Category: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

07/02/07

Permalink 11:06:08 am, by dacare, 1567 words, 175 views   English (US)
Categories: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Fifteen New Partners For Davis Polk - Law Firm & Legal News

NEW YORK-- LAWFUEL - The Law Firm Newswire --Davis Polk & Wardwell today announced that Bjorn Bjerke, Mary Conway, Michael Davis, Avi Gesser, Harald Halbhuber, Kimberley D. Harris, Kirtee Kapoor, Jinsoo H. Kim, James C. Lin, Arthur S. Long, Mark M. Mendez, Edmund Polubinski III, Lanny A. Schwartz, Sarah K. Solum and Mischa Travers have been elected partners of the firm effective July 1, 2007. Davis Polk now has 160 partners in its offices in New York, Menlo Park, Washington, D.C., London, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo.

Mr. Bjerke is a corporate lawyer focusing on complex structured products and derivatives including asset-backed debt instruments, fund linked instruments and credit based arrangements. His recent transactions include representing a large real-estate fund complex in a multi-billion dollar lending arrangement; representing large financial institutions in developing various fund-linked structures and derivative trading platforms and establishing synthetic CDO structures. He also represented ISDA as drafting counsel in connection with the 2006 ISDA Fund Derivatives Definitions and Delta Air Lines in connection with certain financing arrangements linked to Delta Sky Miles.

Ms. Conway is a tax lawyer concentrating in investment management matters, including the formation and operation of private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds and other pooled investment vehicles. She has provided advice to Chilton Investment Company, Credit Suisse, Crestview Partners, FrontPoint Partners, HRJ Capital, Integrated Finance Limited, J.P. Morgan, Magnetar Capital and Morgan Stanley, among others. Her practice includes partnership matters and international tax matters.

Mr. Davis is a corporate lawyer concentrating in mergers and acquisitions. The matters he has worked on recently include advising IPSCO in connection with its proposed sale to SSAB Sventskt Stål; Marsh & McLennan in connection with the proposed sale of Putnam Investments to Great-West Lifeco; IPSCO on its acquisition of NS Group; FrontPoint Partners on its sale to Morgan Stanley; MCI on its sale to Verizon; Ford on its acquisition of plants from, and the restructuring of its business relationship with, Visteon; and various other private equity and venture capital transactions.

Mr. Gesser is a litigator concentrating in securities class actions and enforcement, white-collar criminal defense matters and complex commercial cases. Currently, he is representing a major investment bank in class actions involving analyst independence issues. He also recently served as a lead negotiator of a multi-year comprehensive agreement between a large consumer products company and multiple governmental bodies related to international trade issues. He has represented corporations and individuals in various investigations that have been resolved favorably prior to trial. He was also part of the litigation team representing Delta Air Lines in its Chapter 11 restructuring.

Mr. Halbhuber is a corporate lawyer in the London office. His practice focuses on a broad range of corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions transactions. In corporate finance, he has advised both issuers and underwriters on debt and equity transactions. Most recently, he worked on several high-yield debt issuances by European issuers. He has also worked on several initial public offerings and rights offerings. His recent M&A transactions include advising Morgan Stanley on acquisitions in Russia, Italy and the U.K., and Carl Zeiss SMT in the structuring of a joint venture with Cymer and the acquisition of a U.S. nanotechnology company.

Ms. Harris is a litigator with extensive experience representing corporate clients in a variety of criminal, regulatory, and complex civil matters. Recent representations include: the Audit Committee of an auto parts manufacturer in connection with an internal investigation, as well as related criminal and regulatory investigations by the federal government; a major investment bank in connection with criminal and regulatory investigations of the bank’s IPO allocation practices; a former director of the New York Stock Exchange in connection with an investigation by the New York Attorney General and the SEC; and a major pharmaceutical company in connection with multiple complex civil class actions in both state and federal court.

Mr. Kapoor is a corporate lawyer who has had extensive experience in corporate finance, restructurings, workouts and mergers and acquisitions transactions. His experience also includes several transactions in India. His recent matters include advising The Gillette Company in connection with its $57 billion acquisition by The Procter & Gamble Company; Oracle Corporation on its $600 million acquisition of a majority stake in i-flex solutions; Oracle Corporation on its $5.85 billion acquisition of Siebel Systems and Delta Air Lines on its Chapter 11 restructuring generally and in connection with the over $10 billion unsolicited bid from US Airways.

