Taking pause to recognise and celebrate our award-winning in-house teams in Asia, Middle East and South Africa as they continue to inspire, despite all odds
Shortlisted In-House Counsel
In our write up of the In-House Community Counsel of the Year Awards, 2020, we envisioned that in “2021 we [would] come to look at the activities of individual lawyers and also departments during and post-crisis”. Little did we anticipate the pervasive disruptive force that COVID-19 would be, being very much still part and parcel of the present. Be that as it may, on 15 June 2022 – better late than never – we had the great pleasure of welcoming our community back to the In-House Community Counsel of the Year Awards, to recognise the standout efforts in-house teams and counsel made in 2021, with special mention given to external counsel that, too, left a mark. As has come to be the “new normal” given the prevailing pandemic, our In-House Community team arranged for this year’s awards ceremony to be conducted over Zoom. This allowed us to have in attendance 90+ representatives of both in-house and private practice from several jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, UAE, Australia, South Korea, India, UK, South Africa, and Canada – a truly global event, albeit remote! We thank all of you that took the time to participate in this awards process, to recognise the hard work of our community, to celebrate their successes, and to take inspiration from their winning visions.
CATHERINE DANNAOUI OF HANDSON HONG KONG
DAE SAGONG OF YOON & YANG
The online awards were hosted by In-House Community publisher, Rahul Prakash, joined by speakers Tim Gilkison, who founded In-House Community in 1998 and who is currently the business development manager at Praxonomy (a cloud-based secure board portal); Nick Seddon, director of Seddon and Co and former Asia Managing Partner of Eversheds Sutherland and DLA Piper; Fengwen Jiang, a legal force with 25 years of in-house legal experience at top Fortune 500 US and EU companies, as well as private practice and legal tech experience; and, finally, Mitch Kowalski, a globally-recognised thought leader on the changing legal services ecosystem, having both in-house and private practice experience, and the author of two critically acclaimed books on the area. Mitch spoke at our very first Legal Inno’Tech Forum in Hong Kong and it was great to have him back with us.
DANNY BUNYI OF DIVINA LAW
DINGXIAN WANG OF STATE GRID OVERSEAS INVESTMENT
GILBERT GAN OF ZICO LAW
We received a record 160 nominations and submissions for the In-House Community awards from which 51 teams were short-listed for various In-House Industry Award categories (from aviation and banking, to healthcare and TMT; with judges considering how teams faired in terms of their dedication, innovation, efficiency & value, integration, encouragement & improvement, CSR and diversity), In-House Best Practice Team Awards, as well as IHC Teams of the Year. Many law firms and other legal service providers made equally impressive submissions for our judges to consider in both the non-law firm and law firm categories of the Visionary Client Services Award. For the main award of the event, being the In-House Counsel of the Year, 2021, we had 19 exceptional candidates shortlisted.
Shortlisted In-House Counsel of the Year, 2021
Alex Liam, YTL PowerSeraya
Anton Radchenko, AAL Group
Carina Wessels, Alexander Forbes Group
Carl Watson, Arcadis Asia
Chungjin Chung, KOGAS
Dingxian Wang, State Grid Overseas Investment
Divya Kumat, Datamatics Global Services Limited
Hak Kim Michael Ting, Manulife (International)
Hazmi Hisyam, Novartis Asia Pacific Pharmaceuticals
Iryna Kovalchuk, Zakher Marine International
Leslie Zhang, United Energy Group
Michelle Hung, COSCO SHIPPING Ports
Nazih El-Hajj Chehade, Abu Dhabi Healthcare Services
Navrita Kaur, Omesti Berhad
Penny Koo, AIA Singapore
Yuwen Hong, China National Aviation Fuel Logistics
We also took the opportunity to honour select external counsel or private practice lawyers who have navigated the choppy seas of uncertainty that the pandemic brought together with our in-house teams. We took note of the number of votes received, but perhaps more importantly, we took cognisance of the testimonials we received from in-house counsel that made these individuals stand out as trusted, recommended and commended external counsel by the in-house community.
GLADYS CHUN OF LAZADA GROUP
GUILLAUME NASSIF OF EAGLE HILLS PROPERTIES
The unenviable task of picking winners from these submissions landed on the desks of our esteemed panel of judges which included Fengwen Jiang, Mitch Kowalski, Nick Seddon, Clinton Swan, Yosr Hamzah and Carina Wessels. They truly had their work cut out for them given the impressive level of this year’s candidates. We tip our hats to each of you and, once again, extend our thanks.
