Thursday, December 15, 2011

Asia's Largest Law Firm - Announced Today

King & Wood, the well-regarded Chinese law firm, is "merging" with Australia's Mallesons Stephens Jacques to create what is being called Asia’s largest law firm.

The name:  King & Wood Mallesons.

A sign of the times that a significant Chinese law firm would help to lead such expansion.

Note that foreign and Chinese law firms are not allowed to share revenues and must be operated as separate law firms - hence the structure as alliances for McDermott's foray into China with MWE China Law Offices, a separate Chinese law firm.

How will the Chinese legal community react to this one?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cross-Border Joint Ventures - A Word From Benjamin Franklin, Circa 1791

Yes, that Benjamin Franklin, United States founding figure and printer, writer, inventor, diplomat and scientist - the guy on the US $100 dollar note. While his observations were on partnership, they apply equally well to joint ventures, which after all are a form of partnership. Clients often observe, correctly, that good relationships are built on trust, but I counter that without something more to document and support the intention of the parties, those relationships are at great risk of dissolution, and especially so given the complexities and cultural disconnects in a cross-border venture. On to Mr. Franklin, from his Autobiography:

"Partnerships often finish in quarrels; but I was happy in this, that mine were all carried on and ended amicably, owing, I think, a good deal to the precaution of having very explicitly settled, in our articles, every thing to be done by or expected from each partner, so that there was nothing to dispute, which precaution I would therefore recommend to all who enter into partnerships; for, whatever esteem partners may have for, and confidence in each other at the time of the contract, little jealousies and disgusts may arise, with ideas of inequality in the care and burden of the business, etc., which are attended often with breach of friendship and of the connection, perhaps with lawsuits and other disagreeable consequences."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why "Local" [Law and Practice] Matters in the Age of Globalization

After attending our November 8th event on challenges in doing business with India (see below), we thought we would put in a plug for our friends at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs for their November 9th event in Chicago:


The following quote caught my attention - it is exactly our role as a cross-border law practice to help businesses to understand the local dynamics of different countries - with a focus on foreign market entry, legal systems and taxation (hence my slightly modified title above):

"Marvin Zonis and Joseph Yackley argue that as global interconnectivity grows, understanding the local political, social, and cultural dynamics of different countries is critically important to the success of foreign policy and international business."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Open Invitation to a November 8th India Gathering - Chicago

We are again hosting an event to help promote the Inter-Pacific Bar Association’s annual conference – November 8th in Chicago, and surrounding dates for Toronto, Los Angeles and New York. 

We are trying to gather as many interested lawyers and business people as possible for this substantive panel and a discussion of the IPBA annual conference to take place in New Delhi from February 29th to March 3rd.

Please pass this along to whomever you think would have an interest. 


Panel discussion, sponsored by the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, will address challenges facing U.S. companies doing business with India, including: Dispute Resolution from a Foreign Investor’s Perspective; India’s Progress with Corruption and Ways to Handle It; Perspectives on Working with Regulators and Bureaucracy; and Intellectual Property and Non-Competition Issues in Working with Employees and Partners. 5:45 – 8:00 p.m., 200 South Wacker Drive, Suite 3000, Chicago. No charge; advance registration required by November 4. For information & registration, please

Lalit Bhasin
Bhasin & Co., New Delhi
Incoming IPBA President

David Laverty and Chandini Prakash
InternationalCounsel, Chicago

Suhas Srinivasiah
Kochhar & Co., Bangalore

Praveen Agarwal 
Agarwal Jetley, New Delhi