30 岁转行做律师，34 岁成为律所合伙人，在梁律师看来，法律合规与商业利益之间存在着一个微妙的平衡点，寻找到这个平衡点既是对法律法规的维护，也是对客户利益的保护，更是作为一名律师最大的成就感和乐趣所在。
作为精通保险负债端、公司治理端和投资端全流程的保险法律师，执业以来，梁律师担任了近 30 家金融机构或者互联网头部企业的常法顾问，累计服务保险机构、资产管理公司、央国企60 家余家，同时也负责主办过许多保险行业内最为前沿且复杂的项目，单个项目投资金额不乏百亿级别，平均投资金额达数十亿。
执业中，最令王律师记忆犹新的是代理“新华字典”未注册驰名商标案的经历。 “从2015年开始，历经3年，我们最终成功说服法院认定‘新华字典’为未注册驰名商标，并突破了未注册驰名商标在商标侵权诉讼中不予判赔的先例，成功获赔 327 万元。”
2023 ALB China Top 15 Rising Lawyers
Professionalism, enthusiasm, and diligence are the hallmarks of the ALB China Top 15 Rising Lawyers who have already established themselves on a fulfilling career path. Despite their youth, they have become stalwarts in the industry. Looking ahead, they are committed to further enhancing the legal landscape in China by staying true to their original aspirations, nurturing their teams, and bringing in fresh talent.
The lawyers featured on this year's list have an average age of 37.7 years and boast 13 years of practice, during which they have achieved remarkable success in their respective fields. What are their individual growth paths and future aspirations? What qualities have enabled them to gain recognition in the market? And what attributes have endeared them to their clients? ALB had the privilege of interviewing some of these exceptional individuals, who graciously shared their personal journeys and invaluable professional insights.
OPPORTUNITY, ENTHUSIASM, PERSISTENCE
Kevin Han, a partner at GEN Law Firm, embarked on his career in intellectual property law in Beijing immediately after graduating. Reflecting on his early days, he acknowledges the fortune of having a professional and stringent supervisor who provided invaluable guidance. Through this mentorship, he discovered his passion for IP law, a field in which he has thrived ever since.
Han describes his career trajectory as "ordinary," progressing steadily from assistant to lawyer, senior lawyer, and finally, partner. Each step has been meticulously built upon a solid foundation of expertise and an unwavering commitment to excellence.
Han has demonstrated a profound dedication to his craft as an IP lawyer. He acknowledges that the driving force behind his career is a combination of passion and clear goals. He recognises that lawyers fundamentally serve as providers of legal services, necessitating perseverance and a continuous pursuit of knowledge in the form of new laws, cases, and legal principles. With enthusiasm, true joy in the work can be attained.
Han firmly believes that goals and enthusiasm are intertwined. Goals fuel enthusiasm, propelling individuals towards their aspirations. However, he emphasises the importance of setting goals beyond oneself, as self-centred goals fail to sustain long-term enthusiasm. According to Han, a broader perspective encompassing the growth of clients and the industry is key to fostering enduring passion.
One of the reasons Han remains committed to IP law is his delight in witnessing and contributing to the growth of his clients and the industry as a whole. He recognises the crucial role that intellectual property plays in the success and sustainability of companies, regardless of whether they are technology-driven or brand-oriented. By tailoring IP protection strategies that ensure comprehensive safeguarding of intellectual property rights, Han finds immense fulfilment in supporting enterprises as they thrive. Furthermore, he derives satisfaction from actively participating in and witnessing the rapid development of IP legislation and practice in China.
Han's career is a testament to the power of passion, unwavering dedication, and a genuine commitment to the growth of both clients and the industry in intellectual property law.
PROFESSIONALISM AND COMMITMENT
Li Rui, a partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm, joined the firm after graduating from Peking University and has since achieved remarkable growth, progressing from a trainee to a lead counsel and ultimately an equity partner. She further expanded her legal expertise by completing a one-year training program in the United States, leading to her admission to the New York State Bar.
Initially focusing on foreign direct investment and cross-border M&A (inbound), Li handled numerous large-scale, high-profile, and intricate joint venture and cross-border M&A projects. One notable project she worked on was the Universal Beijing Resort, the first Universal Studios theme park in China. This multifaceted endeavour involved investments exceeding RMB 50 billion and encompassed various legal aspects such as joint ventures, intellectual property, real estate and construction engineering, hotels, and business operations. Due to the complexity of the issues involved, negotiations for the main transaction documents spanned three years.
As both the legal landscape and Li's personal interests evolved, she expanded her practice areas, particularly emphasising cross-border M&A and compliance. The rapid growth of China's digital economy has made data compliance a critical factor in many industries. Consequently, Li actively participated in cutting-edge and complex data compliance projects, including the De-SPAC merger and listing transactions between ECARX and COVA. In cases where relevant rules still needed to be established, Li's forward-looking proposals were pivotal in ensuring project success while mitigating uncertain risks.