From the submissions it was clear that most in-house counsel have continued to deal with unprecedented instability, risks and, in several cases, loss over the past 18 months since we met last at these awards. We are reminded of the African proverb: “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors”. This year, we celebrated those lawyers and legal teams who went above and beyond the call of duty to continue to rise to these challenging times and to steer their organisations onto smoother waters.
In keeping with this nautical theme, this past period has brought another saying into sharp focus: “No man is an island” – we are all part of a larger, interdependent community. This year we were heartened to receive many submissions detailing work that transcended the boardroom, creating a positive impact for those on the frontline or otherwise facing difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
The team at Aeon and Co (joint winners in the Retail & Healthcare category), managed to obtain over US$ 2million in rental rebates from landlords to curb difficulties faced by lessees during COVID-19. The team at Lazada Group, meanwhile, worked on providing priority access to healthcare workers. We also acknowledge the hard work of 3M Asia Pacific during this time. The legal team investigated a staggering 14,200+ reports globally of suspected fraud and price gouging of 3M products, including PPE and respirators of use during the pandemic. We give special mention to the decision of 3M to donate monetary benefits derived from these investigations to COVID-19 related non-profit organisations, which no doubt our judges took note of too.
The hotel and hospitality industry was one severely hit by the lockdown measures globally. We recognise the team at Marriott International for rising to the challenge of these unprecedented times through facilitating over 100 new hotel management and franchise projects during the pandemic and working on over 1,000 operational matters/enquiries a year from other departments and properties, winning them the award in the Travel & Leisure category.
Perhaps the most significant happening globally in the period between our last awards and now could be said to be the development and global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. These technologies, some new, some old, have paved the way out of the pandemic for us. Many of our award winners played vital roles in these efforts and were rightly recognised by our judges for their efforts.
The legal team at Asian Development Bank helped to establish a new budget support modality, called the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option (CPRO) and provided support for the establishment of a new US$9 billion vaccine facility. The team also worked on the establishment of the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), to assist client countries procure and deliver effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines. If that wasn’t enough, the team at Asian Development Bank also organised a successful virtual fundraising event, raising almost PHP330,000 for the communities in Philippines affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To this we raise our glasses, and award them joint winners of our Corporate Social Responsibility Award.
HAN LE FROM PFIZER
The legal heads at Pfizer (Vietnam), too, aided in vaccine roll-out by helping to bring the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, which proved to be timely given the quick spread of the virus in the country in 2021 after having managed to remarkably hold the pandemic at bay all throughout 2020. The team at FedEx Express, meanwhile, worked hard to ensure that FedEx would have all the necessary approvals to transport vaccines across AMEA, including the use of SenseAware (a temperature monitoring/tracking device) to track temperature conditions of cold chain shipments, with cold chain management being one of the trickiest elements to the successful rollout of the groundbreaking new mRNA vaccines.
JESSADA SAWATDIPONG OF CHANDLER MHM LIMITED
MELANIE SZE OF MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL
MICHAEL YAU OF EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND
We recognised in 2020 that much innovation in the legal sphere was dominated by those technologies and ideas that helped buoy the legal profession and the businesses it serves in the turbulent waters of the pandemic. This remains ever as true today and many of our submissions impressed us with the innovative solutions our community have embraced to meet the challenges they have been presented with head on. We are sure that these solutions, many of which have been necessitated by crisis, will serve to strengthen the profession in the years ahead as we move to a more digital future.
RAHUL PRAKASH, IN-HOUSE COMMUNITY
ROSSANA CHU OF LC LAWYERS
Navrita Kaur of Omesti Berhad in Malaysia is one such innovator who saw her team transition to a fully virtual environment in record time at the start of the pandemic – despite only just returning from maternity leave herself! We also recognise her passion for equal rights and women’s rights and her advocacy which saw important changes being made to Group policies, such as improved maternity leave and equalising of benefits – indeed, innovation is not always digital!
