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1 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM COVER STORY 14 State of the market 2023 The pandemic might be (almost) over, but the sense of unease remains strong in Asia’s legal industry. As M&A transactions dry up and capital markets remain patchy across the region, law firms have responded in a variety of ways. Some have taken the prudent road and looked to scale back their presence. Others realise it could pay off to be bold at a time like this. As a result, we have seen the landscapes of key legal markets in Asia begin to shift in clear directions, with the momentum expected to accelerate in 2024. By Sarah Wong and Nimitt Dixit FEATURES 10 Litigators of Asia In this annual feature, we profile some of Asia’s most distinguished litigators. 20 ALB Asia Top IP Lawyers 2023 This year, ALB has spotlighted 15 IP practitioners across Asia who are recognised to have excelled in the increasingly strategic field. Through a solid track record, they have demonstrated themselves as reliable solution providers to their clients, formidable competitors to their peers, and creative pioneers to their followers. Plus: - Bae, Kim & Lee LLC - HHP Law Firm - Drew & Napier 24 Lawyers of Arabia Increasing investments from multinational corporations into Saudi Arabia, and the promises of diversified and sustainable growth are drawing international law firms to the Middle East’s largest economy, which has put together a new licensing regime to facilitate legal market growth. 26 Dealmakers of Asia In this annual feature, we profile some of Asia’s most distinguished M&A lawyers. 32 Her house, her laws In this roundtable, three female law firm founders in Singapore share their challenges, vision, and how they plan to capitalise on new opportunities. 36 ALB Vietnam Rising Stars 2023 In its inaugural list, Asian Legal Business introduces the rising stars of Vietnam’s legal profession, highlighting the exceptional talent and immense potential they contribute to the industry. These promising practitioners have received high praise from their clients, showcasing their remarkable capabilities. 42 ALB Korea Super 30 Lawyers 2023 In its third year, ALB’s Korea Super 30 Lawyers list continues to highlight exceptional private practitioners in the country who are renowned for their outstanding client service. These distinguished lawyers have been selected based on direct client recommendations received by ALB. BRI EFS 3 The Briefing 4 Forum 5 Deals 6 Explainer 8 Appointments 9 Q&A CONTENTS 24 Lawyers of Arabia Image: artisticArtbycreative/

2 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 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) 003/02/2023 issn 0219 – 6875 KDN PPS 1867/10/2015(025605) Thomson Reuters 18 Science Park Drive Singapore 118229 / T (65) 6775 5088 / F (65) 6333 0900 10/F, Cityplaza 3, Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong / T (852) 3762 3269 Could 2024 be the year of the small firm? As 2023 comes to end, I’m once again reminded that the legal industry has never witnessed a time like this. Think back on a time not too long ago – let’s say just a decade before now – and you will remember that change happened incrementally, if it even happened at all. Those atop existing hierarchies and structures at that time had little to worry about with the tiniest of ripples forming on the sector’s placid surface. Today, the transformation is like a turbo-charged storm, the disruption coming in ever-steeper waves. Forget thinking a decade ahead; the legal industry could look vastly different in just a few years from today. The big gamechanger this year, of course, has been generative AI. ChatGPT only appeared in the last quarter of 2022. Since then, we’ve laughed at the hilarious story of the U.S. attorney who produced hallucinated case citations in court, and mulled publicly on LinkedIn about whether the robots would take over our jobs. But at the same time, serious work has been happening to harness the power of these robots. The headline news may have been global law firms investing in AI tech, but lawyers at all levels have begun using generative AI to draft documents, streamline processes, analyse contracts, and speed up research. I predict that one big outcome of this trend, at least in Asia, will be to drastically level the playing field for small and domestic firms. Talent was never the issue for them, but a lack of resources has so far been the differentiator between the haves and the have-nots. And the tide is turning. Singapore, for example, has seen the establishment of some high-quality boutiques, and in both the Lion City and Hong Kong, our Firms to Watch rankings this year attracted more entries than ever before. With clients growing increasingly price-sensitive in an inflationary climate (see our “State of the Market” cover story in this issue), there’s never been a better time for smaller firms to shine. And now they have the technology on their side. 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 (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 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 – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM THE BRIEFING: YOUR MONTHLY NEED-TO-KNOW 7 ARRESTED OVER COLLAPSED Proportion of Singapore-based lawyers who would advise their children to study law, according to a poll conducted by Statista and The Straits Times. The corresponding number for 2022 was 52 percent. (Reuters) Britain’s Serious Fraud Office arrested seven people on Tuesday in connection with the collapse of UK law firm Axiom Ince, the fraud watchdog said, as part of a probe into about 65 million pounds ($80.7 million) of missing client money. The SFO said it had carried out searches at nine sites in south-east England on Tuesday morning. Officers seized a “significant amount of material”, SFO director Nick Ephgrave said in a video posted on X. The SFO did not provide the names of the seven individuals who were arrested. The identities of people who have been arrested are usually not made public before they are charged. Axiom Ince’s former director Pragnesh Modhwadia was not one of the seven arrested, his lawyer Timur Rustem said. Modhwadia has been accused by Axiom Ince of misappropriating millions, including to fund the acquisitions of other law firms. “I can confirm that the SFO conducted a search this morning of our client’s address,” Rustem said in an emailed statement. “Mr Modhwadia was cooperative as he has been from the outset of this investigation.” 