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Practice Area Definitions: Asia-Pacific

Below are the legal practice area definitions and regional variations used by Chambers to rank lawyers and law firms in the Asia-Pacific Guide.

Anti-Bribery & Corruption

This practice area covers regulatory and enforcement matters on a Federal and State level, including matters with the ACCC, ASIC, Commissions and other Federal or State agencies (for Australian matters). Corporate investigations may concern operating procedures, due diligence, criminal and civil liability, ethics, and trans-national issues such as sanctions and money laundering. Compliance with both national and foreign laws that impact national and overseas clients would be included.

Arbitration (International)

The chapter features arbitration counsel providing advice on the resolution of disputes by one or more neutral parties, either an arbitrator or an arbitration panel. Many contracts – including those imposed on customers by many financial and healthcare organisations – require mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute.

Examples of the institutions include HKIAC (Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre), SIAC (Singapore International Arbitration Centre), ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) and ICSID (International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes).

The China and South Korea chapters also include domestic arbitration rankings tables.


Aviation sections may cover finance, regulatory, commercial and litigation matters.

Regulatory and commercial matters considered in this section include representation before national and international aviation regulatory bodies as well as commercial arrangements between airlines and airports, and air charters. UAV regulatory matters may also be considered.

Aviation Finance concentrates on the advice to manufacturers, purchasers and investors (such as hedge and private equity funds) on the sale, leasing and acquisition of portfolios of aircraft.

In the Australia chapter, Aviation Finance is covered in the Banking & Finance: Asset finance and leasing section.

Banking & Finance

A broad-based definition of banking transactions, which include both borrower and lender clients. The following topics are included: acting for either the lender or the borrower on general bank lending, syndicated lending, structured finance, asset finance and leveraged finance.

See also Islamic Finance, Project Finance and Restructuring/Insolvency.

Capital Markets

Chambers guides cover key areas of capital markets either as distinct tables or under the wider umbrella. The areas include Debt & Equity, Derivatives, Securitisation, and Structured finance (CDOs, repackagings, other synthetic products).

Equity Capital Markets includes advice on equity offerings transactions such as: Initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, right offerings, capital increases, ADR / GDR offerings; accelerated bookbuilts, and block trades.

Debt Capital Markets covers legal advice on the following transactions: investment grade debt offerings (standalone bond issues; MTN programs, Commercial Paper programmes); equity-linked offerings (regulatory capital, convertibles and exchangeable offerings); and High Yield debt offerings.

Derivatives includes the regulatory and transactional legal advice regarding derivatives products. These include: Exchange-traded derivatives; OTC derivatives; Securitised derivatives; Interest rate, currency, equity, credit and commodity-linked products. Law firms advise on product development and regulation; market regulation; structuring and documentation of transactions, related tax issues and derivatives litigation.

Securitisation covers the entire range asset classes, including (among others): Commercial loans; derivatives exposure; bonds and corporate debt; project cash flows; trade receivables; credit card and trade receivables; commercial and residential mortgages; life insurance and annuities; auto loans.

Structured finance also encompasses: CDOs (both cash and synthetic); repackagings; and hybrid synthetic and structured note products.


This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise third sector clients on all types of contentious and non-contentious matters, ranging from sector-specific advice on constitutional and governance issues or public benefit requirements, to more general advice on corporate, property, employment and tax issues.

This section would cover a broad range of work undertaken for charities and NFPs, ranging from advising on the Charities Act, establishment of entities, compliance, taxation, and financial matters to related disputes.

Climate Change

This table covers compliance, regulatory, transactional and contentious matters as they relate to climate change. It is researched on an Asia-Pacific wide basis, so law firms from across the region are eligible to make a submission. This includes work relating to emissions trading, including assisting companies in adhering to carbon regulations. The section also covers legal issues relating to renewable and low carbon projects, which includes assisting with the development and financial issues attached to these ventures.

Other relevant work includes advising clients on the risks and investment opportunities concerning climate change in corporate transactions, key issues of which include energy efficiency, supply chain issues, climate change adaption and mitigation, due diligence and risk assessment.

Competition / Antitrust

Competition/Antitrust covers the body of laws that prohibits anti-competitive behaviour (monopoly) and unfair business practices. This includes merger and acquisition approval work and public and private enforcement proceedings, including litigation or regulatory investigations into anti-competitive practices such as price-fixing and cartelisation.


Construction covers contractual advisor work within the construction industry for both the suppliers (e.g. developers, contractors, engineers and architects), and those clients employing these types of companies e.g. corporates or state authorities on their building plans. Our construction sections cover both litigious and non-litigious matters.