This year we also recognise the team at Accenture for their implementation of several tech tools, including ALICE, an AI powered contract exploration tool created by and for Accenture Legal which leverages big data analytics and machine learning technologies to provide targeted intelligent searching of their contract data base. The team at CocaCola Beverages Philippines created The Legal Hub for internal collaboration and communication with business partners while also training a whopping 9,110 associates in data privacy. The Lazada Group is commended on their implementation of a regulatory watch bot with an automated alert system to inform on regulatory updates on consumer protection laws to cybersecurity regulations in the region. We also recognise the legal team at A.S. Watson Group by awarding them the prize for Innovation – Asia, for their work in developing eLearning modules in-house, a virtual board meeting tool, a supplier/ compliance screening and due diligence tool, and a customer journey review tool (to name only a few here).
In the fields of banking and insurance, we take note of the innovations of the ICICI bank team in implementing the Contract Automation System and ChatBot FAQ, together with several Online Dispute Resolution initiatives started by the team. Malayan Banking (Maybank), meanwhile, worked with the Group’s Virtual Banking team to launch the first ever digital SME financing powered by artificial intelligence and the first Syariah-compliant e-wallet, as well as the ‘Sama Lokal’ e-commerce platform. AIA Singapore rightfully impressed us in their partnering with GovTech and Kofax, which made AIA the first insurer in Singapore to provide customers with enhanced government-supported user verification capabilities – the “Sign with SingPass” feature.
In putting client experience first, our Visionary Law Firm of the Year winner, L&L Partners, developed a new CRM system which connects the firm with clients to allow swifter communication. Clients now have real time visibility of the progress on their specific matters. We were further impressed by their offer of lower rates to clients which are in the nascent stage of development (i.e. start-ups). They have also given emphasis and strategic focus to start-ups in the field of sustainable living, green energy and manufacturing under the Make in India initiative. The team at Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc also went above and beyond for their stockholders, ensuring that annual stockholders’ meetings for Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc and Aboitiz Power Corporation for the years 2020 and 2021 could be conducted online and be internally managed from start to finish, resulting in their enterprise being one of the few publicly-listed companies in the Philippines that were able to successfully conduct such meetings remotely, ensuring the voices of stockholders would continue to be given prominence.
WORDS FROM OUR WINNERS
The IHC Team of the Year, 2021 – Middle East justly went to Accenture which, in addition to the innovate work above, also developed Accenture Access and Legal Volunteering Programmes which create opportunities for the team to participate in mentoring, teaching and volunteering in the region. In accepting this award on behalf of the team, Liz Williamson credited hard work and determination for the win, noting that she thinks it is their “diversity and innovative mindset that has maintained [the] team’s momentum over the last 2 years to really bring value.“
The IHC Team of the Year – Asia winners, Coca Cola Philippines, found favour with our judges not just for their innovative approach to business but for their work in shaping a workplace that is inclusive for all. In the preceding period they developed “Comics”, a shorthand for Communication on Ethics, which are delivered every month and include topics such as bullying in the workplace and Safe Spaces. Indicative of this move to inclusion, notably half of the legal leadership team are women, with a third of all lawyers belonging to the LGBT+ group. On accepting the award, Terence Fernando said: “Any team award really depends on the dedication and professionalism of its members. So, to all my lawyers, paralegals and support staff, a big thank you to you all.”
SHOGO OSAKA OF FEDEX EXPRESS
STANLEY LUI OF T I FLUID SYSTEMS
TEAM FROM ACCENTURE
TEAM FROM ADB
TEAM FROM ETIHAD RAIL
From an impressive shortlist of worthy competition, our judges picked Penny Koo, AIA Singapore, as this year’s In-House Counsel of the Year. Penny sits on the Operational Risk Committee, Data Governance Committee, and Agency Misconduct Appeal Board. She is also the chief architect behind AIA’s first Women’s Network – “Where Empowered Women Empower Women”. On accepting this award, Penny acknowledged and gave thanks to her team: “First of all, it is a great honour and privilege. I am really heartened that the AIA Singapore legal team has also won the Insurance Award and been shortlisted for some of the other categories. A huge thanks to the team. I don’t say this enough, but I try to – I am immensely grateful to all of you. I have such a unique, talented team. It is so diverse and all of you take such pride in everything that you do, consistently and collaboratively. Thank you, this is really dedicated to the team.” You can hear more from Penny in this month’s In-House Insights feature.