51.5PERCENT LAW FIRM AXIOM INCE IN THE NEWS Herbert Smith Freehills has confirmed that Justin D’Agostino will have a second four-year term as CEO beginning May 2024. The role includes managing the firm’s 5,000-strong staff, as well as its client, people, practices and growth strategies. “When ChatGPT saved me hours of work, it was a tiny ray of sunlight in an otherwise abysmal situation.” QUOTE UNQUOTE Allen & Overy will spin off its online legal information business in a sale to London-based private equity firm Inflexion and U.S. investment firm Endicott Capital. The unit, called aosphere, will become a standalone entity, Inflexion and Allen & Overy said. Colorado attorney Zachariah Crabill, 29, tells Business Insider he was fired from Baker Law Group after using ChatGPT at work during a particularly stressful time. IN THE NEWS (Reuters) A larger percentage of U.S. law firms signed leases that expanded their office square footage in 2023 compared to last year, according to a new report from brokerage firm Savills, as the legal industry continues to favor in-person work after the pandemic. Expansions represented 42.6 percent of law firm transactions signed through the third quarter of 2023, Savills found. Expansions made up 28.5 percent of new leases signed in all of 2022. While other types of tenants are cutting space, the expansions this year show that law firms are saying that “office space continues to be very important,” said Tom Fulcher, chair of Savills’ legal tenant practice group. Law firm leaders have pressed for greater office attendance after previously offering more flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many firms began to require lawyers to work in the office three days or more per week as the pandemic receded. U.S. LAW FIRMS EXPAND OFFICE SPACE IN 2023 LEASES Percentage of legal teams in the bringing more work in-house, according to a report from ACC and Everlaw. The next leading cost-control strategy is shifting work to smaller firms (39 percent). 66%

4 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS CHRIS LAMBERT, managing partner, Robertsons On a positive note, 2023 saw the region finally emerge from the shadows of COVID. However, we have also found ourselves in a far more complicated and challenging world. Geopolitical issues, wars, turbulent financial markets, and climate change have all presented hurdles to what had previously been a widely anticipated “return to normal” this year. So, the biggest lesson for the management of legal firms in 2023 is to accept that we are operating in a very different business environment and to plan and position our business accordingly. The emergence of artificial intelligence has also been a hot topic this year. Whilst there are differing views in the profession on this subject, it is important for law firms to see the inevitable and irreversible industry transformation and understand how technology will refine our jobs and services. How law firms strategically and continuously embrace, leverage, and keep up with legal technology advancement and innovations will be crucial in how they are able to compete in the marketplace. Another feature that has become very apparent to us in the post-COVID world this year is that different expectations have emerged with respect to the work-life balance offered by law firms. To retain and develop future leaders and plan for a law firm’s succession, you have to engage with the perceptions of how work is to be affected and accept that many talented young lawyers are no longer prepared to incessantly burn the midnight oil to climb up the corporate ladder. This means that strategies for identifying and selecting the next generation of leaders have had to be rewritten to recognise this fundamental change in perspective. One phrase that I frequently heard during 2023 was, “nothing is easy in this world anymore.” Whilst this is often used as a complaint - and there is no doubt that the statement is true - it should also be seen as an opportunity by law firms in preparing their business strategies for the coming years. Compliance in all areas is only going to get tougher, and risk factors have multiplied in recent times. On the other hand, for those firms prepared to take this new environment head-on and continue to deliver value-added services, even in a more challenging environment, there is also no doubt that opportunities abound. RYU UMEZU, managing partner, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune Our management committee is focused on enhancing client relationships by providing more detailed information about the expertise of our partners in different practice areas. The challenge is that clients often only have a relationship with one or small number of partners and may not be aware of the full range of services and specialisations available within our firm. To address this, we’re having relationship meetings with clients as a way to share information about our firm’s expertise. We achieved steady growth over the last decade mostly driven by our Tokyo office, but now the emphasis is on our international practice and foreign law enterprise as key drivers for future growth. We’re facing a significant challenge in hiring attorneys for our overseas and Japanese offices due to the highly competitive legal job market. PRAMUDYA OKTAVINANDA, managing partner, UMBRA – Strategic Legal Solutions As I often say, “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The biggest lesson in 2023 remains the same with what I have experienced so far within the last 6 years leading UMBRA, namely, the industry moves so fast, if you do not plan accordingly and adapt quickly, you will miss opportunities. With ESG and energy transition initiatives being the latest trends, I am happy to report that our firm is FORUM CHAOS AND OPPORTUNITY 2023 has been characterised by continued economic challenges, geopolitical tumult, and strategic pivots by governments and businesses. Law firms in Asia emerging from this trial by fire have also harvested valuable takeaways to better navigate their jurisdictions’ shifting commercial and political landscapes. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNED AS A LAW FIRM LEADER FROM WHAT HAS TRANSPIRED, AND HOW WILL THOSE LESSONS GUIDE YOUR FIRM’S STRATEGY GOING INTO 2024 AND BEYOND? CHRIS LAMBERT RYU UMEZU PRAMUDYA OKTAVINANDA CAVINDER BULL

5 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS at the forefront of these important subjects, and one of the reasons of achieving such position is because we started earlier with our preparation, including starting the talk among key players and stakeholders through our client alerts and participation in regulatory drafting, and training our lawyers intensively on key knowledge of the field, which later allowed us to be involved in some of the first deals related to ESG and energy transition. We will continue to pay a lot of attention to the next phase of the Indonesian economy and will not hesitate to invest more in preparing our firm’s lawyers and technology to meet the evolving demands of our clients and their related industries. CAVINDER BULL, chief executive officer, Drew & Napier In 2023, we were reminded of the importance and power of positive collaborations. We saw this in particular in our regional network, Drew Network Asia (DNA), where we continued to collaborate with Shearn Delamore from Malaysia, Makarim from Indonesia and MVGS from the Philippines. The year 2023 also saw us welcome Tilleke & Gibbins to DNA. Our collaborative reach now covers nine countries, and we are already seeing great impact. We even have other firms reaching out to us to see whether they can collaborate with us through DNA. DEALS $3.9 BLN Financing of Dito Telecommunity Corporation’s 4G/5G network Deal Type: Project Finance Firm: Clifford Chance Jurisdictions: China, Philippines $1.9 BLN MMG’s agreement to buy Cuprous Capital, parent company of Khoemacau mine Deal Type: M&A Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills; White & Case Jurisdictions: Botswana, Canada, China, Hong Kong $1.8 BLN CCEP and AEV’s acquisition of (CCBPI) from Coca-Cola Deal Type: M&A Firms: McDermott Will & Emery; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Slaughter and May; SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan; Villaraza & Angangco Jurisdictions: Philippines, UK, U.S. $1.78 BLN Benesse Holdings’ management buyout (MBO) plan proposed by EQT AB Group Deal Type: M&A Firms: Anderson Mori & Tomotsune; Mori Hamada & Matsumoto; Shearman & Sterling; White & Case Jurisdictions: Japan, Sweden $650 MLN Stonepeak’s investment in AGP Sustainable Real Assets Deal Type: M&A Firms: Clifford Chance; Sidley Austin Jurisdictions: Singapore, U.S. $530 MLN AU Small Finance Bank’s acquisition of Fincare Small Finance Bank Deal Type: M&A Firms: Anagram Partners; AZB & Partners Jurisdiction: India $470 MLN WuXi XDC’s Hong Kong initial public offering Deal Type: IPO Firms: Davis Polk & Wardwell; Fangda Partners; Jingtian & Gongcheng; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Jurisdictions: China, Hong Kong $366 MLN Tata Technologies’ initial public offering Deal Type: IPO Firms: Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas; Latham & Watkins; Quillon Partners; S&R Associates Jurisdiction: India

6 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS EXPLAINER CAMBODIA PLANS NEW COMMERCIAL COURT Cambodia has taken a major step towards furnishing its commercial legal infrastructure. The Southeast Asian country’s Ministry of Justice has finalised a draft law that could see the country’s first commercial court up and running in Phnom Penh as soon as the end of 2023. A spokesperson for the Ministry confirmed that all business disputes will be resolved by the commercial court, separately from the criminal courts where serious business disputes are being adjudicated at the moment. Although the details of the draft law are still under seal, lawyers believe the new commercial court will promote trade flow and other commercial activities by enhancing transparency of its already investor-friendly legal framework. AGAINST WHAT BACKDROP WILL THE COMMERCIAL COURT BE ESTABLISHED? The establishment of a commercial court in Cambodia is a decadeslong vision that has finally come into fruition. “Cambodia has been considering the establishment of commercial courts since at least 2003, when it stated its desire to do so upon joining the WTO. In 2007, a draft Commercial Court Law was released, but apparently momentum on establishing the court was lost,” explains Jay Cohen, a partner at Tilleke & Gibbins in Cambodia. Fast forward to February this year, the Justice Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Manila-headquartered development bank aimed at supporting social and economic development in Asia, to establish a commercial court in Cambodia to facilitate all trade-related disputes. In November, the Ministry put the plan into action by completing a draft law to operationalise the court. Cohen notes that even before this breakthrough, Cambodia has been enjoying favours from foreign investors. “Cambodia’s main investment laws, being the Law on Commercial Enterprises and the Law on Investment, do not discriminate against foreign investors,” says Cohen. “In particular, Cambodia does not prohibit foreign investors