Ms. Kim is a corporate lawyer concentrating in lending and other corporate finance transactions. She represents corporate clients and financial institutions in secured acquisition and other leveraged financings, unsecured financings, debt restructurings and exit financings. Recent representations include Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold in a $11 billion senior secured financing in connection with its acquisition of Phelps Dodge, J.P. Morgan in a $4.5 billion debtor-in-possession facility for Delphi, Delta Air Lines in a $2.5 billion senior secured exit financing, and Goldman Sachs Credit Partners and Credit Suisse in a leveraged acquisition financing for Education Management.

Mr. Lin is a corporate lawyer in the Hong Kong office, advising on public and private corporate finance transactions, including initial public offerings, high-yield debt offerings and private equity investments. He advised China Merchants Bank on its $2.66 billion HKSE listing, Air China on its $1.24 billion HKSE/LSE listing; and the underwriters in the privatization and NYSE/HKSE listing of Aluminum Corporation of China. Mr. Lin has also worked on several NASDAQ IPOs, including the $124 million listing of Baidu.com and the $468 million listing of Himax Technologies. He regularly advises a number of Asian high-technology companies on U.S. law matters.

Mr. Long is a corporate lawyer advising U.S. and foreign banks on the regulatory implications of M&A transactions; private equity investments; the offering of new financial products, including derivatives; enforcement , compliance and bank insolvency issues; and, in the case of foreign banks, establishing U.S. offices. Representative matters he has worked on include Banco Santander’s investment in Sovereign Bancorp; SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae) on its proposed sale; the acquisition by Citizens Financial Group of Charter One Financial; Citigroup’s acquisition of Banamex; Banco Bilbao Vizcaya’s merger with Argentaria; and JPMorgan’s investment in KorAm Bank.

Mr. Mendez is a corporate lawyer focusing on equity derivatives. Recently, he has advised Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs as book-running managers of a $1.5 billion offering by General Motors of convertible senior debentures and a Citigroup affiliate on the related capped call transaction; CVS Corporation in connection with a $2.5 billion collared accelerated share repurchase; Montpelier Re Holdings in connection with two variable share forward sale agreements; Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch in connection with the issuance of debt securities mandatorily exchangeable for shares of Class A common stock of Nuveen Investments; and JPMorgan in connection with the Microsoft Employee Stock Option Transfer Program.

Mr. Polubinski is a litigator representing corporations and individuals in a wide range of securities, professional liability, products liability, general commercial and acquisition-related litigation in federal and state courts. He also represents corporate and individual clients in investigations and other proceedings before various regulatory agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, and the New York Stock Exchange. Recent matters include the defense of an investment banking client in putative class action antitrust litigations; the representation of a corporate issuer and individual clients in class action securities litigation and a related SEC investigation; the defense of a major pharmaceutical company in nationwide consumer protection and product liability litigation; and the representation through trial of a big four accounting firm in litigation arising out of the failure of a large national bank.

Mr. Schwartz is a corporate lawyer advising on securities compliance, regulatory and transactional matters. His clients include major international banks, broker-dealers, securities exchanges, consulting firms, a securities industry trade association and a large life settlement provider. From 1999 to 2005, he was executive vice president and general counsel of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Previously, he was managing director and counsel at Bankers Trust Company, specializing in bank and broker-dealer regulation and investment banking. He speaks and writes regularly on securities market structure and regulatory issues, and was formerly a member of the adjunct faculty of Columbia University School of Law.

Ms. Solum is a corporate lawyer in the Menlo Park office, advising on capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, SEC disclosure and corporate governance. Recent capital markets transactions include convertible debt offerings for Cadence Systems, Cypress Semiconductor and Equinix; investment grade debt offerings for Comcast, Oracle and Seagate; follow-on offerings for Kaiser Aluminum, Wet Seal and Onyx Pharmaceuticals; initial public offerings for Chipotle Mexican Grill and CAI International; and McDonald’s spin-out of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Mergers and acquisitions she has worked on recently include advising NetIQ on its sale to Attachmate WRQ and Oracle on its acquisitions of Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft.