TEAM FROM MALAYSIA AIRLINES
TEAM FROM MAYBANK
TEAM FROM RGE
TERENCE FERNANDO – COCA-COLA BEVERAGES PHILIPPINES
TIM GILKISON OF PRAXONOMY AND FOUNDER OF IN-HOUSE COMMUNIT
TRACY TURNER OF A.S. WATSON GROUP
YOSR HAMZA OF GARTNER
HANDSON HONG KONG
A stark takeaway from the pandemic and the isolation it brought with it, is that we are better and stronger together. As we build back, we recognise the importance of community and of lending a helping hand to those who need it most. We were grateful to once again this year be partnering with HandsOn Hong Kong, who were in fact present at the very first awards of the In-House Community, coming full circle. HandsOn Hong Kong is a charitable organisation with the mission of “empowering everyone in Hong Kong to volunteer”. They run 200 programs a month, supporting more than 100 grassroots charities and providing upwards of 16,000 volunteer opportunities! Catherine Dannaoui, Deputy Executive Director of HandsOn Hong Kong, joined us to introduce her organisation and kindly announce a further tranche of winning participants in our awards. She shared just a few of the many programs making up their monthly agenda for volunteers – including providing care packages to the elderly with chronic illness and from low-income families; virtual homework help and confidence building for children with learning challenges (a particularly vulnerable group of children during the pandemic given school closures); and ongoing caring phone calls to lonely elderly, demonstrating that even the smallest acts of kindness can be hugely felt. In 2021, HandsOn Hong Kong supported 82,000 people through 3,300 community programs. A donation to this charitable hub for volunteers and NGO partners was made possible through participation in our awards.
A WORD OF THANKS
A huge thank you and congratulations to all the winners and those shortlisted for the In-House Community Counsel of the Year Awards, 2021, for your submissions and for your attendance. Without all of you we would not be able to empower the role of the in-house counsel as is our aim at In-House Community.
Winner of the IHC Counsel of the Year Award, 2021
• Launched a fully digital in-house contract review and approval platform.
• On-boarded electronic signature.
• Penny sits on Operational Risk Committee, Data Governance Committee, and Agency Misconduct Appeal Board.
• Chief architect behind AIA’s first Women’s Network – “Where Empowered Women Empower Women”.
IN-HOUSE INDUSTRY AWARDS
- Digitalisation of the workflow under six months.
- Completing restructuring within a record four and a half months.
Banking – Middle East
First Abu Dhabi Bank
- Completed acquisition of Bank Audi.
- Carved out ‘Magnati’ from existing payments business.
Banking – Asia
Malayan Banking (Maybank)
- Establishment of legal portal.
- First PHP-linked loaned for Maybank Singapore.
- First MBFI Reverse Repo with a corporate bond – The Team assisted with the first GMRA with Hong Kong CP.
3M Asia Pacific
- Investigated +14,200 reports globally of suspected fraud, and price gouging of 3M products (PPEs, Respirators, etc.) with monetary benefits to be donated to COVID-19 related non-profit organisations.
Energy & Natural Resources – South Africa
- Successful restructuring of baking facilities under challenging operational environment (riots and civil unrest, change of Group CEO, new shareholder acquiring control)
Energy & Natural Resources – Asia
• US$750M first sustainability-linked syndicated loan for palm business Apical Group.
• CA$1b acquisition of Pacific Canbriam Energy, Canada.
Financial Services – ex-banking
Asian Development Bank
- Helped established a new budget support modality called the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option (CPRO).
- Provided support for the establishment of the new $9 billion vaccine facility
FMCG – Middle East
- Created at zero cost to company a MENAP Control & Compliance Resource Centre which houses all of Mondelez’s key compliance policies.
- Trained over 500 Mondelez employees.
- Partnered with GovTech and Kofax, making AIA the first insurer in Singapore to provide customers with enhanced government-supported user verification capabilities – “Sign with SingPass” feature.
Life Science & Pharma – Middle East
Abu Dhabi Healthcare Services
- Established the first contract department in the region.
- Membership of the internal investigation committee and grievance committee.
Life Science & Pharma – Asia
- Helped bring Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam.
- Initiated a new contract review process.
Manufacturing & Engineering
Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines
• Created The Legal Hub for internal collaboration and communication with business partners.
