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As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations for Peking University’s School of Transnational Law (STL), a Sino-American Expert Forum on “Legal and Funding Issues for Successful Startups” was held in Shenzhen on Sunday December 2nd. The full-day program was organized by STL in partnership with University of California Berkeley Law School’s Berkeley Center for Law and Technology (BCLT). Speakers and panelists included world-leading academics, lawyers, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
The forum was officially held in the auditorium of Peking University HSBC Business School. Philip McConnaughay, Dean and Professor of STL, briefly reviewed the history of STL’s establishment and the progress which STL made during the past ten years. Wu Yundong, Chancellor of Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School and Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, emphasized the importance of startups and extended his sincere welcome to foreign experts. Erwin Chemerinsky, Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Berkeley Law, spoke highly of the forum and the rich discussions that took place between Chinese and American experts and scholars.
The first session was on “Entity Formation and Early Financing” and was moderated by Adam Sterling, Executive Director of Berkeley Center for Law and Business. The session began with David Thomas, Vice President of Industry Research and Analysis of Biotechnology Innovation Organization delivering his lecture on the special issues in biotechnology. Subsequently, Lin Lin, Assistant Professor of Law and Finance of National University Singapore lectured on private equity and crowd-sourced funding in China and Asia. Lastly, Liu Fang, Partner of Broad & Bright, as an expert in Corporate law in China and the United States, provided the Chinese perspective on the matter.
Before proceeding to the second session, Lu Shan, the Deputy Director of the Shenzhen United Propert and Share Rights Exchange, gave a very interesting talk on venture capital. The second session was on “Regulatory and Trade Issues”. Mark Cohen, Senior Fellow and Director of Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, lectured from the perspective of patent protection and mentioned the recent trade dispute between China and the US.
Under the theme of “Advanced Financing”, the third session was moderated by STL Professor Sang Yop Kang. Adam Sterling, the executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Business, launched the discussion by providing a general overview of the issue. He was followed by Professor Kang who presented unique insights on corporate governance and control issues. Finally, Ling Tong, a lawyer with FangDa, closed the session by providing the Chinese perspective on the matter.
The fourth session was moderated by Robert Merges, the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosata Professor of Law and Director of Berkeley Center for Law and Technology of Berkeley Law. Speakers in this session reflected on the varies means through which startups’ new ideas are protected. Li K, General Manager of Chinese Academy of Sciences Intellectual Property Investment Company, delved into the issue of IP investment. While Jeff Cao, Senior Researcher of Tencent Research Institute, and LI Binxin, Partner of Baker McKenzie/Fenxun complicated the discussion by providing varying Chinese perspectives. They affirmed the importance of innovation for startups and proposed constructive suggestions in fostering and protecting those ideas.
Subsequently, a very inspiring keynote speech on startups was delivered by Dong Shaoling, who is the CEO of RabbitPre and was named Forbes “Top 30 Under 30” in 2017.
Finally, the event ended after the fifth session on “Employee Issues” with inspiring talks by Robert Merges, the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosata Professor of Law and Director of Berkeley Center for Law and Technology of Berkeley Law and Zhu Shaobin, Partner of Morgan Lewis, as they shared their experiences in human resource management.
With more than 1000 people from all over the world registering to attend, the Forum was designed to foster a rich and creative discussion on the rapidly evolving field of startups in Shenzhen and Greater Bay Area.
Related News (in Chinese):
Shenzhen Special Zone Daily
Yangcheng Evening News
China’s State Council authorized the creation of China’s first common law Juris Doctor curriculum in 2007. The following year, Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) was founded and admitted its first students. By ten years’ development, STL becomes the only law school in the world that combines an American-style Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) with a China law Juris Master degree (J.M.). STL provides an academically rigorous, bilingual four-year program of legal education that prepares students for the mixture of common law, civil law, and Chinese legal traditions increasingly characteristic of the global economy. Although STL is still young, with only seven graduating classes to date, it already has captured the attention of the world’s leading law firms, companies, government offices, NGOs and universities. More about STL histroy>>
This year marks STL’s 10th anniversary. We are celebrating the law school’s anniversary throughout the year with a series of lectures and events, which we will list here as they are scheduled.