Mr. Travers is a corporate lawyer in the Menlo Park office, advising technology companies and their underwriters and investors on mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and other corporate transactions. Recent matters he has worked on include KLA-Tencor’s acquisitions of ADE, Therma-Wave, SensArray and OnWafer; Software AG’s acquisition of webMethods; Affymetrix’s acquisition of ParAllele; Comcast’s strategic partnership with TiVo; a $2.25 billion debt offering by Comcast Corporation; Affymax’s initial public offering; convertible debt offerings by Borland Software, Boston Properties, Informatica, Intel, Macrovision and Xilinx; and various investments in private companies by affiliates of Richemont.

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06/30/07

Permalink 06:03:09 pm, by dacare, 209 words, 112 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Investing in China, Candidates, Labor and Worker, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Over foreign opposition, China passes law meant to protect workers

BEIJING // China's legislature passed a sweeping new labor law yesterday that strengthens protections for workers across its booming economy, rejecting arguments from foreign investors that the measure would reduce China's appeal as a low-wage, business-friendly industrial base.
The new labor contract law, enacted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, requires employers to provide written contracts to their workers, restricts the use of temporary laborers and makes it harder to lay off employees.

The law, which is to take effect in 2008, also enhances the role of the Communist Party's monopoly union and allows collective bargaining for wages and benefits. It softens some provisions that foreign companies said would hurt China's competitiveness but retains others that American multinationals had lobbied vigorously to exclude.

The law is the latest step by President Hu Jintao to increase worker protections in a society that, despite its nominal socialist ideology, has emphasized rapid capitalist-style economic growth over enforcing labor laws or ensuring an equitable distribution of wealth.

But it could fall short of improving working conditions for the tens of millions of low-wage workers who need the most help unless it is enforced more rigorously than existing laws, which already offer protections that on paper are similar to those in developed economies.

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06/28/07

Permalink 01:42:10 am, by dacare, 969 words, 174 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

China to Enact New Labor Law

BEIJING — Abundant low-cost labor has fueled China's economic boom. But alongside the success stories of bustling factories and surging foreign investment are widespread complaints of unpaid wages, forced labor and other abuses.

When Beijing set out to tackle those problems by proposing a new labor law in 2005, it ignited a heated debate, prompting warnings that the measure might hurt the economy and accusations that U.S. and other foreign companies wanted to erode workers' rights.

This week, after 18 months of deliberation and a rare government request for public comment on the law, legislators are expected to enact a final version that is meant to set standards for China's rapidly changing labor market.

The law, the most significant change in Chinese labor rules in more than a decade, would set standards for labor contracts, use of temporary workers and severance pay.

The change reflects Beijing's willingness to balance its desire for investment against the need to improve conditions for workers at a time of rising tension over a growing wealth gap, said Ronald Brown, a specialist in Chinese law at the University of Hawaii.

"The question facing the decision-makers often has been, 'What will happen if we have hard enforcement? Will that scare people away and take away our competitive advantage?'" Brown said.

"I think the government has been listening and seeing that maybe it's not going to hurt its competitive advantage, and that it's time, and it's important for social stability."

The law was proposed in December 2005 amid complaints that companies were mistreating workers by withholding pay, requiring unpaid overtime or failing to provide written contracts.

Many complaints are directed at Chinese employers or smaller companies run by foreign entrepreneurs. Major Western companies are regarded as offering the best pay and working conditions. But state media are quick to publicize accusations of misconduct against well-known American and other Western employers.

In April 2006, the government published the first draft of the law and asked for public comment, an almost unprecedented step in a communist system where most lawmaking takes place in secret.

It received more than 190,000 responses from workers and Chinese and foreign companies.

Foreign business groups expressed alarm at proposed restrictions on firing workers, limits on use of temporary workers and a provision giving the All-China Federation of Trade Unions _ the umbrella group for unions permitted by the communist government _ a voice in staffing decisions.

The law is "like going 20 years backward," said the monthly magazine of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, which represents 1,300 U.S. companies. The U.S.-China Business Council warned that restrictions on temporary employees would be "prohibitively expensive."

Labor activists reacted angrily to the foreign lobbying. The U.S.-based group Global Labor Strategies dubbed companies involved the "sweatshop lobby" and accused them of pushing Beijing to "weaken or abandon significant pro-worker reforms."

Apparently stung by that criticism, the European Chamber of Commerce in China backed away from earlier criticism of the law, declaring in December that it "stands firmly behind the Chinese government's efforts to improve working conditions."

The business comments appear to have prompted Beijing to remove the most contentious provisions. The third draft of the law, the latest version released, no longer requires approval from the official labor body to fire workers.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's parliament, votes Friday on a fourth version, and its press office said its law committee recommended approval.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai declined to comment on the latest draft but its chairman, James Zimmerman, expressed thanks to the government for accepting comments.

"We are pleased that the Chinese government has allowed public participation in the law-drafting process, and believe that this has been a constructive exercise in transparency," Zimmerman said in a written statement.

The proposed law adds to a series of government steps to update China's legal and political systems to keep pace with explosive economic and social change.

A law passed in March ended two decades of blanket tax breaks for foreign investors, equalizing their rates with those paid by Chinese companies.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions has been setting up branches at hundreds of foreign companies in a campaign launched last year.

The ACFTU often is regarded not as an advocate for better pay and working conditions for employees but as an intermediary that represents employers to workers.

But if the proposed labor law is enacted, it could force the body to act more like a Western-style union by giving it formal responsibilities to stand up for workers, Brown said.

"As these new laws are enforced," he said, "the labor union is likely going to have to accept a larger role as an adversary and an advocate, negotiating better conditions for its members."

On Wednesday, China announced a new crackdown on illegal labor practices following an outcry over revelations of slave labor at brick factories in the country's central provinces.

The two-monthlong inspection campaign starting next week will focus on small-scale kilns, coal mines and workshops, according to a statement posted on the central government's official Web site.

Officials have been ordered to "fix illegal labor practices, attack illegal criminal behavior, conscientiously protect the personal interests of the broad masses of the people, and resolve ... problems of the protection of the rights of migrant workers," the statement said.

China has been in the throes of a slavery scandal that has unleashed a flood of negative publicity against officials in Shanxi and Henan provinces. Hundreds of children and adults were abducted and sold to brickyards in those areas. Operators, often acting with local government protection, beat, starved and forced workers to labor long hours without pay.

Nearly 1,000 workers have been released following police raids in recent months, prompted in part by accusations posted on the Internet that authorities were ignoring such practices.

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06/25/07

Permalink 08:08:16 pm, by dacare, 439 words, 423 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Candidates, Labor and Worker, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

China Employment Contract Law Forum 2007

Promulgated 12 years ago, the PRC Labor Law remains the fundamental piece of legislation governing employment relationships in China. Soon that will change. The draft PRC Employment Contract Law, expected to be promulgated in mid-2007, will effect wide-ranging changes to the regulatory environment for labor relations nationwide.

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We take pleasure in announcing that TransAsia Lawyers will soon be hosting the China Employment Contract Law Forum 2007 with the official endorsement and support of the PRC Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MOLSS). Senior officials from the National People's Congress, State Council, the MOLSS and the local labor bureaus of major cities will support and speak at the event. The forum will focus on the legal interpretation of the new PRC Employment Contract Law.

The Forum is scheduled for 23 - 24 July 2007 at the China World Hotel in Beijing* and will focus on the significant, wide-reaching legal interpretation of the new employment contract law. Several influential government agencies will be involved in the Forum: senior officials from the National People's Congress, State Council, MOLSS and All China Federation of Trade Unions will attend and speak. A number of leading multi-nationals will also participate.

Recommended attendance for:

CEOs
HR Directors and Consultants
Lawyers and In-house Counsel
Business Advisors
Academics

The forum will be the first time that senior PRC officials and legislators will appear on the same platform to discuss the new law. It will therefore provide a unique opportunity for attendees to hear authoritative interpretation of the law and to share their own thoughts directly with key individuals involved in the regulation of employment law in China.

To date, we have confirmed the following keynote speakers:

* Mr Zhang Shicheng, Deputy Director of the Legislative Committee, National People's Congress;
* Mr Li Jian, Director-General, Labor and Social Security Department, State Council;
* Mr Yan Baoqing, Director-General, Legal Affairs Department, MOLSS;
* Mr Qiu Xiaoping, Director-General, Wages Department, MOLSS;
* Mr Rui Lixin, Deputy Director-General, Legal Affairs Department, MOLSS; and

For an outline of the above speakers' topics, please click here.