from investing in any sectors in Cambodia. As such, Cambodia is one of the easiest countries in Southeast Asia for a foreign investor to incorporate a company, obtain licenses and permits and remit profits back to its shareholders,” he adds. WHAT ARE THE MOST NOTABLE CHANGES? There have been long-running concerns from the investor community about “transparency and predictability in the Cambodian court system and the length of time necessary to resolve disputes,” Cohen admits, stressing that an improved commercial legal mechanism is expected to boost confidence among foreign businesses. The draft law has not been released by the time of writing, but Cohen expects the new court to bolster Cambodia’s commercial standing by improving the sophistication, efficiency, and predictability of the process of resolving trade- and investment-related disputes. In particular, “it is hoped that the commercial court will publish its judgements so that the public can understand how the Cambodian courts are interpreting Cambodian law. At present, court decisions are not routinely published, which leads to concerns about transparency and arbitrariness of decisions and leads to significant ambiguity as to how Cambodian law is interpreted by the courts,” notes Cohen. On top of that, Cohen believes timelines for hearings and obtaining a final judgment are likely to be compressed compared to the regular court system. “There may also be a more limited range of grounds for making an appeal, which may curtail the ability of parties to appeal decisions to the appellate court and the supreme court when there is no firm legal basis for doing so,” he adds. Other positive changes likely include the addition of homegrown judges, as well as permitting court documents to be submitted in English or other foreign languages. IN WHAT WAYS WILL THE COURT BOLSTER ARBITRATION RELATED TO CAMBODIA? Looking back on how Cambodia’s arbitration landscape has evolved along the way, Cohen recalls 2009, when he first came to the country whose GDP still ranks eighth in the ten-nation ASEAN region today. At that point in time, “many parties who inserted foreign arbitration clauses into their contracts learned that it was not financially worth it to commence arbitration even if they felt their cases were relatively strong and straightforward,” Cohen recalls, citing the high costs to arbitration in preferred destinations including Singapore and Hong Kong. But the game has changed now. “With the addition of a commercial court, assuming that it achieves its goals of transparency and efficiency, it is likely to result in more cases involving foreign investors to be adjudicated in Cambodia as opposed to abroad,” says Cohen. “Further, as the commercial court develops, and if cases are published and accessible, it would lead to more predictability in the Cambodian legal system, which would bolster the confidence of foreign investors,” he adds. u u u

7 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS Singapore is introducing a new law to regulate investments in “a handful of critical entities” in the city-state in a proposed legislative framework that sets out a new investment management regime. The proposed law, put forward by Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong in August, means companies will have to seek approval when there are certain changes in ownership or leadership. Introduced in parliament in November, the Significant Investments Review Bill seeks to regulate both local and foreign investments in entities “critical to Singapore’s national security interests”, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said. Entities incorporated, formed and established in Singapore or that carry out activities in Singapore or provide goods and services to persons in Singapore can be designated, the MTI said in a press release. The law would apply to individual entities, rather than entire sectors and is meant to complement existing sector-based legislation. Current sector-specific laws regulating the telecommunications, banking and utilities sectors generally apply to investments and acquisitions for critical infrastructure and networks. The new law would apply to critical entities that have not been adequately covered, say Corrine Chew and Benjamin Gaw from Drew & Napier. Chew is co-head of the firm’s competition law and regulatory practice and director of corporate and finance. Gaw is a director of corporate and mergers and acquisitions and heads up the healthcare and life sciences (corporate and regulatory) practice. Designated entities will have to provide notification or approval for specified changes in ownership or for appointments of key executives. MTI will have the power to remove key officers in the interest of national security. Buyers will be required to notify the Minister after becoming a 5 percent controller and seek approval before acquiring equity interests above certain thresholds. They will also have to seek approval before becoming an indirect controller or acquiring parts of designated entities. Sellers will be required to seek approval before disposing of their interests and ceasing to be a 50 percent or 75 percent controller of a designated entity. Designated entities will also be subject to other provisions to ensure the security and reliability of their critical functions, MTI said. They may not be voluntarily wound up or dissolved without consent, and orders can be given to direct the assumption of control of the designated entities’ affairs, business, and property to ensure their continuity. The proposed law will also empower the Minister to review ownership or control transactions involving an entity that has acted against Singapore’s national security interests, even if the entity has not been designated. However, at this point, the definitions of what could make up a national security risk are vague. “We may expect that further guidance may be distilled from the upcoming parliamentary