,” says Cohen. Questions have also arisen as to whether consumers, who have filed hundreds of complaints with claims totalling millions of Hong Kong dollars, have any legal grounds to seek full reimbursement from the event organiser. In the latest development, Tatler Asia Chairman Michel Lamuniere now said he was only informed by Inter Miami 15 minutes before kick-off that Messi wouldn’t play in the friendly match because of a hamstring injury. Previously, Lamuniere had claimed that he was told of Messi’s non-participation in the second half of the match. Chan thinks there is no evidence to show that Tatler Asia knew of the injuries and still declared that Messi would play. “If there were (evidence), there could be a solid criminal case. Consumers may report Tatler Asia to the Customs and Excise for false description that Messi would play,” says Chan. Cohen also believes it will be “very difficult” for consumers to get a full refund through legal avenues. “You bought a ticket to watch a football game. A game was played with 22 players,” says Cohen. On the other hand, lawyers at Haiwen & Partners believe it’s arguable that there could have been misrepresentation during the promotion of the event. Misrepresentation doesn’t necessarily have to be intentional but can be caused by negligence or ignorance instead, the dispute resolution team based in Hong Kong notes. “There have been promotional material strongly signalling Messi’s participation in the match. Fans purchased tickets based on that information. If the organiser knew in advance that Messi couldn’t play due to injuries but still claimed that he would, that could be a case of intentional misrepresentation; but even if the organiser failed to verify whether Messi would play, there could still be grounds for negligent misrepresentation,” says the Haiwen team. But the organiser may have a defence in misrepresentation. “The organiser can demonstrate that they had reasonable grounds to believe that Messi would participate in the match prior to the audience purchasing the tickets, for example, if the contract between the organiser and Inter Miami explicitly guaranteed Messi’s participation in the match,” the team adds. THE MESSI MESS: FEELINGS WERE HURT. BUT WAS THERE BREACH OF CONTRACT? REUTERS/Lam Yik