* Mr Zhang Shouqi, Deputy Director-General, State Administration for Social Security;
* Mr Xu Shuli, Director, Wage Department, Beijing Labor Bureau;
* Mr Li Yanjun, Director, Employment Contract Relationships Department, Tianjin Labor Bureau;
* Mr Zhu Deliang, Director, Labor Disputes Department, Guangdong Provincial Labor and Social Security Administration; and
* Ms Isabelle Wan, Senior Partner, TransAsia Lawyers.

Additional distinguished speakers, including senior judges, local labor bureau officials, HR directors, and legal counsel from well-known multinationals, will participate as panelists.

We will continue to update this page with further details regarding the speakers and program of the Forum.

http://www.transasialawyers.com/pp.php?id=laborforum2007

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06/22/07

Permalink 12:09:55 am, by dacare, 58 words, 88 views   English (US)
Categories: Candidates, Labor and Worker, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Third Draft of Chinese Labor Contract Law Released

China's draft Labor Contract Law, scheduled for final passage in June 2007, saw a number of revisions during the National People's Congress (NPC) third deliberation on April 24.

A translation of the third draft is provided for members' information, courtesy of Baker & McKenzie. Please click here to view the file. (147kb pdf). AmCham Shanghai is currently reviewing the document.

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06/16/07

China labour law seen costing foreign cos more

HONG KONG, June 12 (Reuters) - A new employment law in China will increase labour costs for foreign companies and restrict their flexibility in hiring staff, Australian law firm Minter Ellison said on Tuesday.
However the law, expected to go into effect in January, will also make it easier for companies to make large-scale layoffs in certain circumstances, such as bankruptcy.

The law is partly aimed at protecting employees in the private sector, lawyers say, and keeping up with changes in the labour market as a result of China's rapid economic expansion.

Thirty percent of new jobs in the country are now in service industries and private enterprises have replaced state-owned enterprises as the major employers.

"The greater part of the workforce is now employed by private enterprises and that brings a fear that those organisations don't necessarily have the interests of workers at heart," Pattie Walsh, an employment lawyer at Minter Ellison, told a conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Foreign companies, which have flocked to China to tap into the country's booming economy, have favoured fixed-term employment contracts for local employees as laying off staff in China is difficult.

But under the new law, all companies will have to pay compensation at the end of a fixed contract and will have to allow employees to switch to an open-ended contract after twice renewing a fixed contract.

Lawyers also say probationary periods will be less effective because an employer will have to show evidence that an employee has failed to perform during probation before they can dismiss them.

"That means a company will have to monitor the employee during the probation period much more closely and will need to set criteria or an appraisal system so they can prove that an employee is not fulfilling the role," Walsh said. "This will put more pressure on the employee selection process to get the right people in."

Some analysts say foreign companies are being targeted in a drive to increase unionisation and U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc and fast-food chain McDonald's , which has been accused of breaching minimum wage laws, are among companies that have moved to set up branches of state-backed unions.

Walsh said an existing employment law, introduced in 1995, is not always enforceable because it applies differently depending on the region and is often ignored in favour of local practices.

A final draft of the new labour contracts law is expected to be published within weeks and lawyers expect it to become effective on Jan. 1, 2008.

Many employees in China are working without formal contracts but the new law will require every employee to have a written contract drawn up within a month of starting work and companies will be liable to pay compensation if there is no contract.

Companies will however have more flexibility to lay off large numbers of staff in the event of bankruptcy, production difficulties, relocation to prevent or control pollution and changing economic circumstances.

Walsh said this indicated Beijing was bowing to pressure from companies to enable them to take difficult decisions when they go through tough times.

The law will also modify a "non-compete" clause, enabling a company to stop a senior member of staff or some other employee with confidential company information from joining a competitor within two years of leaving the company by providing compensation. Under the existing law the term is three years and is not restricted to senior staff and other special cases.

The terms of compensation will be agreed between the employer and employee when the employee first joins the company.

Lawyers said the "non-compete" clause helped companies protect their intellectual property and was a step ahead of some other jurisdictions.

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