discussions on the bill,” Chew and Gaw say. A challenge is that putting definitions into law is not always easy, and the definitions are even more difficult when it comes to cyber security. Recent tensions between the United States and China have resulted in severe controls over the export of technology from the West to China, which means countries are increasingly looking at the possible risks from trade conflicts and technological barriers. The bill is expected to go through a second reading in January 2024 and is set to come into effect a few months later if passed. Singapore is not alone in introducing legislation that regulates and screens investments for national security reasons, with around 90 percent of OECD countries having regulations to screen investments. “Globally, many countries have introduced or tightened their regulatory regimes to screen investments for national security reasons,” Gan said in a parliamentary reply in September. The proposed law was developed in consultation with industry representatives to consider its potential impact on businesses and investors, MTI said. It is designed to be business-friendly and sets out clear processes for parties that wish to seek reconsideration before an independent tribunal, and an Office of Significant Investments Review will be set up under the ministry as a one-stop touchpoint. “It is critical for Singapore to remain open and connected to the world, and as such, we must continually strengthen our position as a trusted hub for businesses to invest with confidence,” Gan said in a press release. SINGAPORE TO REGULATE INVESTMENTS IN ENTITIES CRITICAL TO NATIONAL SECURITY Image: Travelpixs/

8 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS APPOINTMENTS KAJAL ASWANI LEAVING Gall Solicitors JOINING Hugill & Ip PRACTICE Family Law LOCATION Hong Kong FU DUAN LEAVING Alibaba JOINING Haiwen & Partners PRACTICE M&A LOCATION Hong Kong/Beijing PARAS LALWANI LEAVING Drew & Napier JOINING Bayfront Law PRACTICE International Arbitration LOCATION Singapore RUARIDH GUY LEAVING Ince & Co JOINING Squire Patton Boggs PRACTICE Shipping LOCATION Hong Kong STEPHEN HOWARD LEAVING White & Case JOINING Goodwin Procter PRACTICE Debt Finance LOCATION Hong Kong GERALD LICNACHAN LEAVING Reed Smith JOINING CMS PRACTICE Energy M&A LOCATION Singapore SIVA SUBRAMANIAM LEAVING Herbert Smith Freehills JOINING Allen & Gledhill PRACTICE Aviation Finance LOCATION Singapore MIURA TO CONTINUE OVERSEAS EXPANSION WITH HCMC OFFICE Japanese law firm Miura & Partners (M&P) has announced that it will open an office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in February 2024. This will be M&P’s third overseas office after Jakarta and San Francisco, both of which opened in April this year to meet demand from clients that are looking abroad in the wake of Japan’s shrinking domestic population and economy. However, Vietnam is already a crowded place for Japanese law firms, with most of the country’s largest firms – including Nishimura & Asahi, TMI Associates, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu and Anderson Mori & Tomotsune – having offices in either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, if not both. Anderson Mori recently announced the opening of its Hanoi office, some eight years after it set up shop in HCMC. Miura partner Ryhoichi Inoue, who currently heads M&P’s Jakarta office, will also oversee the Ho Chi Minh office in the initial months. He advises on M&A, disputes, restructuring and bankruptcy. Two junior Vietnamese lawyers have already joined the new office, and M&P aims to provide legal support to companies from Japan, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries on issues such as M&A and compliance, the firm said in a statement. CRAIG LUTON LEAVING Maples and Calder JOINING Mourant PRACTICE Investment Funds LOCATION Singapore KENT PHILLIPS LEAVING Hogan Lovells JOINING Norton Rose Fulbright PRACTICE International Arbitration LOCATION Singapore Image: saiko3p/

9 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS Q&A ‘WE WANT TO SUPPORT OUR CLIENTS TO SEIZE KOREA’S SUBSTANTIAL OPPORTUNITIES” In October, Baker McKenzie entered into a joint venture with Korean law firm KL Partners in a show of the firm’s commitment to grow in Asia at a time when some other international firms were shrinking their footprints. The JV will be run by Bakers’ Jae-Hyon Ahn and KL’s Beomsu Kim, who tell ALB how this will benefit clients in both Korea and overseas. ALB: Tell us more about the strategic goals behind the joint venture and how it will complement Baker McKenzie’s offerings in Asia. Jae-Hyon Ahn: The goal of our joint venture is quite simple: offering clients top-notch law advice that meets their evolving business interests and legal needs from one single platform. Baker McKenzie has been advising clients in Korea for close to three decades and has been operating in Korea since 2013, advising clients on their cross-border activities, including development and financing of overseas projects, outbound M&A, and allowing clients to meet their international capital requirements. As economies become more interconnected and legal issues become more complex, clients tell us that they want a one-stop shop for their domestic and international legal needs. With our new joint venture with KL Partners, we can now expand our offerings and advise on Korean law. As the biggest international law firm in the country, we are able to better support multinational clients with their legal needs in Korea as they look to increase their presence in the country, make inbound investments, or resolve crossborder disputes. Korea-based clients also find this one-stop-shop service very appealing. ALB: From which specific market segment(s) will the new firm be capturing work? Jae-Hyon Ahn and Beomsu Kim: We will continue to build on our successful existing practice areas which are energy and infrastructure development and financing, cross-border