• Training of 9,110 associates in Data Privacy.
Property, Infrastructure & Logistics – Middle East
- Secured land rights across the UAE, as well as critical No Objection Certificates (a total of 4561 NOCs were successfully negotiated during 2020) across the entire 1200 km project site.
Property, Infrastructure & Logistics – Asia
- Strategic alliance with Delhivery.
- Ensuring that FedEx has the necessary regulatory approvals to transport vaccines across AMEA, including the use of SenseAware (a temperature monitoring/tracking device) to track temperature conditions of cold chain shipments.
Retail & Healthcare
A S Watson Group (Joint winner)
- Middle East franchise agreement signed in four weeks.
- Ensuring the company can accept government consumption vouchers on mobile checkout devices.
- ASW legal team’s suite of eLegal tools to manage its sizeable portfolio across our different markets.
Retail & Healthcare
Aeon Co. (Joint winner)
• Managed to obtain over US$ 2M rental rebate from landlords to curb difficulties faced during COVID-19.
• Worked on launching of MYAEON2GO online shopping platform.
Technology, Media & Telecoms – Middle East
- Acquisition of Appspro in Saudi Arabia.
- Avanade, an Accenture and Microsoft joint venture, begins UAE operations.
- Implementation of several tech tools, including ALICE, an AI powered contract exploration tool created by and for Accenture Legal.
Technology, Media & Telecoms – Asia
- Implementation of a regulatory watch bot with an automated alert system to inform on regulatory updates on consumer protection laws to cybersecurity regulations in the region.
- Worked on providing priority access to healthcare workers.
Travel & Leisure
- Facilitated over 100 new hotel management and franchise projects during the pandemic.
- Worked on over 1,000 operational matters/ enquiries a year from other departments and properties.
IN-HOUSE BEST PRACTICE TEAMS AWARDS
Change Management – Middle East
Eagle Hills Properties
- Handled an increased number of FIDICrelated pre-litigation, litigation, and arbitration processes (all triggered by COVID-19 and implying EOT, claim of additional costs, etc.) within the UAE, Serbia, and Morocco. Completed one of the company’s biggest M&A transactions while facing an unforeseen departure of number of key legal personnel.
Change Management – Asia
- Listing of the business as ‘essential service’ during the pandemic restrictions to allow for deliveries.
- Supported the great “pivot” which included providing legal analyses and risk assessments for rapidly created business models, advising on return to office measures and vaccine mandates and supporting the shift from live to virtual events.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Asian Development Bank (Joint winner)
- Helped establish specialised “green benches” in Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Philippines.
- Organized a virtual fundraising event to raise almost PHP330,000 for the communities in Philippines affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Established Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), to assist client countries procure and deliver effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Lazada Group (Joint winner)
- Lazada became the first ecommerce platform to collaborate with the Indonesian Ministry of Cooperatives and SME to launch the “Kakak Asuh” (which translates to “foster brother”) Program (“KAU Program”).
- Providing priority access to healthcare workers.
- Providing depressed sectors and workers with alternative revenue channels.
Ping An Insurance (Joint winner)
- Compliance of up to seven groups of companies listed across Hong Kong, PRC and US, dealing with 3 sets of listing rules and the laws of over 25 jurisdictions in which the company operates or have investments in.
- A Ping An entity is licensed to pioneer virtual banking and contributed to the development of the Fintech market with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
TI Fluid Systems (Joint winner)
- ‘COOmpLiance’ videos on Force Majeure and Hospitality Practices to engage and educate front-line commercial teams.
- Providing compliance training insights to other in-house counsel teams via online events.
Diversity – Middle East
- Co-established & Co-leading Gartner’s legal DEI Advisory Council, which is a voluntary council intended to provide a platform to help develop & infuse best practices within our legal team that ensure alignment to Gartner’s DEI strategy.
- Co-leading ‘Mosaic at Gartner’ (celebrating underrepresented racial, ethnic and multicultural identities) within the company’s ERG initiatives.
Diversity – Asia
- Legal department chairs DE&I group at the organisation. The two Legal leaders, SVP Legal & General Counsel International AMEA and VP Legal, Regulatory & Human Resources, are the Chairs of the FedEx AMEA DE&I Councils.