April 13- 14, Alumni Weekend & PILF Auction
March 29, Lecture, LIANG Genlin: Principle of legality, Hierarchy and Individual Justice
March 23-27, the 9th Asian-Pacific M&A Moot Competition
March 16, Lecture, ZHANG Gu: Transfer and Migration
March 16, Lecture, ZHANG Gu: Legal Issues of Land in China
March 14, Lecture, Andrew Harding: Constitutionalism and Development: A Mismatch or A Dream-Team?
March 8, Lecture, CHEN Duanhong: Basic Law of Hong Kong and Macao
January 6, Lecture, LIU Yan: The Name and Nature of Big Asset Management
December 29, Lecture, ZHANG Gu: Finding and Applying Legal Norms: CHEN Ying V. LUO Ronggeng Case as a Case Study
December 17, Book Launch, Current Developments in Climate Change Law
December 17, Lecture, Peter Quayle: The Legal Challenges of Starting-Up a New Multilateral Development Bank: The Example of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
December 12, Lecture, Arthur B. Laby: Fiduciary Principles in Investment Advice
December 11, Lecture, JIN Haijun: US-China IP Dispute
December 2, Forum, Legal and Funding Issues for Successful Startups
December 2, Roundtable, Political Constitutionalism in Comparative Perspectives
December 1, Lecture, GAO Quanxi: Methodologies in Chinese Constitutional History Studies
November 30, Lecture, ZHU Weiguo: Digital Economy, Granular Society and Innovation of Governance Framework
November 28, Lecture, Frank Wu: Wong Kim Ark: The First Chinese American, and What His Case Means Today
November 23-24, Conference, China, The United States and Comparative Law Today
November 22, Lecture, LIANG Zhiping: Legal Dilemma for Wildlife Protection
Francis Snyder, C.V.Starr Professor of Law at Peking University School of Transnational Law, was awarded 2018 the People’s Republic of China Friendship Award, the highest honor for “foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to the country’s economic and social progress.” The award was announced by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) and presented by Vice Prime Minister Liu He at the Great Hall of the People on September 29. Premier Li Keqiang met with the Recipients on September 30.
Speaking after the awarding ceremony, Professor Snyder said, “I am deeply honored and really delighted to receive this Award. It has been my great pleasure to contribute to China for more than 20 years. I express my profound thanks to SAFEA, Peking University, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, and STL for their constant support.”
STL Dean Philip McConnaughay noted on behalf of the entire STL community that, “Francis Snyder’s scholarly contributions to China-EU trade relations and to the development of food safety law and protocols in China have had enormous beneficial impact over the years. We are very fortunate and very proud to have Professor Snyder as an esteemed member of our academic community.”
Professor Snyder is a scholar of European Union Law, WTO and international economic law, EU-China relations, technical standards, anti-dumping and food safety law. He has served as the Co-Director of the Academy of European Law, Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Guest Professor at Peking University Law School and Tsinghua Law School.
Professor Snyder has been actively engaging in China-EU relations and China food safety reform. Among recent professional appointments, He was invited to serve as the leading foreign expert to China’s Central Government for reform of the food safety system in China and contributed to reform the 2009 Food Safety Law. His additional awards and achievements include the honor of Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by French Republic and being listed in Marquis Who’s who in the World and in International Authors and Writers Who’s who.
It is not the first time that STL community to be granted with the esteemed Award. STL’s Founding Dean Jeffrey Lehman received the honor in 2011.
STL alumni Zhao Feng and Liu Di have been successively listed in 2018 LEGALBAND China Elite Lawyer 30 Under 30 and Elite Law Counsel 30 Under 30 based on their professionalism and rich experience in practical areas. The research is conducted by Accurate Media Asia Limited and aims to reflect the capabilities and real positions of law firms and lawyers in Asia-Pacific legal market.
Zhao Feng, a 2014 graduate of STL, works at Jingtian & Gongcheng law firm. She specializes in regulation and dispute resolution. Liu Di, a 2015 graduate of STL, works at Huya Live. He mainly practices upon legal issues related to electronic sports and game live.
Click to view the full rankings of 2018 “Elite Lawyer 30 Under 30″ and “Elite Law Counsel 30 Under 30″ in Chinese.
On March 30, 2019, STL held its first Law Fair in Shenzhen. The daylong event invited 10 domestic and foreign recruiters to attend, including AnJie Law Firm, Fangda Partners, Global Law Office, King & Wood Mallesons, JINGSH Law Firm, JunHe Law Firm, Linklaters LLP, TransAsia Lawyers, Sidley Austin LLP and TianTong & Partners.
The Law Fair was mainly aimed at students graduating in 2020. The event provides employers with the opportunity to introduce their organization and advertise potential vacancies in a more direct and personalized manner. It began with an information session which segued into CV reviewing and concluded with some on-site interviews. Both students and potential employers expect to further their cooperation and were grateful for the opportunity to establish a solid connection.
STL graduates are popular among employers. With a nearly 100 percent placement, they already have captured the attention of the world’s leading law firms, companies, government offices, NGOs and universities. These employers recognize that the true value of STL’s J.D. and J.M. degrees includes far more than simply educating students about the content of different areas of Chinese and American law.
This was STL’s first time hosting such an event and it certainly will not be its last.
The Ninth Asian-Pacific M&A Moot competition was organized by Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) and China Mergers & Acquisitions Association from the 24th of March till the 27th. As an annual Asian-Pacific competition, the event has attracted more than 16 universities to participate, including Macau University of Science and Technology, the University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, National Chengchi University, Tsinghua University, Xiamen University and more.
The competition consisted of three phases: submission of written reports, negotiation, and board reporting. Based on the memo and presentation, the judge panel made its decision after thorough discussion. The judge panel was chaired by Gong Yaling, partner of McDermott Will & Emery law firm. Other judges included Liao Mingxia, partner of Deheng (Shenzhen) Law Firm; Li Wei, founding partner of Shenzhen Songhe Capital; Ma Guozhu, Chairman of the Corporate Governance Professionals Association; Xie Jiayang, vice president of China M&A Association and managing partner of Ernst & Young China Strategy; Wang Ping, former Chairman China M&A Association and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hongyi Capital Group; Qu Zhenyu, General Manager of CMBC(Shenzhen) Investment Department; Li Mingming, Assistant Managing Director of Greater Bay Area Common Home Investment Co., Ltd.
STL team, coached by Professor Zhu Daming and composed of three STL students (Jin Xiaojia, Song Changlin and Zhu Runze) and three PHBS students (Cui Dijun, Wang Yishuai and Shen Wenbin), won the China M&A Association Best Legal Service Award and Best Memo Award. In addition, Jin Xiaojia was awarded the Best Performance Award and Song Changlin awarded the Best Teammate Award.
Below is the full list of the prize-winners:
Best M&A Plan Award: National Chengchi University, Wuhan University
Best Team Award Champion: Xiamen University
Best Team Award Runner-up: Tsinghua University
Best Team Award Third Runner-up: Hong Kong University
China M&A Association Best Financial Advisor Award: Taiwan University
China M&A Association Best Legal Service Award: Peking University
China M&A Association Best Industry Analysis Award: Shanghai Jiaotong University
Best Memo Awards: Macau University of Science and Technology, National Chengchi University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, National Chung Cheng University, East China University of Political Science and Law, Peking University, Hong Kong University, Taipei University
Best Performance Awards: Ma Yixuan, Lin Zhaozhi, Zheng Jiaqi, Mu Ladili, He Yijun, Jia Haidong, Zheng Yuren, Wang Luyuan, Cao Yici, Zhong Ying, Lai Xingyu, Jin Xiaojia, Jiang Xinyi, Wu Xinyi, Liao Yuhui, Huang Liyi
Best Teammate Awards: Zhao Chuchu, Liu Yizhen, Zheng Jiaqi, Zhang Jiaqi, He Yijun, Wang Yue, Zhu Jiazhen, Zheng Yuren, Chen Runping, Hong Wei’en, Lai Xingyu, Song Changlin, Qu Xin, Mo Weiting, Lu Jianhua, Li Dongsheng
On 18 March at the International Law Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), an invitation-only workshop was held to discuss issues related to China signing and ratifying the United Nations (UN) Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (Singapore Mediation Convention or Convention). Among the attendees of the workshop were persons from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Supreme People’s Court, and National People’s Congress, Foreign Affairs College and Shanghai office of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. Susan Finder, STL Distinguished Scholar in Residence, was one of the organizers of the workshop, along with Mr. Wen Xiantao, section head of the Department of Treaties and Law of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and official Chinese negotiator of the Singapore Convention and Sun Wei, Zhong Lun partner and participant in the Convention negotiations as part of Beijing Arbitration Commission’s delegation to the negotiations as with observer status.
The Singapore Mediation Convention is intended to complement the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention, and when it goes into force, will enable international commercial settlement agreements that result from (third party) mediation to be enforced. Professor Finder, who chaired on of the sections of the workshop, invited Adrian Hughes, QC and Helen Tang (Shanghai-based disputes partner of Herbert Smith Freehills) in the room to be able to speak first hand about the process of and advantages of commercial mediation in international commercial dispute resolution, as well as the enforcement process in the courts of England and Wales.
The closed-door and invitation-only format enabled an interactive discussion among all participants. Among the many issues discussed were the implications for the courts, preventing the enforcement of fraudulent mediation settlements, and the lack of a law in China relating to commercial mediation.
(Photo Credit: Institute of Law)
From March 16-17, STL earned the second place in the Beijing Pre-Moot for the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. For individual prizes, Huang Shaowen won the Best Oralist in semi-finals and Zhang Fengming won the Best Oralist in the finals. Twelve universities competed in this pre-moot including Peking University School of Law, University of International Business and Economics, Renmin University of China and Fudan University.
The team, composed of four 2L students, Li Guangyu, Huang Shaowen, Zhang Fengming and Zhangqi, immediately headed to Guangzhou for the first Guangzhou Vis Pre-Moot on March 18. They won the First Prize, Best Memorandum for Claimant and Best Memorandum for Respondent. Additionally, Huang Shaowen was awarded with the Best Oralist for Claimant.
“It is all about teamwork. I thank the school for its support, thank Coach Cole Agar for the training, thank alumni for the encouragement and especially thank my teammates for the hard work we have been through. It is the support from all that enables us to make further improvements,” Huang Shaowen said.
Both Vis Pre-Moots provide training opportunities for oral pleadings in preparation for the 26th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot to be held in Vienna and Hong Kong in April 2019.
STL Dean Philip McConnaughay recently was interviewed by In-House Community, which has a wide readership with prospective employers. Below is the full interview.
The thing about … Philip McConnaughay
The dean of Peking University School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen discusses the development of legal education in China.
Asian-mena Counsel: What is the background of the Peking University School of Transnational Law, Shenzhen (STL) — when was it founded and what is its purpose?
Philip McConnaughay: STL was established in 2008 by special authorisation of China’s State Council. The founding dean was Jeffrey Lehman, a former president of Cornell University and dean of the University of Michigan Law School. The idea was to establish an American-style law school at China’s leading university that would be accredited by the American Bar Association [ABA]. The goal was to provide China’s top students the option of earning an internationally recognised Juris Doctor degree in China, while simultaneously providing an educational model that would help advance legal education and the legal profession in China.
STL took a detour of sorts in 2012 after the ABA refused to extend its accreditation jurisdiction outside of the US and Puerto Rico, and founding dean Lehman left to establish NYU’s Shanghai campus. That’s when I joined STL. We retained STL’s original purpose of providing an elite graduate-level common law JD education in China, but we expanded our mission by reforming and elevating our China Law Juris Master [JM] curriculum to include the “case study” and Socratic questioning methods of instruction typical of American legal education, both of which represent significant innovations in China legal education, and emphasising the new transnational legal and commercial principles likely to emerge from the rapidly expanding economic exchange between China and the West.
Most recently, we have been adding elements to our curriculum that focus on the legal and commercial traditions of Central and South Asia and the Middle East, all regions of growing importance in terms of China’s economic engagement.
The evolving economic integration of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, together with Shenzhen’s role as a gateway for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, offers what is probably the world’s most exciting and dynamic legal environment for STL’s unique approach to legal education.