arbitration and litigation, and corporate/M&A. Through the establishment of the joint venture in Korea, we are now able to expand our client offerings further, which will enable us to continue to grow these areas for the new office. The joint venture will be starting from a position of strength as our Korea team has significant experience and a strong track record in these areas. The team has been widely recognised as market leaders in these sectors, including being ranked as the only Band 1 international law firm for Korea - Energy & Natural Resources by Chambers and Partners for the past 4 consecutive years and also highly ranked in the disputes resolution and corporate M&A sector in Korea. Korea is the fourth largest economy in Asia. Its strong manufacturing, technology and healthcare sectors have attracted significant interest from overseas investors, particularly from Europe, Japan and the U.S., with investments oriented toward manufacturing, finance and insurance, trade, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing, as well as electric cars and biotechnology. With the various measures introduced by the government in recent years to attract foreign investment, we expect M&A and investment activities to remain robust. Dispute resolution will be another bright spot. The economic cycle has become a key driver of disputes, and business leaders are expecting the number of disputes to continue to rise. With our bolstered dispute resolution service offerings, we now have much greater ability to support our clients on contentious matters onshore and offshore. Over time, we expect demands for legal services in other areas to grow, particularly in tax, technology/licensing, global reorganisation, as complex dispute works covering multi-jurisdictions, just to name a few, as multinationals are increasingly looking to tap into the abundant business opportunities that Korea presents while Korean companies continue to venture overseas for new markets access and growth. ALB: What made you decide that these were the right market conditions for such a move? Ahn: The longer-term strategic needs of our clients is a key focus when shaping our strategy. This unwavering commitment to our clients can explain why Baker McKenzie is among the first batch of international law firms to establish an onshore presence in Korea; and when other firms have retreated, we stay put. With the economy opening up further to international investments and with the gradual liberalisation of the legal sector, expanding our Korea service offering through the new joint venture will give us greater ability to service our clients’ domestic and international legal needs. Being able to advise on Korean law matters has always been a long-term goal of the firm since we started advising clients in Korea many years ago, and through the formation of our joint venture with KL Partners, we are now able to achieve such a goal. JAE-HYON AHN BEOMSU KIM

10 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM Heidi Chui, partner and head of the dispute resolution department and the banking and finance department at Stevenson, Wong & Co., is a distinguished litigator who manages a team of eight lawyers with a legal support team of over ten members in Hong Kong. Chui has over 21 years of experience as a solicitor in Hong Kong. She is among the first batch of Hong Kong lawyers getting the GBA lawyer qualification. She is an arbitrator on the panel of various institutions, such as HKIAC, CIETAC, SCIA, SHIAC and many others. She is the only Hong Kong based member on the Women In Arbitration Committee of the HKIAC, underscoring her commitment to the promotion and success of female practitioners in arbitration and Hong Kong’s legal services. Chui has recently successfully assisted a leading online media conglomerate in resisting the enforcement of a substantial arbitral award exceeding $1 billion. The matter involved fighting battles in multiple jurisdictions in the US, EU, BVI, Cayman Islands and Mainland China. The success in that case, given Hong Kong’s pro-enforcement stance, showcased Chui’s strategic brilliance and tenacity. Beyond her legal triumphs, Chui passionately contributes to the legal community. Actively promoting Hong Kong as an international arbitration center, she has trained and lectured students on international arbitration at academic institutions including Peking University, Fudan University and The University of Hong Kong. As a member of the Arbitration Committee of The Law Society of Hong Kong, she had strongly advocated for Hong Kong as an international dispute resolution center at Legislative Council meetings on the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services. Beyond her busy legal practice, Chui also gives back to the community through various initiatives. She regularly shares insights on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) among law students and promotes new opportunities for young people in the Greater Bay Area. As a member of the Executive Committee of HKU Law Alumni Association, and as a mentor to HKU law students, she grooms and nurtures young legal talents to prepare for their future career. Chui has demonstrated remarkable achievements, leadership, and her strong commitment to advancing Hong Kong as an international dispute resolution hub. Her exceptional track record of accomplishments, both inside and outside the courtroom, solidifies her status as a trailblazer and a pivotal figure in the legal community. Heidi Chui Partner, Stevenson, Wong & Co. Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2533 2540 Fax: (852) 2157 5550 Email: LITIGATORS OF ASIA 2023 In the dynamic field of law, Asia has seen exceptional litigators who have made a lasting impact. These top-tier professionals are widely recognized for their achievements and dedication to justice. In this issue, we present profiles of some of the most distinguished and influential litigators in Asia in 2023.