- Implementation of diversity talent acquisition, incorporate periodic gender equity pay reviews, lactation rooms for nursing mothers at facilities and have increased paternity leave benefits for male employees in a number of locations.
Innovation – Middle East
- ALICE is an AI powered Contract Exploration tool created by and for Accenture Legal which leverages big data analytics and machine learning technologies to provide targeted intelligent searching of contract data base.
- ThinkFit tool for the Legal team to assist in closing sales deals. It is a one stop shop for direct access to offering-based guidance, fit for purpose contract templates and access to Legal Subject Matter Experts globally.
- Implementation of contracting tools such as ManageMyDeal (MMD), Legal Connection, Get Support and Ask COBE (Code of Business Ethics), reduced response times to strategic questions and enabled a better understanding of global contracting trends provided cost savings tactics enabled contract signature in minutes, rather than days, while customising contracts in accordance with local requirements.
Innovation – Asia
A.S. Watson Group
- eLearning modules developed in house, Privacy assessment, compliance and inventory within centralised online tool, e-signature, Virtual board meeting tool, Document automation/ self-serve, Legal Portal, Supplier/compliance screening and due diligence tool, Customer journey review tool, Contract and matter management lifecycle and workflow system.
- ‘Virtual market tours’ of stores and teams facilitating learning innovation between teams.
Integration – Middle East
- Enhancement of the Artwork Review Process: Ways of working between the MENAP Legal team and the Marketing department on the review process required for current and new product packaging. This review is critical to ensuring both consumer protection and compliance with local law.
- Contract Standardisation & Simplification: The standardisation and simplification of contracts used by the Sales department.
- Procurement Capabilities Building: Enhancing the Procurement team’s capabilities with respect to contract reviews.
- Communication and Awareness Building: Providing easily accessible and digestible material to the wider MENAP business on key legal issues.
Integration – Asia
A. S. Watson Group (Joint Winner)
- Weekly management meeting, monthly business updates with each business unit, budget meetings and strategic reviews, as well as all country head engagement initiatives determining
- the strategic direction of the company.
- The Group General Counsel advises the board of directors and investment committee, and participates in group-wide initiatives by ensuring legal team participation in committees such as the CSR Committee, Think Digital Committee, Group Data Protection Steering Committee, Data Privacy Champions Network, Digital Marketing Champions Network.
Integration – Asia
Malayan Banking (Maybank)
- Legal has centralised its department to grow it according to business unit needs rather than geographic needs.
- Working with the Group’s Virtual Banking team to launch first ever digital SME financing powered by artificial intelligence and the first Syariah-compliant e-wallet, as well as ‘Sama Lokal’ e-commerce platform.
- Establishment of an online legal portal which aims to create greater accessibility between legal department and the different arms of the group.
Technology Integration – Middle East
- Implementation of contracting tools such as ManageMyDeal (MMD), Legal Connection, Get Support and Ask COBE (Code of Business Ethics).
- Implementation of tech tools such as, ALICE, ThinkFit, Accenture Translate.
Technology Integration – Asia
- Implementation of Contract Automation System, ChatBot FAQ, Litigation management, Digital Document Management.
- Several Online Dispute Resolution initiatives started by the team.
Transactional – South Africa
- Due to severe liquidity constraints and a challenging operating environment, the Group had to restructure all its existing banking facilities in the amount of ZAR2.5 billion.
- The restructure required intense negotiations by the Team with 11 lenders, represented by various legal counsel over a period of 18 months.
- The restructure resulted in the reduction of the number of lenders from 11 to 4, the exiting of 7 lenders and the conversion of short-term debt to long term secured debt, ensuring a sustainable capital structure for the Group.
Transactional – Asia
Li Auto (Joint winner)
- SuperONE Project is a Hong Kong listing project and, under legal team’s lead, Li Auto has achieved a “Dual Primary Listing” on HKEX.
Transactional – Asia
MTR Corporation (Joint winner)
- The award of Shenzhen Metro Line 13 PPP Project in August 2020, and operations and maintenance concession for the Mälartåg train service.
- The opening of Hong Kong’s Tuen Ma Line, Shenzhen Metro Line 4 North Extension, Hangzhou.
- Metro Line 5, Hangzhou Metro Line 1 Phase 3 (Airport Extension) and the Middle Section of Beijing Line Metro Line 16.
Small Team – Asia
State Grid Overseas Investment Limited
- Acquisition of 49% equity of Oman Electricity Transmission Company (OETC), a “One Belt One Road” project.
- Acquisition of 100% equity stake in the Chilean power utility company Chilquinta Energía S.A. from the US seller Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).
- Takeover of the listed Chilean electricity distribution operator CGE.
- The three-member legal compliance and risk management team worked on issuance of senior corporate bonds, provision of M&A funds to group subsidiaries, bank facilities, fixed income financial securities investment, and more.
Small Team – South Africa
AFGRI Group Holding
- The Team now consists of 2 legal advisors and the General Counsel.
- Restructure of Group’s banking facilities.
- Unbundling of Retail Joint Venture.
- The disposal of Nedan.
- The disposal of AFGRI Zambia to Tata.
- USD 50 million Bridge Facility.
- Change in the Group CEO, Group CFO, several board members and a controlling shareholder.
- The Team provided induction training to new Board members.
IHC TEAM OF THE YEAR, 2021 – ASIA
Coca-Cola Beverages, Philippines
- Creating The LEGAL HUB – intranet-incorporated systematised platform for collaboration and communication with business partners.
- e-Trainings and Comics. Education on topics like anti-bribery, bullying in the workplace, and Safe Spaces, by transforming them into “Comics,” a shorthand for Communications on Ethics.
- Comics are released every month via email, and are engaging by design, with content that’s easy to digest and easy to relate to.
- Half of the Legal Leadership Team are women. A third of the lawyers belong to the LGBT+ group.
IHC TEAM OF THE YEAR, 2021 – MIDDLE EAST
- ALICE is an AI powered Contract Exploration tool created by and for Accenture Legal.
- Accenture Translate to securely translate text, pictures, documents and voice.
- Implementation of contracting tools such as ManageMyDeal (MMD), Legal Connection, Get Support and Ask COBE (Code of Business Ethics).
- Collaborated on the entry of Avanade into the UAE – a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture.
- Liz Williamson sits on Accenture Middle East’s Inclusion & Diversity Committee and is an Employee Experience Pillar Lead.
- Accenture Middle East’s Legal Access and Legal Volunteering Programmes create opportunities for the team to participate in mentoring, teaching and volunteering in the region.
VISIONARY NON-LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR
- Lawcadia is a cloud-based platform that in-house legal teams and their law firms use for matter management, legal intake and triage, and legal spend management.
- Powered by Lawcadia’s technology, the Gadens Breach Manager streamlines the information collation, assessment and reporting process of potential regulatory issues to one online platform, allowing financial services institutions to ensure defensible, timely and cost-effective compliance with the new regimes and regimes with increased obligations.
- New Client Collaboration Workspace, law firms can also communicate and project manage seamlessly with their clients by sharing files, completed documents, status updates, messages and beautiful Gantt charts.
VISIONARY LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR
- Firm arranged for vaccination camps for its members.
- Newly developed CRM system which connects firm with client to allow swifter communication with them. Clients have real time visibility of the progress on their specific matters and they can access reports of the time spent by counsel on working on their matters.
- Lower rates to clients which are in the nascent stage of development i.e. Start-ups. Emphasis and strategic focus on start-ups in the field of sustainable living, green energy and manufacturing under the Make in India initiative of government.
Commended External Counsel, 2021
Amy Dai (Guangying), Global Law Office
Chaoying (Charles) Li, Han Kun Law Offices
John Yong Ren, T&D Associates
Laura Luo, King & Wood Mallesons
Zhao Ye, Jingtian & Gongcheng
Zhen Huang, UGGC Advocats
Vivian Zhang, Fangda Partners
Yu Leimin, King & Wood Mallesons
Alvin Ho, Pinsent Masons
Chris Lambert, Robertsons
Donovan Ferguson, King & Wood Mallesons
Eric Tan, Ashurst
Jason Webber, Slaughter and May
Jojo Fan, Herbert Smith Freehills
Sarah Berkeley, Simmons & Simmons
Tommy Liu, Hogan Lovells
“Michael is very well versed in trade finance matters and provides us with sound commercial advice.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
“Rossana provides commercially sensible advice and has solid technical skills.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Ajay Behl, AZB & Partners
Ashwath Rau, AZB & Partners
Khaitan & Co
“He’s an astute lawyer, always to the point and provides great value.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Rajiv Luthra, L&L Partners
Amir Syamsudin, Amir Syamsudin & Partners
Dr. Yozua Makes, Makes & Partners
Eri Hertiawan, Assegaf Hamzah & Partners
Hafzan Taher, Soemadipradja & Taher
Iqbal Darmawan, HHP Law Firm
Hiroshi Uchima, Nishimura & Asahi
Masakazu Masujima, Mori Hamada Matsumoto
Amin Abdul Majid, ZICO Law
Datin Jeyanthini Kannaperan, Shearn Delamore & Co
Datin Seet Hooi Ping, Albar & Partners
Dato Azmi Mohd Ali
Azmi & Associates
“Dato Azmi Mohd Ali’s commitment to train and develop the younger generation of lawyers is commendable.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Adnan Sundra & Low
“Deepak exceeds expectations, always! A formidable legal counsel with vast knowledge and expertise.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Elias Moubarak, Trowers & Hamlins
G. Vijay Kumar, Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill
Zaid Ibrahim & Co (a member of ZICO Law)
“Gilbert is one of the best lawyers in Malaysia when it comes to M&A.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
John Mathew, Christopher Lee Ong
Kherk Ying Chew, Wong & Partners (Baker McKenzie)
Wong Jin Nee, Wong Jin Nee & Teo
Daniel Nicholas C. Darvin, VTD Law Firm
“Atty. Bunyi has a great ability to provide highly-tailored advice to our business which he understands well.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
George S.D. Aquino, ACCRALAW
Hector De Leon Jr., SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan
Ocampo & Suralvo
“Atty. Ocampo’s work is meticulous and thorough – always top quality.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Michael T. Macapagal, Quisumbing Torres (Baker McKenzie)
Monalisa Dimalanta, PJS Law
Roberto Miguel Ramiro, PJS Law
Aaron Lee, Allen & Gledhill
Ik Wei Chong, Clyde & Co
Simon Goh, Rajah & Tann
Sushil Nair, Drew & Napier
Toh Kok Seng, Lee & Lee
Judd Lurie, Bowmans
Neil Kirby, Werksmans Attorneys
Patrick Bracher, Norton Rose Fulbright
Yoon & Yang
“Dae Sagong is driven, reliable, responsive, and accommodating of client’s needs and requests. He is well versed with both commercial and litigation matters, which is helpful in structuring complex transactions and handling pre-or post-acquisition legal issues.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Yoon & Yang
“Having worked with Edward, I can say that he is an excellent operator.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Oh Ryung Lee, Bae, Kim & Lee
Sang Hoon Lee, Lee&Ko
Sang Min Lee, Kim & Chang
Sun Hee Kim, Yulchon
Yong Sang Kim, Kim & Chang
“Jessada’s vision and focus as a lawyer is commendable – highly recommended.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Kudun Sukhumananda, Kudun & Partners
Samata Masagee, DLA Piper
Stephen Jaggs, Allen & Overy
Weerawong Chittmittrapap, Weerawong C&P
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Ben Constance, DWF
Camille Abousleiman, Dechert
Christopher R. Williams, Bracewell
Hadef & Partners
“Dina has outstanding legal skills paired with very good technical knowledge and understanding of our business.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Dr. Ahmad Bin Hezeem, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates
James R. Stull, King & Spalding
Matthew Shanahan, Norton Rose Fulbright
Nick Sharratt, Stephenson Harwood
Samer Qudah, Al Tamimi & Company
Bui Ngoc Hong
LNT & Partners
“He’s a very well-experienced lawyer in Vietnam with a pragmatic and commercial approach.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Hung Q. Nguyen
VILAF & Partners
“Hung always gives prompt and reliable solutions to client’s questions.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
K. Minh Dang, YKVN
Kien Trung Trinh, Tilleke & Gibbins
Lan Phuong Nguyen, Baker McKenzie
Lê Nết, LNT & Partners
Ngoc Anh Bui, VILAF
Nguyễn Anh Tuấn
LNT & Partners
“Tuan understands the needs of the clients, is responsive and provides sound and practical legal advice.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel
Truong Nhat Quang
“He is not only a good private practice lawyer but he also does a lot for the development of next generation of lawyers.” – Testimonial from an In-House Counsel