The California Western School of Law in San Diego, California held a symposium on current trends in the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets on February 17th & 18th, 2016.
The Symposium began the evening of the 17th with a lecture by Fernando Dias Simões of the Faculty of Law at the University of Macau entitled: Hong Kong and the Global Battle of the Seats in International Arbitration. In that lecture, Professor Simões detailed the continued increase of arbitration in the region, and the concurrent specialization of focus among a growing number of seats of arbitration.
Macau a future seat of Asia arbitration?
Presently, major regional centers of arbitration exist in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and elsewhere. Professor Simões detailed the recent considerations given to establishing a seat of arbitration in Macau with a specialized focus on commercial matters undertaken in Portugese among parties in nations utilizing the language. Simões detailed how at present there is no significant movement to establish a formal seat, however this could conceivably change in the future were Beijing to wish to establish one.
Simões addressed a diverse audience of lawyers, law students, law professors and business and community leaders and took questions including those on the increasing expansion of commercially focused non-governmental organizations vis-a-vis nation states.
Opportunities and challenges in APAC trans-national legal practice
On February 18th, Professor James Cooper of California Western School of Law chaired a panel focused on trends and best practices in international law practice with a particular emphasis on the Asia-Pacific legal markets. The panel included Bill Hornung of PriceHorne LLC, Fernando Dias Simões of the Faculty of Law at the University of Macau, Kam Li of Procopio and John Grimley of Asia Law Portal.
The panel addressed law students and law faculty and covered a wide range of subjects from the expansion of the Asia-Pacific legal markets, trade and investment between Asia-Pacific and California, the increasing complexity of law practice in the region and globalization and dis-aggregation of legal services hastened in part by the internet economy. Too, panelists addressed their respective experiences as practitioners and legal professionals, providing students with insights into what might distinguish them as leading lawyers in international practice in the future.
Hornung and Li in particular provided insight on their respective experiences in facilitating inbound investment into California and other jurisdictions from Japan and China – and how law students might wish to forge similar careers. Panelists also provided insight into how best to maintain high ethical standards and cultural awareness and sensitivity to help increase results for all parties to cross-border transactions.
The event provided a superb opportunity for a diverse legal community to come together to exchange ideas on legal practice in an increasingly inter-dependent commercial world, with an emphasis on the expanding commercial ties between California and the constituent economies of the Asia-Pacific region.