11 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM In the multi-layered legal landscape of Hong Kong, Frederick Hui, a co-managing partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm, has emerged as a seasoned professional, leading with strategic acumen and dedication. With more than seven years as the head of the litigation and dispute resolution practice at Zhong Lun’s Hong Kong office, Hui manages a team of over 20 professionals. In complex commercial cross-border disputes before courts in mainland China, Hong Kong and London as well as international arbitrational tribunals, Hui regularly represents a broad range of financial institutions, insurance companies, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, Chinese state-owned enterprises and major shipping companies. Hui’s professional affiliations underscore his commitment to legal excellence and community service. Serving as the pro bono legal advisor of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) since 2005, Hui exemplifies the intersection of legal expertise and social responsibility. His memberships in prominent institutions such as the Hong Kong Institute of Directors, the Hong Kong Independent Non-Executive Director Association, and various legal and regulatory bodies further display his dedication to professional development and governance. Key to Hui’s caseload is his involvement in a wide range of complex legal matters, some high profile. One case he has been involved in is a complex dispute involving Kaisa Group Holdings Limited and Chang Ye Investment Company Limited. This ongoing case, which started in February 2023, spans multiple jurisdictions, including New York State and the British Virgin Islands, reflecting Hui’s proficiency in handling cross-border legal intricacies. Collaborating with distinguished legal entities, Hui navigates through the intricate web of international legal proceedings. Another significant engagement is the ongoing dispute involving Gold Brilliant Investment Limited and Mr Pan Sutong, a high-profile case linked to a residential development project near Ho Man Tin MTR station. The stakes, valued at over HK$10 billion, are linked to intricate legal issues such as contract law, laws of guarantee, estoppel, and conflict of laws. Hui’s successful defense against an injunction application by the plaintiff adds to the complexity of this case, positioning it as a noteworthy high-profile litigation in the Hong Kong legal arena. In a protracted legal battle that has been in play since December 2015, Hui is at the helm, managing a broad range of legal issues concerning the estate and interests of the late Dr. Henry Fok Ying Tung. This complex case involves over 30 different parties, intricate legal principles related to directors’ duties and the categorization of settlement agreements. Hui’s achievements extend beyond his casework and have been widely recognized and have helped to broaden the scope of work for Zhong Lun. One additional accreditation, earned in 2020, was being named as a Notary Public. With Higher Rights of Audience, he stands among the 95 Solicitor Advocates (Civil) in Hong Kong, authorized to appear in all levels of civil courts. Additionally, Hui’s commitment to continuous learning is evident in his recent completion of a Certificate in Leadership in Law Firms at Harvard Law School and ongoing participation in a Doctor of Business Administration program co-organized by Peking University and the University of Hong Kong. Hui is hailed as a “rainmaker amongst rainmakers” with “sound judgment, loved by clients, and first-rate” expertise. Clients specifically recognize Hui as the “star litigation partner” known for being “absolutely efficient, deep knowledge in the market, and strategic”. Those who have worked with Zhong Lun’s disputes team, particularly Hui, describe them as “true professionals” who stand out among other law firms in Asia. They commend Hui for being “truly an international disputes lawyer” who understands the “international elements of claims” and is not limited by a “localist mentality”. Clients also emphasize Hui’s “very strong Mainland connections”, which contribute to his ability to provide exceptional legal representation and client service. In the legal arena, Hui stands not just as a practitioner but as a leader navigating legal frontiers with expertise, integrity, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact on the legal landscape of Hong Kong. Frederick Hui Co-Managing Partner, Zhong Lun Law Firm Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2298 7688 Fax: (852) 2525 1099 Email:

12 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM Kirindeep Singh stands as a pillar of expertise and leadership in construction law and dispute resolution. As a senior partner at Dentons Rodyk & Davidson, based in Singapore, Singh has spent 25 years shaping the legal landscape. His role involves overseeing a team of seven professionals. He is the co-head of the construction and international trade practices and the Singapore-India relationship partner. In 1995, Singh received his LLB (Hons) degree from the University of Leeds, and in 1997, he earned his BCL from Oxford University. In 2023, he was designated as a Senior Accredited Specialist in Building and Construction Law by the Singapore Academy of Law. At the forefront of Singh’s professional affiliations is his role as an Arbitrator and Fellow at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is also an Accredited Adjudicator under the Building & Construction Security of Payment Act in Singapore, displaying his commitment to ensuring fairness and adherence to legal standards in the construction industry. In addition to his role at Dentons, Singh contributes to legal education as a Senior Associate Lecturer for Construction Law in the Bachelor of Building and Project Management Programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences and Advocacy Tutor at the National University of Singapore, Law Faculty. His dedication to nurturing the next generation of legal minds reflects his passion for the field. Singh serves as the Past Chair of the International Construction Projects Committee at the Inter-Pacific Bar Association. He also held the position of Immediate past Vice Chair at the Energy & Natural Resources Committee within the same association and is currently the Membership Leader for Singapore. One of Singh’s notable achievements is his involvement in the Ser Kim Koi case, a complex dispute involving the construction of three Good Class Bungalows, in which Singh represented the owner in the appeals. The case, which spanned 85 days of trial, delved into significant legal issues, including force majeure events, extension of time under the SIA Conditions