April 29, 2024
In this issue, we are excited to present our annual showcase of the standout firms of the year for 2023. These firms have demonstrated exceptional commitment, innovation, and service to their clients, setting the bar high for legal excellence across various practice areas and regions. But, before we dive into celebrating these remarkable firms, let us take a moment to reflect on the evolving landscape of legal practice.   Jump to the winning firms. Firms Of The Year China Firms Of The Year Philippines Firms Of The Year Thailand Firms Of The Year Hong Kong  Firms Of The Year Singapore Firms Of The Year UAE Firms Of The Year Malaysia  Firms Of The Year South Korea Firms Of The Year Vietnam The Rise of AI In recent years, the integration of technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), has revolutionised the legal landscape, promising efficiency gains and transformative impacts on traditional legal processes. Beyond contract analysis, AI technologies are increasingly being employed across various facets of legal practice, including legal research, due diligence, document automation, and predictive analytics Harvey, supported by the OpenAI Startup Fund and leveraging cutting-edge OpenAI and ChatGPT technology, made significant gains into the legal market in 2023. Harvey, built on a version of Open AI’s latest models enhanced for legal work, represents a transformative leap in AI-driven legal solutions. Through its natural language processing, machine learning, and data analytics capabilities, Harvey has the potential to automate and enhance various aspects of legal work, including contract analysis, due diligence, litigation, and regulatory compliance. While the output requires careful review by lawyers, Harvey could accelerate the process by generating insights,...
April 25, 2024
We recently asked Kenneth Wong, Chief Legal Officer and Company Secretary at LINK REIT, to share more about his remarkable professional journey. As a co-winner of the IHC Counsel of the Year in 2023, Kenneth highlights his approach to becoming a successful in-house counsel in this Q&A… Tell us a bit about your legal journey that has led you to your role as chief legal officer and company secretary at LINK. I took my law degree in the UK and was trained as a solicitor in Hong Kong. I co-founded a corporate and commercial law firm in Hong Kong when I had only seven years of PQE and acted as its Managing Partner for fifteen years until my retirement from the partnership in 2016. During that period, the firm grew from three fee earners to fifty fee earners and eventually merged with an international law firm. After resting for a while to take a Masters Degree, I joined a Chinese conglomerate (HNA Group) as its International General Counsel to set up a strong team of transactional lawyers at its International Headquarters in Hong Kong to make acquisitions around the world. During the three years at HNA, my team completed more than HK$300 Billion of acquisitions and related financing. Hence, HNA became a Fortune Global Top 100 company. I also set up a Virtual Global Legal Centre to link up all the general counsels of the newly acquired companies around the world. The Virtual Global Legal Centre oversaw more than 300 in-house lawyers in the larger HNA Group. In 2019, I took up my current role at the largest REIT...
April 25, 2024
Evaluating Admissibility of Confidential Information as Evidence in Disputes BUI NGOC HONG, LE THANH CONG AND NGO DINH THIEN To start a legal due diligence (LDD) investigation, it is customary for the purchaser to be bound by confidentiality obligations under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) signed with the target/sellers. The NDA is expected to prevent the purchaser from disclosing the confidential information gained during the LDD process. When an M&A dispute arises, the following questions become practical for dispute resolution: • Is the disclosure of information to the arbitral tribunal or arbitration center considered a breach of the NDA? • Will the arbitral tribunal accept the confidential information as evidence for resolving the dispute? The following case in this article will offer practical insights into the legal considerations surrounding the disclosure of confidential information in arbitration proceedings in Vietnam. Case Background The M&A transaction in this case involves a purchaser contemplating to acquire a majority stake in a target that operates an international hospital in Vietnam. Before commencing the LDD investigation, the parties executed an NDA specifying that all information provided must remain confidential, with the sole exception being disclosure required by State authorities. During the LDD investigation, a misdiagnosis incident was disclosed to the purchaser. However, it was asserted by the sellers/target that this incident does not qualify as medical malpractice and accordingly, the sellers warranted that, to the best of their knowledge, no medical malpractice involving the target has occurred. Nevertheless, after closing, the purchaser became aware of other documents raising concerns about this incident potentially being a medical malpractice. The purchaser then sought to terminate this transaction,...
April 25, 2024
NHUT NGUYEN HUU MINH In our recent survey of in-house counsel, Russin & Vecchi was selected as a Law Firm of the Year in the Banking & Finance category. Nhut Nguyen Huu Minh, a partner in the Ho Chi Minh City office shares his views on the borrowing landscape in Vietnam. What Are Your Observations Regarding The Borrowing Trends Within The Vietnamese Market Currently And For The Next 12 Months? After a low-slung 2022, offshore borrowings turned around and gained an uptick in 2023. Offshore borrowings by the private sector in 2023 reached around 26% of the GDP, surpassing 2021’s figure of 23%. The FDI segment remains the key player, taking most of the big ticket borrowings. For example, we acted in several construction financings in 2023, like the financing for the construction of the largest water purifier production facility in Vietnam by Kangaroo International JV. The momentum is expected to continue for the next 12 months, as many FDI companies make efforts to come back when the world recession improves. How Does The Regulation Of Offshore Borrowing Compare To That Of Onshore Borrowing In Vietnam? Offshore borrowing is regulated differently than onshore borrowing in a number of aspects. The government regulates offshore borrowings mainly from the perspective of managing the volume of foreign currency inflows and outflows. One key difference is offshore loans must be used for a limited number of specific purposes, for example, as one of the permitted purposes, an offshore loan can only be used to refinance an existing offshore debt (not an onshore debt) of the borrower. Generally, medium or long-term offshore loans (having...
November 10, 2023
On the changing role of a General Counsel Your Career Journey Has Traversed Multiple Countries With Roles In-house As Well As Private Practice. Can You Tell Us About Your Journey So Far? I am currently the General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer of TLC Industries and was hired as part of Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s investment in TLC in March 2022. My expertise is in construction projects, governance controls and turnaround management. TLC is a property developer with a specialised expertise in sustainable modular construction, operating across the Asia-Pacific. I am also responsible for delivering the group’s compliance program, the core focus of which is on corporate governance, anti-bribery/anti-corruption controls, data protection, diversity/inclusion, and supply chain controls. GCs are no longer limited to a reactive role and often find themselves in the centre of disruption management Prior to joining TLC, I worked at Norton Rose LLP in London and Abu Dhabi. I then moved in-house and was Corporate Counsel at Jacobs Engineering Group in Singapore, Mumbai, and Hong Kong. Most recently, I served as the General Counsel, Head of Compliance and Director of Standard Chartered PE’s portfolio company Maxpower Group (as well as the Maxpower-Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Joint Venture) in Singapore, Jakarta and Rangoon. I am a former Visiting Scholar at Duke Law School in North Carolina and engaged, at both Duke and the University of Fribourg Law School in Switzerland, in advanced research on why compliance programs fail. Being In The Industry As Long Have You Have, What Has Been Your Experience Of The Evolving Nature Of The General Counsel Role Over The Last Decade? GCs play...
July 12, 2023
On how legal teams are evolving and how embracing technology and fostering safe environments build better businesses What Inspired You To Transition From Private Practice To Public Service And Then Back To The Private Sector? How Did Each Experience Shape Your Legal Career? After passing the bar, I started working in a law firm because I thought that was where you learned the practice of law. For about four years, I was fortunate enough to work for a retired Supreme Court Justice. I picked up a lot of learnings, just by watching him argue and examine witnesses in court, drafting pleadings for him, riding in the car and talking about case strategy, oral arguments, and all the hard work that accompanies case preparation. Thereafter, I was appointed as a special prosecutor. My job was investigating and prosecuting erring government officials. Working for the government has its own opportunities and challenges, but I learned so much about the inner workings of the government, how the local and national government agencies creates its budget, advance its policies and laws, and provide public services. Of course, I was also able to see the not-so-good side as well, such as inefficiency and corruption. After five years, I thought I was ready to move on and I transferred to become an in-house counsel. This is where I truly felt I belonged, and I have been in this space for over twelve years now. For me, having a deep understanding of the business is key to being successful in an in-house role, as well as having effective leadership and communication skills. Each of my work...