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Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2021

About the awards

We are delighted to host Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2021. The awards recognise a law firm’s pre-eminence in key jurisdictions in the region. They also reflect achievements over the past 12 months including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service. They honour the work of national and international law firms across the region based on the research for the recent edition of Chambers Asia-Pacific.

Event Details:
Event date
Thursday, 15 April 2021 - Tuesday, 18 June 2024
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Event location
Online
Dennis Li, Chambers Editor - Greater China Region
Sarah Kogan Chambers Asia-Pacific Editor
Sarah Kogan, Chambers Editor - Asia Pacific
Speaker of Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide Launch
James Watts, Chambers Deputy Editor - Asia-Pacific

Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2021 - Shortlists

Australia Law Firm of the Year
Allens
Ashurst
Clayton Utz
Herbert Smith Freehills
King & Wood Mallesons
MinterEllison

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills maintains a dominant market position as one of Australia’s leading law firms, with a suite of strong rankings across the practice areas at both the firm and individual practitioner level. The group has a standout offering in the areas of Corporate/M&A and Dispute Resolution. Its top-class litigation expertise is further bolstered by strength with regards to international arbitration, whilst the firm’s leading M&A practice is showcased by its recent role as advisor to TPG Telecom on its AUD15 billion merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia. Further areas of excellence include impressive capabilities in the banking and finance, real estate and energy and natural resources spaces. The firm is widely praised for its “consistently outstanding work,” with a client noting: “You can’t go past HSF for their top quality and user-friendly legal advice and support.”Another highlights the practical nature of the advice, commenting: “The expertise is top notch but what really sets them apart is how their advice is balanced between legal positions and commercial realities,”and a further client opines: “No other firm has the same depth of experience and flexibility in tough deals.”

China (PRC Firms) Corporate Law Firm of the Year
Fangda Partners
Han Kun Law Offices
Jingtian & Gongcheng
JunHe LLP
King & Wood Mallesons
Zhong Lun Law Firm

Winner: King & Wood Mallesons 

King & Wood Mallesons is renowned as a longstanding full-service firm that fields a deep bench of corporate law specialists based across the region, including core teams in Beijing, Shanghai and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. The firm remains a go-to practice for major domestic and international transactions, providing advice to major SOEs, domestic financial institutions as well as multinationals on a broad spectrum of services including M&A, asset restructuring, private equity, and joint venture. Clients describe it as “a large operation in China”, hailing its “M&A and corporate governance work as extremely good.” A work of late includes its representation of Daimler in forming a 50/50 joint venture with Zhejiang Geely Holding to further develop the client’s electric urban vehicle brand Smart. The law firm is also particularly highlighted for its specialist sector expertise in insurance and energy and ably handles outbound direct investment involving multiple jurisdictions, such as Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia.  

China (PRC Firms) Finance Law Firm of the Year
Fangda Partners
Global Law Offices
Jingtian & Gongcheng
JunHe LLP
King & Wood Mallesons
Zhong Lun Law Firm

Winner: Jingtian & Gongcheng 

Jingtian & Gongcheng provides top-drawer advice on a wide range of banking and finance and public securities offerings. It is highly skilled at acting on project finance and syndicated loans, with clients endorsing its “ability to explain the differences and intricacies in Chinese law when it comes to cross-border financings” and highlighting its “legal advice that covers all angles.” The law firm maintains a superb reputation in equity capital market, advising on high-profile IPOs and private placements. It is highly sought after by issuers and underwriters in international ADS offerings in the USA as well as equity and multicurrency bond issuances in the Hong Kong and Singapore markets. The group acted as underwriters’ PRC counsel early this year on the US IPO of China’s Q&A website Zhihu. Jingtian & Gongcheng is also increasingly active in assisting with domestic IPOs, such as those at the Shanghai Stock Exchange Science and Technology Innovation Board. Additionally, the firm’s reinforcement with lateral hires in other financing-associated practices, such as financial regulatory area, adds further strength to its offerings. 

China (PRC Firms) Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year
Fangda Partners
Huizhong Law Firm
Jincheng Tongda & Neal
King & Wood Mallesons
Tian Tong Law Firm
Zhong Lun Law Firm

Winner: Huizhong Law Firm 

Huizhong Law Firm enjoys a wide reputation in China’s dispute resolution arena and stands out as a solid and fast-growing boutique in this competitive market, highly specialised in dealing with an array of domestic and cross-border contentious matters. Clients are quick to highlight the hands-on approach by Huizhong’s partners: “You get timely responses from them. They are serious with their work, sending senior lawyers to handle the work, and this is reassuring.”  Another client appreciates their lawyers' diverse background, remarking: "They are very well experienced. Some lawyers have background and experience as arbitrators, while others have experience in the judiciary." Huizhong excels at representing clients in domestic and international arbitration proceedings, with the support of a team of specialists familiar with CIETAC, ICC, HKIAC and CMAC rules and procedures. The firm represented La Dolce Vita Dining Group before the First International Commercial Court of the Supreme People’s Court of China (CICC) as the opposition lodged to set aside two CIETAC partial arbitral awards that were in favour of the client. 

China (PRC Firms) Client Service Award
Guantao Law Firm
Han Kun Law Offices
Jincheng Tongda & Neal
Jingtian & Gongcheng
JunHe LLP
Llinks Law Offices

Winner: Jincheng Tongda & Neal 

Jincheng Tongda & Neal is a well-resourced national group, singled out for its comprehensive offering covering varied contentious and non-contentious matters. The firm offers noteworthy expertise in corporate/M&A, commercial litigation, intellectual property, TMT and international trade, representing a diverse client base of multinationals, SOEs, public sector bodies and high-profile individuals. Clients are impressed by the firm’s “high-quality legal services” and “excellent communication ability and skills that it demonstrated in cases.” One client who has closely worked with the firm attests to Jincheng Tongda’s â€œconsistently stable performance” over the years, whereas another new client hails the firm’s target-oriented approach, noting that “they were very good. I feel that their strongest trait is their ability to solve problems. They clearly explain the risks of each option available to us.” The group also garners praises from other market commentators on its “very fast development” and increasing presence in some of the provincial markets such as Jiangsu, Liaoning and Anhui. 

China (PRC Firms) Best Regional Law Firm of the Year
Chongqing Solton & Partners
Deheng Law Firm
Sunshine Law Firm
T&C Law Firm
Winners Law Firm
Zhenghan Law Firm

Winner: Sunshine Law Firm 

Hangzhou-headquartered Sunshine Law Firm is an established boutique dedicated to handling a wide spectrum of energy and environment law issues and remains a popular choice for state-owned energy corporations, power grids and private environmental protection companies. It stands out for its impressive track record in handling high-value domestic and cross-border projects, including those involving South-East Asia and Central Asia. Of late, the firm acted for China Power International Holding on its acquisition and development of the Zhanatas wind power project in Kazakhstan. The firm is highly sought after for its specialist knowledge in electricity and renewable energy, with clients noting "Sunshine has very deep understanding of the electricity industry. We will go to them if we have any innovative electricity projects. They interpret regulations and policies well and advise on how clients can implement the projects within the legal framework." Also notable is Sunshine’s expertise in energy saving, waste treatment and environmental regulatory compliance.  

China (International Firms) Corporate & Finance Law Firm of the Year
Allen & Overy
Clifford Chance
Davis Polk
Freshfields
Kirkland & Ellis
Linklaters
Skadden

Winner: Clifford Chance 

This top-tier, full-spectrum firm continues to impress leading Chinese and global clients with the wide breadth of its coverage, with standout expertise in M&A, capital markets and financing transactions. Its sought-after practitioners offer significant expertise in cross-border deals, leveraging the support of an extensive international network throughout the Greater China region, the Asia Pacific region and beyond to act on significant inbound and outbound acquisitions, disposals and business combinations. The firm is maintained as advisor to major banks and financial institutions and demonstrates a strong deal flow across all transactional practices, handling several multi-billion transactions, issuances and offerings. In addition to its core areas of prowess, the group also offers leading expertise in private equity and financial services mandates, bringing to bear multi-disciplinary skillsets to provide clients with a fully integrated service offering. Impressed clients are quick to highlight that the firm’s â€œoverall service is very impressive” and the â€œcollaboration between the Chinese and overseas offices is very smooth,” with one source stating: â€œThey are in the top tier for many areas and they understand the needs of Chinese clients very well.” 

China (International Firms) Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year
Allen & Overy
Clifford Chance
Davis Polk
Herbert Smith Freehills
Linklaters
Mayer Brown
Sidley Austin

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills 

With a deep and ever-growing bench of dispute resolution specialists based across China, Herbert Smith Freehills brings to the table considerable experience on the contentious front and represents clients in a variety of commercial disputes. Over the last year, the Greater China group has continued to attract major instructions, ably handling work spanning a range of sectors including antitrust, projects, banking, trusts and insurance. The firm maintains leading practices across all contentious disciplines, with top tier expertise in litigation, arbitration and corporate investigations work, bolstered by its leading capabilities in the financial services regulatory field. In a work highlight, the group defended DBS against fraud claims and other claims to unwind certain allegedly voidable transactions by Galleria's liquidators. The firm attracts acclaim among clients and peers alike for its solution-oriented approach, commercial awareness and cross-jurisdictional coordination, with clients praising its â€œhigh quality of advice and submissions” and reporting that the teams are “capable of deploying resources located in different jurisdictions in a seamless manner” and “driven to achieve a good result for the client. " Clients also appreciate the group’s consistently high-quality work product, as one source notes: â€œThere are no weak links in the chain; they have strength in depth and that isn't always the case with large teams.” 

India National Law Firm of the Year
AZB & Partners
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
J Sagar Associates
Khaitan & Co
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas
Trilegal

Winner: AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners wins impressive acclaim from market commentators and clients for its pan-India practice and its expertise across the full spectrum of transactional, corporate and contentious mandates. Best known for its strength on corporate matters, the firm offers formidable experience advising on both major inbound investments and domestic acquisitions, with recent experience including advising Larsen & Toubro on its successful USD1.4 billion hostile takeover of Mindtree. One client remarks: “We chose AZB for the subject knowledge of partners and associates, international reputation, quick response and knowledge of Indian and English Law both.” The firm also offers impressive experience on high-stakes litigation and domestic and international arbitration, including recently acting for the National Stock Exchange of India before the Securities Exchange Board of India, in relation to an investigation into allegations of unfair and inequitable use of colocation facilities by the client. Maintaining top-tier rankings in corporate, private equity, restructuring and insolvency and dispute resolution, the firm has additionally gained recognition for its market leading competition offering, in part due to its involvement on landmark cases such as representing Tata Motors and Mercedes-Benz in a case relating to the constitutional validity of certain key provisions of the Competition Act of 2002. One client concludes: “The Firm comes up with quality and practical business-oriented solutions without compromising on turnaround timelines. Their biggest USP is that they are a one-stop solution with the ability to seamlessly advise on various Corporate/M&A and Dispute matters.”

India International Law Firm of the Year
Allen & Overy
Clifford Chance
Herbert Smith Freehills
Latham & Watkins
Linklaters
Norton Rose Fulbright

Winner: Linklaters

Linklaters remains a dominant firm in the corporate and financing arenas, with its India-focused team advising on many of India’s most high-profile complex transactions. Operating predominantly from Singapore and London, the firm is able to bring its robust bench of experts from other offices including in New York and Hong Kong to advise on major inbound Indian investments, including recently acting for New York Life Insurance Company on its INR1.4 billion investment into a joint venture with Max Group. The group is also highly respected for its involvement on complex and innovative financing transactions, including advising the new lender Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on its USD5.85 billion acquisition of distressed ECB loans of Essar Steel India. The firm also boasts an impressive track record on India-related capital markets mandates, including recently advising Bharti Airtel in its USD1 billion convertible bonds offering. One client remarks: “Linklaters has an extremely good track record, particularly for Indian Issuers, and are an experienced and dedicated team that works on any transaction.” In addition, the firm offers notable experience advising on transactions in the energy, natural resources and transportation sectors, including advising China Merchants Port on its USD968 million acquisition of interests in a portfolio of ten terminals from CMA CGM.

Indonesia Domestic Law Firm of the Year
ABNR Counsellors at Law
Assegaf Hamzah & Partners
Ginting & Reksodiputro
Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners
Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung
SSEK Legal Consultants

Winner: Assegaf Hamzah & Partners

Assegaf Hamzah & Partners has demonstrated excellence across a wide range of transactional and contentious matters over the last year. Highly regarded for its ability to handle complex corporate/M&A and capital markets transactions, sources highlight the firm as “one of the best in Indonesia” and praise its consistently high quality of service and long-standing track record. As one source explains: “The talent across their teams is deep and they clearly have a client-first approach to their business.” The firm is also singled out for its highly regarded dispute resolution practice, having secured significant wins on behalf of clients before the Supreme Court, as well as at arbitration. In one such highlight, the team successfully represented Antam in the Supreme Court, in relation to a claim by Karya Murni, James & Armando Pundimas, and Hafar Indotech concerning a nickel mining concession in South-East Sulawesi. The firm is also noted for its strong offering in the areas of tax and intellectual property, where the firm has been newly ranked this year.

Indonesia International Law Firm of the Year
Ashurst
Allen & Overy
Clifford Chance
Herbert Smith Freehills
King & Spalding
Latham & Watkins
Milbank

Winner: Milbank

Milbank is singled out for its prowess handling high-end and cross-border transactions and investments relating to Indonesia. With an unrivalled position as international firm of choice for Indonesia-related matters, the firm offers deep expertise on a variety of matters from corporate and projects work to capital markets and financing transactions. With an impressive track record, the firm has developed strong relationships with a diverse array of Indonesian corporate clients exemplified by its recent involvement acting for Adaro Indonesia and Adaro Energy on an issuance of USD750 million guaranteed senior notes, due in 2024. The firm also regularly acts for major multinational investors and lenders in connection with Indonesia-work, including advising the lenders, including Asian Development Bank and International Finance Corporate, in connection with the development and financing of the Riau IPP in Sumatra, Indonesia. Milbank also offers experience on first-of-their-kind deals relating to Indonesia and offers impressive experience on complex restructuring mandates. It is best known for its formidable reputation on energy sector mandates, with clients reporting: “They are fantastic and one of the most experience law firms in Indonesia’s energy sector. They have tens of precedents they can refer to and are completely up to date with the regulatory landscape in the country. The advice has been phenomenal and forthcoming.” Another adds: “Milbank has a strong team in Singapore with abundant experience in the Indonesia power market and they are able to leverage this experience to deliver results for their clients.”

Japan Domestic Law Advisers of the Year
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Atsumi & Sakai
Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
Nishimura & Asahi
Oh-Ebashi
TMI Associates

Winner: Nishimura & Asahi

One of the leading local firms in Japan, Nishimura & Asahi provides top drawer expertise across key areas of practice, including banking, capital markets, corporate/M&A and dispute resolution. The firm is regularly involved in the highest-profile corporate and financing deals in the jurisdiction and provides impressively broad and deep top tier capabilities across competition, real estate, insurance and projects and energy mandates. Bringing to bear in-depth local Japanese legal prowess, the group also leverages cross-jurisdictional expertise from its overseas offices across South East Asia, the Greater China region and further afield in New York and Dusseldorf. The group has substantial experience of representing blue-chip Japanese and international companies from the technology, chemicals, electronics, automotive and pharmaceutical industries in major M&A deals and further prowess is offered across the full spectrum of banking mandates, with the team evidencing strong expertise in asset and acquisition finance. The firm’s market leading litigation capabilities are complemented by its rapidly growing reputation in the international arbitration space. Interviewees provide strong endorsement for the service offered, praising the group’s “pragmatic approach,” and noting: “Not only are matters sufficiently addressed from the legal perspective, their advice is always practical and provides solutions in order for the client to make important decisions.” Clients also respect the teams’ habit of leaving no stone unturned in their search for solutions, as one source notes: “They investigate and deep-dive into the issues from multiple angles and are also conscious of the financial and commercial aspects.”

Japan International Law Advisers of the Year
Baker McKenzie
Clifford Chance
Herbert Smith Freehills
Linklaters
Morrison & Foerster
White & Case

Winner: Morrison & Foerster

Morrison & Foerster continues to offer superb coverage in the Japanese legal market, with a leading practice and impressive bench strength across the core practice areas, including Corporate/M&A, dispute resolution and intellectual property. The firm represents many of Japan’s leading corporates, as well as high-profile global entities from the manufacturing, pharmaceutical, automotive and technology sectors. Capable of handling the full scope of financing, M&A, capital markets, projects and dispute resolution work, the group’s offering combines both international law and bengoshi capabilities. In the contentious space, the team is entrusted with high stakes patent litigation, trade secrets, product liability cases, in additional to international arbitration mandates. Sources are in agreement that the firm offers “good global coverage, combined with strong local presence in Japan.” A particularly impressed interviewee highlights the groups’ ability to “work quickly and creatively on a tight deadline” and to “integrate a Tokyo based Japanese and non-Japanese legal team in the same deal for complex international matters.”

Malaysia Law Firm of the Year
Christopher & Lee Ong
Rahmat Lim & Partners
Shearn Delamore & Co
Skrine
Wong & Partners
Zaid Ibrahim & Co

Winner: Shearn Delamore & Co

Shearn Delamore & Co has an established track record as one of Malaysia’s most prominent law firms, a client noting: “Their partners are leaders” whilst another adds: “Their lawyers are exceptionally good and no other firm can provide us with services like theirs.” The firm is particularly noted for the depth of its dispute resolution team, offering top-level expertise in both litigation and arbitration, and it also maintains Band One rankings for its M&A, tax, IP and employment and industrial relations practices. A high level of client service is highlighted as one of the firm’s key strengths, a client commenting: “They respond promptly to all queries and we’re able to reach out to them at whatever time – they’re also willing to do the extra work to complete assignments smoothly.”

Mekong Region Law Firm of the Year
(Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand – award focused on firms with a strong presence across the Mekong delta).
DFDL
Rajah & Tann
Tilleke & Gibbins
ZICO Law

Winner: DFDL

DFDL enjoys a commanding position in Chambers’ coverage across the Mekong region, with the firm achieving top tier rankings and offering market-leading experience in Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, as well as gaining considerable recognition in our Thailand and Vietnam chapters. This year the firm was promoted in our Vietnam corporate rankings and is highly praised by clients for its regional expertise, with its offices working in tandem to deliver on cross-border deals. Its teams recently acted as local counsel in Vietnam and Thailand to SoftBank Vision Fund on its major USD1.5 billion investment in Grab. Interviewees are quick to praise the firm’s regional strengths, with one reporting “they are the preeminent firm in the Mekong Region and are one of the go-to firms for finance work. They have a wealth of experience in the Mekong Region and are both very responsive and commercial.” The firm offers genuine full-service capability and are highly rated for their work on regional projects matters, including renewable energy work, as well as major financing and M&A transactions. They are labelled a “dominant firm” by one interviewee and clients frequently commend the firm’s client service, with one praising the firm’s “high efficiency, collaborative sprit, good patience and ability to provide a quick response every time we are in urgent need of legal assistance.”

New Zealand Law Firm of the Year
Bell Gully
Buddle Findlay
Chapman Tripp
MinterEllison
RuddWatts
Russell McVeagh
Simpson Grierson

Winner: Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp has maintained its dominant position as the leading law firm in the New Zealand market, being ranked in most of the practice areas in the New Zealand chapter and with the vast majority of these being Band 1 rankings. The firm’s depth of expertise is evinced by its total of 44 rankings for individual rankings and its dominant position in the corporate and commercial, banking and finance and dispute resolution spaces, amongst many others, leading one client to comment: “They are excellent at what they do and provide full-service coverage.” Amongst the firm’s recent highlights, it advised Infratil on the formation of the consortium for, and on the equity capital raising to partially fund, the purchase of the New Zealand arm of Vodafone. The firm is further praised by clients for its “top-notch commercial advice with an appropriate pragmatic edge,” another client noting: “They work creatively across the system to deliver what we need, which means we place a lot of trust in their advice.”

Offshore Law Firm of the Year
Conyers
Harneys
Maples Group
Mourant
Ogier
Walkers

Winner: Walkers

Walkers is notable for its extraordinarily deep bench of offshore lawyers based in Hong Kong and Singapore, making it perfectly placed to advise on a wide range of matters involving BVI, Cayman and Bermuda law. The firm is particularly recognised for its strength in the commercial and finance spaces, where it frequently advises on some of the most substantial M&A transactions, IPOs and investment fund formation, a recent example being its role Cayman and BVI counsel to ESR Cayman for the company’s USD1.6 billion IPO. Clients consistently praise the firm for its practical approach, one commenting: “They’re strong across the board and good at finding practical solutions, it’s a hallmark of the Walkers practice,” and another adding: “Often when we get into tricky situations, we go to them for options and solutions –they are good in this respect, they don’t just tell you what the law says; they’re able to deal with tricky situations.”

Philippines Law Firm of the Year
Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz
Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio
Quisumbing Torres
Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles
SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan
Villaraza & Angangco

Winners: SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan stands out as a dominant force in the Philippines legal market, attracting praise from clients and peers alike for its consistently strong full-service offering. Clients single out the firm’s excellent service levels, reporting it is “very thorough and also solution oriented” and emphasise its position as a go-to counsel in the market for both domestic and international clients. The team has maintained a clean sweep of Band One rankings, reflecting its leading practice across banking and finance, capital markets, corporate/M&A, dispute resolution and arbitration, employment, intellectual property, projects and tax. Over the last year, the team has continued to attract headline mandates for major conglomerates and investors, including acting for San Miguel on the USD2.15 billion acquisition of 85.73% of the issued capital stock of Holcim Philippines. The firm’s strong contentious offering has also been much in evidence, including recently acting for Manila Electric Company on an investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of market power.

Singapore Corporate & Finance Domestic Law Advisers of the Year
Allen & Gledhill
Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP
Drew & Napier LLC
Rajah & Tann
Shook Lin & Bok LLP
WongPartnership

Winners: Allen & Gledhill

Allen & Gledhill remains a dominant firm in the corporate market in Singapore and continues to advise on some of the region’s most high-profile and complex transactions. Its broad capability in this space encompasses the full range of corporate work, including high-profile M&A, restructurings, joint ventures and outbound investments. The firm also offers unparalleled financing expertise and remains a go-to choice of counsel for key lenders both in Singapore and across the wider region. Regularly advising on landmark transactions, the firm’s recent deal list includes assistingCapitaLand Mall Trust Management with its proposed SGD8.27 billion merger with CapitaLand Commercial Trust and advising a syndicate of lenders on an SGD8.67 billion facility to the Marina Bay Sands resort. Clients frequently commend its "vast resources and industry knowledge” and it is labelled as “indisputably the leader due to the depth, breadth and seniority of its bench." With offices and affiliated firms in Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam, and extensive experience of working with international firms on multinational transactions, the firm is highly respected for its cross-border expertise, with one client describing the team as “experienced practitioners, with broad and deep cross-industry expertise,” while another remarks “they always give great cogent and commercial advice, and they know what risks are there."

Singapore Corporate & Finance International Law Advisers of the Year
Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
Clifford Chance
Herbert Smith Freehills
King & Spalding
Linklaters
Milbank

Winners: Clifford Chance

Long-established and highly successful, Clifford Chance is the pre-eminent Singapore-based international firm advising on corporate M&A and financing matters. With wide recognition for its handling of complex cross-border transactions, clients benefit from the firm’s global network and unrivalled track record on multijurisdictional mandates. Recent experience includes advising Blackstone on its acquisition via a Singaporean SPV of approximately 40% of the shares of India-based company Aakash Educational Services, assisting Vena Energy with the establishment of a USD1 billion Euro MTN programme consisting of senior unsecured green notes and acting for the arrangers on USD3.48 billion in financing for Indian telecommunications business Reliance. The firm's high standing in the corporate and finance fields are demonstrated by its top-tier rankings in capital markets, corporate/M&A, investment funds and restructuring/insolvency, also achieving notable recognition in areas such as finance and projects. Clients frequently commend the firm’s client service, with one describing the team as "very knowledgeable, highly efficient and able to creatively propose solutions and guide us in obtaining the best outcome in our deal negotiations." Clients also label the team as "experienced and knowledgeable in capital market transactions and able to provide valuable advice to ensure smooth closure of the transaction." One client concludes: “They are absolutely terrific. They have a solutions-based approach on documentation and negotiations. They explain things very clearly and guide people through the commercial calls that need to be made, and their technical knowledge on underlying contracts is excellent."

Singapore Arbitration Law Firm of the Year
Clifford Chance LLP
Drew & Napier LLC
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills
King & Spalding LLP
Rajah & Tann LLP
WongPartnership

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills is an arbitration powerhouse and its Singapore office is a vital part of the firm’s unrivalled strength across the region. Regularly handling disputes emanating from across South-East, South and East Asia, and particularly active in cases involving Indian and Chinese parties, the team offers considerable experience on SIAC-seated arbitrations, ICSID and ICC arbitrations, among others. Receiving plaudits for its “excellent client service levels, best-in-class turnaround and response timing, and willingness to take on multiple questions with full-depth analysis,” the team regularly advises on significant flagship cases representing an illustrious group of clients. With particularly notable experience in energy and natural resources, construction and infrastructure cases, the firm also boasts an impressive track record on complex BIT disputes and international public law disputes. Offering unrivalled bench strength in Singapore and also conducting its own advocacy, the firm has garnered a strong reputation of delivering for its clients, with one client concluding: "The team offers excellent attention to detail and calm and comprehensive analysis of facts that inspires confidence in the firm's ability to achieve a sensible outcome."

South Korea International Law Firm of the Year
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills
Linklaters
Paul Hastings
Ropes & Gray
White & Case

Winner: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP maintains a very strong position at the forefront of the South Korea legal market, with it’s on the ground transactional presence in Seoul and deal execution capabilities marking the group out as a clear winner. The firm expertly handles both inbound and outbound investments and acquisitions, in addition to acting on substantial debt and equity offerings.

Major South Korean corporations, issuers, underwriters and arrangers see the group as reliable counsel of choice for their highest profile M&A, private equity and capital markets deals, reassured by the strength in depth provided by the Seoul-based team’s combination of Korean and US lawyers and its robust global network. Clients report that the team offers “excellent client service and commercial awareness,” on M&A mandates, with market sources quick to highlight the firm’s prominence as a “a leader in the Korean market” and “the best foreign law firm based in Seoul.” High lighting the breadth of the firm’s transactional offering, another impressed client affirms: "Their extensive involvement in capital market transactions across the Asian region means they are always up to date on the market trends and the regulatory changes in international capital markets.”

South Korea National Law Firm of the Year
Bae, Kim & Lee
Kim & Chang
Lee & Ko
Shin & Kim
Yulchon

Winner: Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang stands out for its breadth and quality of coverage across the full legal spectrum, winning an impressive 18 Band One rankings, including in the core areas of dispute resolution, finance and corporate law. The firm maintains top tier rankings in capital markets, corporate/M&A and banking and finance, bolstered by market leading expertise in areas and sectors such as employment, competition, insurance, projects and energy, real estate, shipping and TMT. The group continues to grow its bench of experienced contentious specialists and is frequently instructed to act for leading Korean and global entities involved in commercial litigation and arbitration proceedings, in addition to white-collar crime disputes. Interviewees offer praise the lawyers’ “great understanding of corporate business and changes in the current business environment,” in addition to its “extensive network which allows for prompt and precise decision making, minimising legal risk.” "Their performance is flawless; the lawyers execute their tasks very carefully and their opinions are articulate and practical,” reports an appreciative client.

Taiwan Law Firm of the Year
Baker McKenzie
Formosa Transnational Attorneys At Law
Jones Day
LCS & Partners
Lee and Li Attorneys-at-Law
Lexcel Partners
Tsar & Tsai

Winner: Lee and Li Attorneys-at-Law 

Regarded as a full-service powerhouse in the Taiwan region, Lee and Li Attorneys-at-Law remains a first port of calls for multinationals and locally based businesses on a variety of transactions and disputes. Clients benefit from its specialised team of attorneys that the firm can call upon from its bench and extensive expertise in the corporate finance, M&A, construction, and project spheres. It is equally capable of handling international trade, intellectual property, and litigation mandates. One happy client is full of praises when describing her experience with the team, enthusing: “The law firm has so much knowledge from their experienced counsels; they have encountered the strangest situation in the past so they can always give you the most appropriate response.” Additionally, Lee and Li has further grown its employment offering and assists clients to steer through uncharted waters in the pandemic. Clients appreciate its practical advice, with one remarking that “they have better understanding of the inhouse environment and the struggles we deal with.” 

Thailand Law Firm of the Year
Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
Linklaters
Tilleke & Gibbins
Watson Farley & Williams
Weerawong C&P

Winner: Baker McKenzie

Building on its extensive international network, Baker McKenzie distinguishes itself as the premiere firm in Thailand, securing Band One rankings in nearly all of the practice area tables in the Chambers Thailand chapter and being described by a client as “a top international law firm in Thailand.” The firm boasts outstanding capabilities in the M&A and real estate spheres, top-tier expertise with regards to banking and finance and capital markets, and a superlative dispute resolution team containing some of Thailand’s leading litigators. The team maintains further ability in the projects space, demonstrated by its recent role advising Gulf PD on the USD1.3 billion syndicated financing of its 2,500 MW power plant in Rojana Industrial Park. Consistently identified by market sources as “one of the best law firms in Thailand,” the depth of the team’s expertise is highlighted as an important strength, a client noting: “It is excellent being able to reach them for one-stop legal support and solutions, because they will provide legal advice as well as solutions from a complete and practical picture.”

Vietnam Law Firm of the Year
Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
Frasers Law Company
Freshfields
VILAF
YKVN

Winner: Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie is widely hailed by sources as a leading choice of counsel amongst major international and local clients seeking advice in Vietnam, combining long-established local capability with a strong network of offices in the wider region. Clients praise the high levels of expertise and service on offer across a wide spectrum of practice areas. The team’s commercial nous is regularly highlighted, as one client reports: “They make an effort to understand your business, which helps in getting to the right advice.” Over the last year, the firm has continued to secure instruction on major joint ventures, acquisitions and FDI work across various sectors including real estate, private equity, TMT and energy. Amongst its work highlights, the team advised UOB Venture Management on its investment in Dat Viet VAC Group. The firm has also attained rankings in our new tables for employment and tax, underlining its ability to provide a well-rounded full-service offering to clients.

ASEAN Law Firm of the Year
Allen & Gledhill
Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
Linklaters
Rajah & Tann

Winner: Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie retains a commanding position across Southeast Asia with offices and affiliated firms in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines. From Singapore the firm offers both domestic and international law advice across a wide variety of practice areas, with notable strength in IP, Tax, Corporate and Finance matters. Through its member firm Wong & Partners, the firm provides a similar strength in Malaysia, with clients pinpointing the quality of its advice, noting: “Their insight is broad and comprehensive, and they always give us more than the facts of the law, including the thinking behind it. "The firm further offers unrivalled strength in Thailand, boasting a track record of advising the region’s top clients on complex matters, with one client summarising "Their strengths are a strong knowledge of Thailand's legal system, lots of experienced lawyers covering a variety of areas, and good business connections in Thailand. "Its team in Vietnam is also market leading achieving more Band One rankings than any other firm exemplifying the team’s full-service capability. In Indonesia, its member firm Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners regularly advises on landmark transactions, including recently advising the joint sellers on the USD2.14 billion sale of Bank Permata. Quisumbing Torres, its member firm in the Philippines, is also highly respected and achieves widescale recognition for its strength in real estate, employment, IP, corporate, finance and disputes, among other areas. Unsurprisingly, clients frequently comment on the firm’s strength across the region and appreciate the value it offers, with one neatly summarising: “Baker & McKenzie is ahead of the curve and their experience allows them to forecast what lies before their clients and draw up a strategy to successfully negotiate the difficulties. This puts them above peer firms who unfortunately cannot draw upon the wealth of experience that Baker & McKenzie has across its offices. They are renowned for their local expertise in the region with multiple offices and their ability to bring to bear their industry knowledge and international experience on each matter.”

Asia-Pacific Law Firm of the Year
Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
Clifford Chance
Herbert Smith Freehills
King & Wood Mallesons
Linklaters

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills is widely recognised as one of the leading law firms in the Asia-Pacific region, being extensively ranked by Chambers for its practices in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, South Korea and Japan amongst many other jurisdictions. “They have a well-earned reputation for providing a top-rate service,” comments a client, going on to add: “The team is experienced across multiple Asian markets and they are always very responsive.” In particular, the firm is noted for its unrivalled international arbitration capability, a client praising its ability to handle “very complex, high-stakes arbitration proceedings by deploying resources located in different jurisdictions in a seamless manner.” High profile cases have included advising Vedanta Resources on a claim against the Government of India brought under the terms of a bilateral investment treaty with the UK and concerning a tax demand in excess of USD3 billion. The firm also offers top-tier M&A and energy and natural resources expertise, as well as notable strength in the banking and finance and capital markets spaces. Its impressive corporate work has included acting for TPG Telecom on its AUD15 billion merger of equals with Vodafone Hutchison Australia. The team is frequently praised for its commercial approach to matters, a client noting: “They are very commercially insightful and experienced across Asia with a broad team,” and another adding: “Herbert Smith Freehills can provide very useful and practical advice from both a legal and commercial perspective.”

Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2021 - D&I Shortlists

Outstanding Firm for D&I
Corrs Chambers Westgarth - Australia
Dentons Kensington Swan – New Zealand
Eiger – Taiwan
Herbert Smith Freehills – Hong Kong
Samvad Partners – India
Tilleke & Gibbins – Thailand
V&A Law Center – Vietnam
Winkler Partners – Taiwan

Winner: Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Australia)

The firm has a strong commitment to gender, LGBT+ and cultural inclusion. Their commitment to indigenous inclusion through the 2018-2020 Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has made an important impact in increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to participate in legal education and careers, while also developing the firm’s engagement with the wider Indigenous community. The firm is now working on the launch of its third RAP in 2021. 

Highly commended: V&A Law Center (Vietnam)

The firm ensures its inclusive environment focuses on the promotion of the employees’ wellbeing, health, safety, and development, as well as a bespoke mentorship programme for junior lawyers. The firm also has a number of inclusive policies including gender-neutral toilets for its employees and regular gender-neutral awareness orientations and training for its employees. 

Outstanding Firm for Pro Bono
Nishimura & Asahi - Japan
Mori Hamada & Matsumoto - Japan
Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP - Singapore
Ropes & Gray LLP - Hong Kong
Trilegal - India
WongPartnership – Singapore

Winner: Nishimura & Asahi (Japan)

The firm is passionate and committed to pro bono and recently took on pro bono work in support of partnership certification for LGBT+ couples using blockchain and also for Mobile Seat Otters (MSO), a non-profit organization that seeks to restore deteriorating kelp forests along Japan’s coastline. 

Highly Commended: Ropes & Gray LLP (Hong Kong)

The firm continues its strong global commitment to pro bono by taking on some challenging projects across Asia Pacific in 2020.  This includes The Remedy Project – a draft research memorandum written by 30 lawyers aimed at policy makers and lawyers working on child exploitation cases and NGOs doing advocacy work. 

Outstanding Contribution Award (Private practice individual)
Assegaf Hamzah & Partners - Indonesia
Clifford Chance LLP - Singapore
Mori Hamada & Matsumoto - Japan
Samvad Partners - India
Sparke Helmore Lawyers – Australia

Winner: Poornima Hatti, Samvad Partners (India)

Poornima heads the dispute resolution practice at the firm whilst also being a D&I and pro bono trailblazer and a focused leader and role model in the Asia Pacific market. She is committed to advancing gender diversity within the profession and is a high-profile expert and advisor in this space.  

Highly Commended: Gillian Davidson, Sparke Helmore Lawyers (Australia)

Gillian is the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee Chair. The firm’s most recent focus has been on cultural and LGBT+ inclusion. Gillian is also active in the not-for-profit area and currently sits on a number of boards. She is a director of Anglicare Sydney and the chair of the Anglican Deaconess Ministries. 

Outstanding Contribution Award (In-house individual)
Bauer Media - Australia
Danareksa - Indonesia
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts - Hong Kong
J.P. Morgan - Hong Kong
Nando's Australia – Australia

Winner: Putu Dewika Angganingrum, Senior Vice President and Head of Legal & Compliance, PT Danareksa (Indonesia)

Putu Dewika Angganingrum is the head of legal and compliance at Indonesian investment bank PT Danareksa (Persero). She is an advocate for cultural and gender inclusion and actively supports the next generation of female lawyers within the workplace through inclusive policies and mentoring.  

Lifetime achievement award

Yuen-Yee Cho is an outstanding lawyer who has been consistently identified as amongst Australia’s very best finance partners for over a decade. Her leading practice includes a wealth of expertise on marquee corporate, acquisition and leveraged finance mandates and she counts major banks, private equity firms and corporates amounts her clientele. She has variously been described as an “absolutely top-class” practitioner who is “omnipresent” and “a cut above the rest.” Clients regularly laud her acute commercial awareness and report she is “very effective at getting the outcomes.” She is a frequent advisor on some of the most substantial financing transactions in the market. Amongst a raft of market-leading deals, she recently advised Woolworths Group on its AUD400 million world-first fronted bank guarantee facility and acted for Brookfield Capital on syndicated facility and bridge loans totaling AUD2.5 billion supporting its acquisition of Healthscope.

Awards sponsored by
Allen & Gledhill
AZB & Partners
East and Concord Partners
Hui Zhong Law Firm
Jincheng Tonga & Neal Law Firm
Watson Farley & William LLP
Winners Law Firm
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Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2021