of Contract (2010), professional negligence, and the validity of completion certificates. The Appellate Division’s 254-page judgment, one of the longest in construction law, affirmed the Court of Appeal’s earlier decision that the completion certificate could not be issued before TOP. The division also found the architect grossly negligent and possibly dishonest, emphasizing Singh’s prowess in navigating intricate legal nuances. In another significant case, Singh showcased his legal prowess in a case that revolved around a trust property, with the plaintiff seeking to set aside the trust deed on the grounds of misrepresentation and avoidance of Additional Buyer Stamp Duties (ABSD). Singh successfully defended the defendants, highlighting his skill in navigating complex trust and property matters. Beyond his key works, Singh’s contributions to the legal profession are vast. Co-heading the Construction and International Trade practices at Dentons, he has been recognized as a leading lawyer by numerous publications and is widely recognized by clients and colleagues. Singh’s commitment to excellence is further evidenced by his appointment as a Senior Accredited Specialist in Building and Construction Law by the Singapore Academy of Law in 2023. Singh’s exceptional contributions to construction law and dispute resolution have garnered widespread recognition in esteemed accolades. Continuously acknowledged by Chambers Asia-Pacific as a Leading Individual for Construction from 2021 to 2023, as a Recognized Practitioner for Construction from 2016 to 2020 and being shortlisted by ALB as Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year for 2022, Singh’s consistent excellence is evident. In fact, one client reference for Legal 500 (International Arbitration) stated that Singh is “equivalent to any good construction KC.” His inclusion in lists of leading lawyers, particularly in the construction field, attests to his international acclaim. Moreover, Singh’s Teaching Excellence Award in Construction Law at the Singapore University of Social Sciences in 2018 and his recent promotion to Senior Associate Faculty, reflects his commitment to shaping the next generation of legal professionals. Kirindeep Singh Senior Partner, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson Singapore Tel: (65) 6885 3632 Email:

13 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – DECEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM In the complex realm of international dispute resolution, Yoshinori Tatsuno stands as a prominent figure, wielding his expertise as a Partner at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto in Japan. With four years in his current position, Tatsuno has not only exemplified leadership but has also become a driving force in shaping the landscape of cross-border dispute resolution. In the realm of dispute resolution, Tatsuno specializes in a wide array of matters, including international arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, and civil disputes. His expertise extends to navigating complex issues in Intellectual property (IP) disputes, information technology systems development disputes, and incidents related to consumer products. Tatsuno’s proficiency in corporate and commercial disputes, financial services disputes, and consumer disputes demonstrates a multifaceted skill set honed through years of experience and handling complex cases touching on crossborder issues. In the sphere of information technology, life sciences and IP, Tatsuno’s practice is marked by an in-depth understanding of the complexities that are often visible within each of these different fields. His regulatory expertise encompasses payment services, electronic money, consumer law, financial regulation, health care, pharmaceuticals and medical sciences. Tatsuno’s ability to steer the intricate web of regulations in each of these sectors is a testament to his commitment to providing comprehensive legal solutions. Tatsuno’s commitment to excellence is underscored by his role as deputy head of the international dispute resolution practice group at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto. In this capacity, he leads a team of over 40 specialized lawyers, including a number that are based in offices overseas. His leadership style is characterized by a nuanced understanding of the intricacies involved in cross-border disputes, a testament to his strategic vision and organizational acumen. Affiliated with key institutions, Tatsuno actively contributes to the advancement of dispute resolution in Japan. As a member of the International Chamber of Commerce Japan’s Arbitration Committee since 2021, he shapes the policies governing international arbitration. Furthermore, his role as Deputy Secretary General at the Japan International Dispute Resolution Center, initiated in 2022, reflects his commitment to fostering a robust infrastructure for international dispute resolution in the Asian country. Adding another layer to his commitment, Tatsuno has served as a Member of the Research Planning Committee at the Japan ADR Association since 2023. His involvement in this committee highlights a dedication to advancing alternative dispute resolution methodologies, including arbitration, to enhance Japan’s standing in the global legal landscape. Tatsuno’s professional achievements speak volumes, as evidenced by his consecutive inclusions in multiple domestic and international accolades. Key cases that Tatsuno has managed, involve multijurisdictional arbitration and litigation with the use of different sets of Asian laws governing challenging relationships between plaintiffs and defendants that Tatsuno has represented in Japan and abroad. Beyond accolades, Tatsuno’s dedication to the field is evident in his role as a committee member and deputy secretary general. His contributions to the ICC Japan Arbitration Committee, Japan International Dispute Resolution Center, and Japan ADR Association highlight his commitment to advancing legal frameworks and practices in Japan. In a legal landscape continually evolving with globalization, Tatsuno has emerged as a thought leader, steering Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s international dispute resolution practice with precision. His multidimensional role, blending legal expertise with strategic leadership, positions him as a key influencer in the future of dispute resolution, not just in Japan but on the global stage. As he continues to lead and shape the discourse in international dispute resolution, Tatsuno stands as a beacon of excellence and innovation in the legal profession. Yoshinori Tatsuno Partner, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto Japan Tel: (81) 3 6266 8785 Fax: (81) 3 6266 8685 Email: