What is your primary area of practice, and what drew you to it?
I advise foreign and foreign-invested companies on regulatory matters, M&A, international trade, and general corporate matters. I have assisted numerous Northern-American and European companies in establishing their presence in China, adopting corporate governance systems, and managing employment and commercial matters.
I also frequently support clients in arbitration and litigation. Among others, I represented a number of foreign companies in arbitration proceedings before the CIETAC (in Beijing), the SHIAC (in Shanghai), and the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce, physical hearings in Vienna).
Tell us about a recent memorable project, matter or case that you’ve worked on. What was fun? What was challenging?
A recent case that we closed successfully illustrates some of the difficulties that parties can face. Our client is a large European shipbuilder, and it placed orders with a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) to build 6 pontoons. After various delays, it became clear that the pontoons would never be delivered. Our client canceled the contracts and demanded the return of the advance payments. When the builder refused, our client called the bank guarantee. To suspend pay-out of the bank guarantee, the SOE filed a request for arbitration under ICC rules in Vienna. The arbitration took 3.5 years to complete.
The arbitration award rejected the SOE’s claims. The Chinese SOE then followed up with a lawsuit in China with claims that the arbitral tribunal had denied it. With our efforts to defend in the litigation, our client finally received much more than the Chinese SOE ever offered in settlement, even after deduction of arbitration costs and lawyer fees. Persistence often wins.
Since the pandemic, what is one thing that has improved in your life?
These less busy times allowed me to reflect on myself and reconsider certain aspects of my life, such as getting my priorities straight. I have been able to show resilience during these challenging times.
And now, a wild-card question: What’s your favorite place to visit and why?
Vancouver and Chicago. I was seconded to these two beautiful cities before at the invite of our Ally Law member firms Kornfeld and Much Shelist. I would love to visit again and check-in with all the friends I made.