GAR 100 - 7th Edition

Zhong Lun

Professional notice

The mainland Chinese firm opened an office in New York.

Pending cases as counsel
40
Value of pending counsel work:
US$1.5 billion
Treaty cases
0
Current arbitrator appointments:
4 (of which 2 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
2
 
 

Zhong Lun was founded in 1993 as one of China’s earliest private partnership law firms and has grown from a single office in Beijing with five lawyers to one of China’s three largest law firms.

It has an international arbitration group full of English-speaking lawyers that is part of the firm’s wider dispute resolution practice.

In the early days, this group was focused on real estate and construction arbitrations at CIETAC, Beijing Arbitration Centre and some overseas fora. As the firm has developed, the practice has grown and now handle disputes over joint ventures, equity transfer, international sale of goods, IP licensing, shipbuilding, banking and finance, distribution, energy, media and telecommuncications. The firm made its first appearance in the GAR 100 in 2013.

The dispute resolution department is headed by Yuming Liu, who worked as a Chinese Supreme Court judge for over 10 years before joining private practice and has experience of dealing with high-profile commercial lawsuits and enforcement applications before the courts. He also sits as a CIETAC and BAC arbitrator.

Other major partners of the practice are Lijun Cao, who worked with CIETAC for many years rising to deputy director and is qualified in China and New York, and Lei Niu, a former deputy secretary general of the China Maritime Arbitration Commission’s Shanghai subcommission. Both sit as arbitrators for various Asian institutions (Cao also sits on AAA-ICDR cases).

Network

Zhong Lun has six offices in mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu) as well as other offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo, London and now New York.

Who uses it?

Domestic clients include Chinese state-owned electrical supplier Shandong Luneng; the New York Stock Exchange listed CDEL; Paul Y Construction (China); Shanghai Motors; Zhejang Tenglong Shipyard Company; and Chinachem Group.

Foreign clients include Heineken-Asia Pacific Breweries Limited, which is engaged in a series of disputes in relation to a Chinese joint venture and Invista Technologies, in a dispute arising from agreements between the client as licensor and a Chinese company as licensee that is one of the few CIETAC cases to be conducted under UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. The latter case is under Hong Kong law, with Fulbright & Jaworski instructed as Zhong Lung’s co-counsel.

Other clients are Honeywell (which it has represented repeatedly since 2009), Lacoste and BNP Paribas.

Track record

Zhong Lun represented Paul Y Construction (China), a Hong Kong property service provider, as respondent and counterclaimant in two consolidated arbitrations worth US$10 million before CIETAC’s South China subcommission in Shenzhen – succeeding on most counts.

It also knocked out claims brought against Shanghai Motors in an arbitration before a CIETAC Shanghai tribunal over a long-term auto parts sale contract.

Other successes were for Zhejiang Tenglong Shipyard as claimant in an LMAA arbitration against Russian vessel owners; and Canada’s Absolute Energy in an international sale of goods dispute against a US subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned company.

It obtained a settlement for Zhejiang Fulida Company, avoiding an HKIAC arbitration with a Canadian company.

As for court work related to arbitration, Zhong Lun obtained an order setting aside a Beijing Arbitration Commission award for Meibang Yalian, a Beijing based real estate developer. It also pushed for recognition and enforcement of an award in favour of Invista Technologies, forcing the counterparty to settle.

Recent events

In April 2013, the firm opened entered into the US market by opening an office in New York.

Since the last edition, the firm represented Puyang Steel Company as claimant in a CIETAC Beijing arbitration against an international air products company, US$280 million. The parties settled their claims.

The firm is also representing a US technology company in a CIETAC Beijing arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules (one of the few such cases in the institution’s history). The case concerns a licensing agreement and is worth more than US$40 million.

Client comment

Jonathan Fung of Paul Y Construction (China), a Hong Kong based engineering and construction group, has been using Zhong Lun for real estate, construction and contentious matters in mainland China since 2005.

“In 2010, the firm offered very professional and insightful legal advice in the first ever China based arbitration case we were involved in,” Fung reports. “The disputes submitted to CIETAC related to the provision of construction management services by us to a mainland developer in one of the major mainland cities. Zhong Lun gave excellent advice in the preparation of submissions and strategies, so that we knew exactly when and what details mattered throughout.”

Founded in 1993, Zhong Lun Law Firm is a leading full service PRC law firm. With over 700 professionals strategically located in mainland China’s key corporate and financial centres, as well as in Hong Kong, Tokyo, London and New York.

We rank among the top firms in dispute resolution, cross-border M & A, real estate and construction, international trade, banking and finance, capital market, as well as energy and natural resources. Our reputation for excellence is well acknowledged by legal directories such as Chambers & Partners, Asian Legal Business (ALB) and Legal 500, etc. We have received the Chambers award of “PRC Law Firm of the Year” in 2011 and 2014.

Our international arbitration team has represented clients, which are mostly multinational companies, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private equity funds, in cases arbitrated under the CIETAC Rules, the UNCITRAL Rules, the HKIAC Administered Rules, the ICC Rules, the LCIA Rules, the SIAC Rules and the BAC Rules. In recent years, our team has been widely acknowledged as the most competent professionals for their excellent achievements in international arbitrations and arbitration-related lawsuits. The Chambers Asia-Pacific 2014 commented our team as “an excellent disputes group with strong capacity in litigation and arbitration”.

 

Key Contacts

Lijun Cao

Partner, Dispute Resolution, Beijing Office

Email: [email protected] Phone: +8610 5957 2023

Lei Niu

Partner, Dispute Resolution, Shanghai Office

Email: [email protected] Phone: +8621 6061 3087

Website: www.zhonglun.com

Get unlimited access to all Global Arbitration Review content