Corporate / Commercial

Some chapters feature a Corporate/Commercial section. It covers the broad range of commercial legal work, without subdivision into specialist areas; however, matters relating to a specialist practice area that features elsewhere in the chapter should not be duplicated here.

In the PRC chapter, all regional sections are Corporate/Commercial and a variety of matters may be considered, including but not limited to corporate acquisitions, bond issuances, company listings, FDI, IP, commercial disputes and employment issues. Work considered in the relevant Corporate/Commercial section must be handled out of a corresponding local office in that region.

Corporate Investigations / Anti-Corruption

The Corporate investigation/anti-corruption section ranks firms and individuals advising on the management of, and compliance with, investigations concerning white-collar crime, anti-corruption legislation and international sanctions. The firms and lawyers may also be engaged to conduct investigations and prepare reports for management. The section covers issues faced by clients arising from the increased scrutiny of regulatory bodies into their day-to-day operations.

The firms included here often bring together multi-disciplinary teams to advise on internal investigations, or proceedings brought by external bodies, including public and law enforcement bodies. Investigations may concern operating procedures, criminal and civil liability, ethics, and trans-national issues such as sanctions and money laundering. The teams often provide specialist advice on domestic legislation. Advice given on the US FCPA, UK Bribery Act and other relevant overseas legislation alongside how regulatory bodies operate across the world are also included. Coverage extends to advising on compliance and best practice.

Corporate / M&A

This broad category covers both public company and private equity (including venture capital) matters. The chapter includes company acquisitions, dispositions and related financing arrangements, capitalisations, entity selection and formation, operating and partnership agreements, securities and governance matters.

Also covers those transactions designed to help restructuring within companies and their subsidiaries by change of ownership. Priority is placed on primary representatives, those acting for buyers and sellers, whilst those acting for financial advisers, underwriters and the banks financing such transactions are also considered.

See also: Private Equity

Data Protection

Data Protection covers regulatory advice on data protection and privacy compliance, cases of data security breaches, representation of clients in investigations, enforcement actions or litigation relating to data protection and privacy. Work of an international nature can include advising clients with multinational operations on data security issues relating to cross-border transfers of data, such as in large-scale outsourcing transactions involving a number of countries, and on global or multi-jurisdictional privacy compliance programmes.

Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution chapters focus on litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings. The work covers the full course of a dispute, such as pre-trial negotiations, documentation and preparation for trial, summary judgment applications, trial, appeals and enforcement proceedings. This section also covers white-collar crime, including government investigations. Expertise in alternative dispute resolution, involving non-court mediation and arbitration, may be ranked in separate tables where the market is sufficiently developed.

Practice areas such as Insurance, Construction, IP and Media may also contain litigators who are experts in their field in markets that are sufficiently specialised.

In some jurisdictions in the region, where the legal profession is not fused, we feature separate ranking tables for barristers and solicitors. In jurisdictions where the legal profession is fused, but there is sufficient distinction between lawyers practising in the style of barristers, and lawyers practising in the style of solicitors, we have sought to make this distinction clear by again having separate ranking tables.

See also: Arbitration (International)


Covers both contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Includes employment litigation related to sex, race, age discrimination, as well as workforce redundancies and employee transfers and immigration issues. Also includes workplace health and safety matters, HR training and policy writing.

Energy & Natural Resources

Although Chambers is aware of the overlap with Projects and project financing, the energy chapters focus on corporate / commercial and regulatory issues arising from the energy and natural resources sectors. These include the regulatory components of M&A and other transactional work, pure regulatory work related to the application for licenses and compliance and enforcement with regulatory bodies. Chambers guides focuses on key industry sectors including Electricity, Oil & Gas, Renewables and Nuclear matters.

Electricity / Utilities covers advice on the development, financing and permitting of energy projects (such as electric, coal, oil & gas fired plants, nuclear and hydro-electric plants), facilities management; co-generation and restructuring/deregulation arising out of the wholesale and retail markets.

Oil and Gas covers all upstream and downstream work including exploration, infrastructure and pipeline developments and service contracts, royalties, licensing and operation agreements. It also includes corporate issues such as M&A, capital raisings, taxation and regulatory compliance.

Renewables focuses on the financing, development and regulatory issues surrounding wind and wave power generation, solar, biomass and geothermal energy generation. It also includes advice on compliance with clean energy regulations.

Nuclear issues include licensing and operation, commercial transactions, reactor oversight, enforcement and compliance, whistleblower statutes and non-retaliation policy, as well as nuclear waste and fuel procurement.

Natural Resources sections focus on mining and minerals exploration, development and production agreements, including royalty issues, project finance, taxation and other financing arrangements. Engineering, processing and refining contracts, sales structures and environmental issues are also covered.


The environment chapter features both litigation and advisory/transactional support to clients. This includes general corporate issues, (e.g. due diligence on mergers), the development of brownfield sites, and pollution issues. `Traditional` environment work includes regulatory compliance, litigation and enforcement actions related to air, water, wetlands, waste and endangered species.

We also feature advice to corporate and financial clients on the environmental aspects of M&A, financings, securities offerings and other transactions, which involve due diligence and environmental insurance issues. Emissions trading work may also be included where appropriate.

Financial Services Regulation

This chapter covers both non-contentious and contentious matters arising out of the Financial Services industry and advice on all aspects of internal organisation and governance, transactions and operations. Non-contentious matters include assistance to bank / financial institution clients in complying with the full range of financial services laws and regulations in their daily operations.

This section also encompasses financial institutions business transactions, especially the advice on regulatory issues in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures of financial services companies and the implementation of holdings in foreign countries.

This section also covers the lobbying work done by the firm for the development of new laws and regulations. In contentious matters, we include advice related to the defence of financial institutions in criminal and civil examinations, inspections, investigations, and formal proceedings by regulators and self-regulatory organisations.


Chambers produces a dedicated FinTech professional advisers guide which covers all aspects of FinTech-related legal work.

Gaming & Gambling

Lawyers in this section advise gambling companies and casinos on the full range of regulatory and licensing issues. Sports betting may also be covered.


Healthcare covers a wide range of work, including transactional, advisory, and contentious matters. Transactional work is centred on sale and purchase agreements, joint ventures, investment and divestment and the financings of such deals within the healthcare industry. Law firms advise on antitrust issues and assorted regulatory matters for clients including hospitals, health systems, healthcare startups and insurance companies.

Litigation includes matters such as product liability disputes arising from pharmaceutical and medical devices defects, whistleblower suits, the defence of parties involved in anti-bribery investigations as well as general clinical negligence issues or disputes arising between hospitals and patients.

Advisory and regulatory compliance matters encompassing the licensing of drugs and devices approved by local regulators, sales and marketing practices and other day-to-day issues are also included.

See also: Life Science

High Net Worth Individuals

Chambers produces a dedicated HNW professional advisers guide which covers all aspects of HNW-related legal work.


Infrastructure sections include lawyers representing the range of stakeholders participating in the proposal, delivery and operation of infrastructure development projects, including ports, airports, roading, rail and light rail.

See also: Construction, Energy & Natural Resources, Project Finance and Projects.


Insurance includes both contentious and non-contentious insurance and reinsurance matters. On the contentious side, we feature coverage claims litigation, broker's negligence and both 'facultative' and 'treaty' reinsurance disputes.

There is also an element of professional negligence issues arising from insurance disputes. On the non-contentious side, we include all forms of M&A, capital raisings, demutualisations, licensing and other regulatory issues.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property covers disputes related to patent, copyright and trademark infringement. Litigation concerning trade secrets also features. Commercial and transactional issues such as portfolio management, licensing and IP commercialisation are also included.

International Trade / WTO

This section covers classic trade cases such as anti-dumping, countervailing duties, export control and other customs/tariff classifications and regulatory work.

Investment Funds

This section looks at work covering the entire life cycle of a fund. More emphasis is placed on fund formation work, and sponsor-side representation. The capacity to provide regulatory and relevant tax advice is also considered. This section includes open-ended funds, closed-ended funds, hedge funds, real estate funds, infrastructure funds and funds of funds. Registered funds and superannuation funds are also included.

See also Private Equity: Buyouts and Venture Capital Investment and Private Equity.

Islamic Finance

Sharia-compliant financing work such as advising on sukuk, murabaha and tawarruq matters.

Law firm Networks

In this section we focus on independent law firm networks. The chief criterion is that the member firms are independent of each other and any controlling entity. For the most part, the network should exist without relying on a central law firm. A strong law firm network positions itself as a cost-effective alternative to an international law firm with many international branches. If effective, the network should help members generate cross-referral work, and that clients benefit from unified solutions when work crosses borders. A law firm network's ranking in this section, is contingent on the rankings, and the ranking strength, of its member firms across the Asia-Pacific region. Aside from an analysis of the data, the research process involves extended interviews with a selected group of network representatives, and calls with referees the network provides.

Life sciences

Life sciences focuses on the commercialisation of life sciences products (pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnology programs etc). IP issues dominate as large pharmaceuticals seek to obtain innovative, impending blockbuster drugs from biotechs and other pharmaceutical companies. Also includes the licensing and acquisition of new products from other sources (often smaller biotechs to larger suppliers).

This chapter includes advice on drug and device safety, and product liability litigation.


This table features Offshore law firms with one or more offices in the Asia-Pacific region. The table focuses on work governed under the laws of offshore jurisdictions such as Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The section includes a wide range of corporate and finance work, including investment funds. It also covers dispute resolution work.

Private Equity

This section focuses on the transactional aspect of private equity funds work. It takes into account LBO, M&A and recapitalisation matters at both the high-end and mid-market level. Venture capital investment work is also included.

In the China (International Firms) chapter this section this work is covered in the Private Equity: Buyouts and Venture Capital Investments section.

See also: Investment Funds

Project Finance

The financing and refinancing of infrastructure and industrial projects using a non-recourse or limited recourse financial structure. Chambers considers work for lenders as well as borrowers in this section.


Focuses on the development and financing of large projects that arise in the capital intensive infrastructure and energy markets. Clients in this sector include sponsors, lenders, project originators and multilateral agencies and development banks.

In the energy sector, we include advice on the development of refineries, pipelines, LNG and petrochemical terminals, power plants and wind power, waste-to-energy and hydro-wave technology. Infrastructure matters such as toll road and bridge financing; rail and light rail systems; water desalination plants as well as state sponsored programmes (PPP/PFI) such as hospitals, schools, housing and prisons.

In jurisdictions that do not have a separate Project Finance section, the financing of such projects is also included in the Projects section.

See also: Project Finance and Infrastructure

Real Estate

Includes transactional advice related to the acquisition, planning and development, leasing and disposal of real estate assets. Clients typically include large real estate holding companies, investment funds and REITs.

Corporate matters related to real estate include M&A of large real estate holding companies, complex fund and REIT transactions, private equity and public securities. These real estate lawyers are distinct from pure corporate lawyers in that they typically come from a real estate background and have an understanding of the underlying asset and land law required by their real estate for their clients.

Restructuring / Insolvency

The focus is on the legal processes related to distressed businesses, which can either be reorganised or go into liquidation. The section also includes lawyers, who advise on acquisition opportunities that arise out of distressed businesses. Lawyers in this chapter assist clients such as: corporate debtors, investors and asset purchasers; secured and unsecured creditors and creditors` committees, bondholders, insurers; directors of distressed companies and any other interested parties in corporate restructurings and insolvency proceedings.

Restructuring/Insolvency sections cover both transactional and disputes matters.


Shipping & maritime litigation involves breach of charter-party disputes, cargo and bills of lading claims, the arrest of vessels and cargoes, marine insurance claims, collision, salvage and environmental liabilities. On the non-contentious side, law firms advise on contractual arrangements for construction, financing and registration of vessels, customs and licensing, and documentation relating to charter-parties and bills of lading. Related matters concerning offshore platforms may also be included.

Sports Law

This section covers those lawyers and law firms who have a demonstrable commitment to the sports sector, and understand the unique pressures and constraints which sports entities operate under. The definition of sports law is often disputed; Chambers sees commercial and regulatory work as its cornerstone, but seeks to highlight those firms which are best able to serve the sports industry as a whole, which requires consideration of work across a wide range of legal disciplines.

Integrity matters, including anti-doping, selection disputes, disciplinary proceedings and controversies arising out of the sports betting industry, are also covered.

This practice area covers lawyers who may specialise in IP, corporate/commercial, or litigation and arbitration, and possibly media/entertainment matters but with a focus on the sports world – they would spend a reasonable percentage of their time (around 25% at least) on sports related matters.


Tax covers transactional direct and indirect tax advice and tax controversy-related work. Tax on the transactional side covers corporate partnerships structures, tax planning, spin-offs and the tax structuring of corporate acquisitions.

Tax controversy encompasses any contentious tax issue. This includes tax-based litigation and advice relating to tax anti-avoidance enforcement.

This section also takes into account base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) matters, including transfer pricing and other cross-border tax advice.


Technology focuses on contractual agreements in the technology field, often outsourcing contracts between large corporates and suppliers of IT services.

Telecommunications concentrates on a range of legal issues arising from the heavily regulated areas of telecommunications and broadcasting. Work includes regulatory, transactional and litigation advice relating to telecommunications infrastructure and services.

The media market has many different facets. Chambers guides have attempted to highlight lawyers who have an understanding of the issues related to key sectors such as Advertising, Film & Television; Music and Publishing. This includes contentious and non-contentious matters relating to copyright, distribution rights, broadcasting rights and royalties. It also includes lawyers who handle defamation matters, either in pre-publication advice or in litigation mandates representing claimants and defendants.

White-collar Crime

This practice area covers non-violent wrongdoings such as corruption and financial crimes. Examples include bribery, major fraud and insider trading. Litigation, compliance and government investigations are relevant to this practice area.

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