Throughout her career, Li has consistently upheld the basic principle of professionalism. She firmly believes that solid expertise serves as the cornerstone for lawyers. However, she emphasises that professionalism is not attained overnight. It requires a strong foundation, diligence, and a continuous commitment to staying at the forefront of legal developments. Li advocates for building a robust and sustainable knowledge management system, both individually and within her team, by fostering a culture of continuous learning. This enables them to become experts in their chosen fields while seamlessly referring clients outside their specialisation to the appropriate teams capable of providing specialised services.
Li also emphasises the significance of an enterprising, responsible, and problem-solving mindset. In recent years, cross-border transactions and data compliance have witnessed rapid legislative and enforcement developments, presenting lawyers with increasingly complex challenges. Li believes lawyers must go beyond dealing with traditional and standardised legal issues. They should possess a deep understanding of the underlying logic within their fields and stay informed about legislative, enforcement, and industry developments. This allows them to navigate uncertainty, explore alternative paths, and address clients' unique and evolving needs while maintaining professional integrity.
Li Rui's career exemplifies the pursuit of excellence through professionalism, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to providing exceptional legal services in the ever-changing landscape of cross-border transactions and data compliance.
A BALANCED WAY
Liang Bing, a partner at AnJie Broad Law Firm, began her career in the insurance industry after completing her master's degree. She joined an insurance company and focused on compliance management at its headquarters. Liang recognised the value of practical experience in the insurance sector and embraced the opportunity to understand the responsibilities and challenges of various roles within the industry. This firsthand exposure allowed her to understand the insurance landscape comprehensively, which fueled her desire to drive business development through legal compliance.
Over the next five years, Liang played a key role in spearheading innovative projects related to the legality of usage-based insurance (UBI) and the legal liability associated with driverless cars. These initiatives remain highly relevant and topical within the industry. In addition, Liang engaged in activities such as on-site regulatory inspections and drafting compliance reports, providing her with a vivid insight into the operations of large insurance companies and practical financial regulations. Through these experiences, Liang's passion for legal services grew, leading her to transition into specialising in insurance law as a lawyer.
Achieving the status of a lawyer at 30 and becoming a partner at 34, Liang believes in striking a delicate balance between legal compliance and business interests. This balance entails adhering to laws and regulations and safeguarding clients' interests, which she finds to be the greatest source of accomplishment and satisfaction as a lawyer.
As an insurance law specialist well-versed in insurance liabilities, corporate governance, and investments, Liang has served as a regular legal advisor to nearly 30 financial institutions and Internet giants. She has also provided counsel to over 60 insurance institutions, asset management companies, and central state-owned enterprises.
Liang has overseen numerous cutting-edge and complex projects within the insurance industry, with average investment amounts ranging from several billion to tens of billions. Her extensive experience positions her as more than just a legal advisor; she sees herself as a business partner and product designer. Recognising the intricacies and evolving nature of business models and product forms, Liang believes that lawyers must comprehend the needs and characteristics of corporate operations and products. This understanding enables them to provide clients with comprehensive legal support and valuable risk management advice.
Liang's career showcases her expertise in insurance law and her ability to navigate complex projects within the industry. Her role extends beyond legal advisory to that of a trusted business partner and product designer, as she combines her legal insight with a deep understanding of her clients' specific business needs.
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES WITH FIRM CONVICTION
Wang Yuming, a partner at Wanhuida Intellectual Property, commenced his legal career in 2009, specialising in civil and commercial litigation and corporate counselling. Since 2014, he has steadily expanded his areas of expertise, progressing from administrative litigation related to trademark authorisation and determination, and civil litigation regarding trademark infringement, to encompass patent infringement litigation. Wang has carved a career path centred on IP litigation and associated legal services.
Despite not having a technical background, Wang has overcome any apprehension regarding challenges and collaborated closely with patent lawyers to successfully handle numerous cases. He attributes his growth and improved litigation strategies and skills to the support of his clients and Wanhuida. Wang vividly recalls a significant unregistered well-known trademark litigation case involving Xinhua Dictionary. The process spanned three years, commencing in 2015, during which Wang and his team convinced the court that "Xinhua Dictionary" qualified as an unregistered well-known trademark. This landmark decision departed from the precedent of denying compensation in infringement litigation for unregistered well-known trademarks, ultimately securing RMB3.27 million for the client.
The Xinhua Dictionary case garnered recognition as one of the top 10 IP cases in Chinese courts in 2017 and ranked among the top 10 judicial IP protection cases in Beijing courts in the same year. Furthermore, the China Trademark Association deemed it an excellent trademark agency case. It topped the list of the top 10 IP cases compiled by the Intellectual Property Committee of the All China Lawyers Association. This complex and challenging case, characterised by substantial evidence, significantly influenced Wang's unwavering commitment to exploring the depths of IP law.
Wang Yuming's career trajectory showcases his evolution as an IP litigator and his ability to tackle intricate cases. Despite lacking a technical background, his dedication, collaboration with colleagues, and support from clients and his firm have propelled him to handle influential trademark and patent cases. The success of the Xinhua Dictionary litigation, in particular, has solidified his belief in the importance of delving into IP law and honing his expertise in this field.
THE WAY OF SERVICE
Faced with evolving environments and client needs, these young lawyers have amassed unique methodologies and experience in serving their clients.
Li emphasises the importance of combining the skills of experts, problem solvers, people in business, and team managers to address complex legal issues. Her top priorities in client service are due diligence, risk control, and a business mindset.
Firstly, Li stresses the significance of taking ownership of the client's business. She believes that by treating the client's business as their own, the team can think ahead and provide thorough solutions. Secondly, lawyers should be risk-aware. Li understands that this is consistent with client service, as an accurate understanding of the professional bottom line and effective risk control, coupled with clear communication, can protect the interests of both clients and legal professionals. Li always anticipates potential risks in projects and practices, providing appropriate warnings and guidance to clients to ensure compliance.
Additionally, Li underscores the importance of a business mindset. Lawyers need to understand their clients' business and industry, enabling them to empower their clients fully. Moreover, from a broader perspective, lawyers should be able to perceive or even predict economic trends and respond proactively. A skilled lawyer possesses business acumen and can go beyond expectations.
Liang values the combination of legal compliance and business interests in her practice. She believes lawyers should understand their clients' business goals and models to support them effectively. While business operations often follow a specific path, innovative ideas can emerge from finding the shortest way that connects the starting point to the goal. As a lawyer dedicated to business growth, Liang works diligently to help clients discover the most efficient path while meeting all their needs.
Furthermore, lawyers need to recognise that laws and compliance are dynamic, while innovation and legislation are complementary. Liang understands that lawyers may encounter conflicts between legal compliance and business interests. Instead of solely seeking legal loopholes, a skilled lawyer combines business mindset and legal expertise to provide practical advice based on regulatory principles when necessary.
Han believes professional competence is the foundation for client support, and unprofessional lawyers eventually fade from the market. He emphasises the importance of continuous learning to consolidate knowledge and improve skills, enabling lawyers to gain clients' favour with their strengths.
Han also highlights the concept of "partnership" when serving clients. Lawyers should view clients as companions, understanding their businesses and need from their perspective to develop plans that satisfy and empower them. As workload increases, team members should treat each other as companions, dividing responsibilities accordingly. This forms the basis of a great team.
Wang has observed a growing demand for IP application, licensing, and contract review in the past year. Clients are primarily concerned with enhancing the commercial value of their intellectual property rights (IPRs), and litigation is often not their first choice for resolving external conflicts. In response, lawyers can assist companies by providing training, developing contract templates, and implementing practical and effective IP measures. Positive outcomes can be achieved by offering clients advice on how to maximise the use of IP, mitigate IP risks, and improve IP protection.
In summary, these young lawyers demonstrate their commitment to client service by combining their legal expertise with business acumen, risk management, and a deep understanding of their clients' needs. By taking ownership, being risk-aware, and adopting a business mindset, they provide comprehensive legal support and enable their clients to achieve their goals effectively.
THE NEXT STEP
Regarding career vision and planning, Liang shares her goal of becoming the top insurance lawyer. She recognises that the insurance industry's development and challenges create an increasing demand for legal services, leading to evolving practice fields. She will continuously improve her professional skills, expand her industry influence, and dedicate herself to insurance practice.
Additionally, Liang places great importance on team management. She aims to provide her team with industry experience and recruit legal professionals with expertise in the insurance field, empowering the team to deliver exceptional legal services. Liang believes that effective lawyers in the current era are crucial for helping visionaries clarify their direction, implement strategies, mitigate risks, and overcome difficulties.
When it comes to team development, Liang emphasises the significance of attending to details. She recognises that excellent legal services rely on exceptional lawyers and the efficiency and maturity of the entire team. As a partner, Liang devotes time to knowledge research and sharing, collaborating with political and legal colleges and universities to guide and train young lawyers. She plans to invest more energy in legislation, research, sharing, and teaching.
Han aspires to become a top IP lawyer who empowers both clients and those around him. He envisions contributing to advancing China's IP protection on a global scale. As a graduate of the Southwest University of Political Science & Law, Kevin Han aims to leverage the resources of the GEN Law Firm in Chengdu to promote IP protection in Sichuan and Chongqing. He hopes his efforts will fuel the local rapid economic development and significantly contribute to his agency's growth.
Wang is determined to continue providing his clients with comprehensive, high-quality IP legal services. He emphasises the importance of building a distinctive brand while protecting the intellectual achievements of clients. Wang encourages all team members to maintain enthusiasm, foster collaboration, embrace challenges, and take responsibility. He promotes the development of their unique technical characteristics while emphasising the value of experience accumulation and sharing. Wang envisions growth and success for his lawyers, platform, and clients, with all parties progressing together.
2023 ALB China Top 15 Rising Lawyers
The lawyers on the list were chosen based on a combination of the following:
· significant achievements;
· important deals or cases;
· significant work in the last 12 months;
· clients the candidate acted for;
· significant accolades the candidate received for work in the form of public recognition;
· client comments and colleague comments.