In a nutshell, STL’s dual Common Law JD-China Law JM programme, which is unique in China and the world, has been wildly successful. Demand for STL graduates among China’s and the world’s leading law firms, multinational companies, government offices and NGOs is so high we are not able to meet it. We have negotiated alternative routes to American bar exam access for STL students that do not depend on ABA accreditation. There is keen interest in STL’s approach to legal education both within China and worldwide, and we are beginning to see other law schools emulate aspects of our approach. Perhaps most gratifying, STL graduates are becoming leaders of China’s growing legal profession, fully equipped to handle the sophisticated transactions and disputes increasingly characteristic of China’s advanced internationalised economy, traditionally almost exclusively the province of blue-chip Anglo-American firms.
AMC: How has the legal profession changed since you first graduated? Does STL provide all the training required for the ‘modern’ lawyer, or are there areas for improvement?
PM: The legal profession has undergone multiple changes since I first began practising law, both in the nature of services required and in methods of delivery. The demographics of the profession (thankfully), the rise of technology and electronic discovery, the use of alternative billing methods, the ability to work and partner remotely, and many other aspects of the profession all have changed quite dramatically. Although much of the law remains local and geographically defined and applied, the change I view as most fundamental has been the internationalisation of legal services. The best lawyers today are those prepared to contend fairly and knowledgeably with the interaction between different legal systems and traditions, and with the often fundamentally different expectations of parties from different traditions. Today’s lawyers must be prepared to acknowledge, respect and help find solutions when different traditions and expectations — even, at times, different notions of truth and justice — are present in a single transaction or dispute. I view this as both an intellectual and ethical responsibility of the profession. Yes, I believe STL prepares our students for this challenge.
AMC: In an era where we are encouraged to countenance multiple careers, your own has included not only being one of the only foreigners to hold a leadership position at Peking University, but also a senior partner at Morrison & Foerster (MoFo). How does a career in academia compare to a career in corporate law?
PM: Well, I have been very fortunate in that both aspects of my career, practising law and academics, have been incredibly interesting and rewarding. The thing I enjoyed most about practicing law is the constantly changing problems of significance that lawyers help address. My academic career really has had two dimensions, being professor and teacher, on the one hand, and being a law school leader, on the other. Being a professor provides a unique opportunity to think and write about issues independently of the interests of a client, and to contribute to the education of future lawyers. I have enjoyed both of these things very much. Leading a law school calls upon so many of the skills of practice — strategy, negotiation, sometimes adversarial negotiation — in addition to a knowledge of legal education that it’s almost as if my two professions have converged.
AMC: Your work at MoFo included helping to lead the MoFo team representing Fujitsu in its international arbitration with IBM. What was the significance of Fujitsu’s eventual victory?
PM: I’ll mention two aspects of the IBM/Fujitsu arbitration that I believe have had lasting significance and that, I should add, were achieved because of the efforts and ingenuity of both parties, both teams of lawyers, and the arbitrators. The first was the creation of a unique model for the management and resolution of a complex worldwide dispute involving multinational parties, the interests of multiple nations, and no clear applicable law. The IBM/Fujitsu arbitration was so large and complex that we essentially had to devise our own rules of procedure, applicable law and rules of engagement. It was a unique combination of arbitration, mediation and constant negotiation, in which the parties, arbitrators and lawyers happily shared a very forward-looking orientation. The process was far more about finding solutions than it was about imposing blame. The second was the principle of interoperability and the singular importance of clearly defined interfaces to interoperability. This was a major advance for worldwide consumers and producers of high technology.
AMC: Your academic writings are diverse and include a thoughtful piece on China’s impact on the Western legal tradition. Can you share some of your thoughts on this topic?
PM: I’ll share one. I do not believe in the eventual convergence of all law and legal practice around the Western legal tradition. We need to value very highly in a world of cross-border exchange and disputes those mechanisms and institutions, such as international arbitration and the 1958 New York Convention, that preserve the flexibility to respect and accommodate different legal and commercial traditions and expectations, as well as the new traditions and expectations likely to emerge from their interaction. My views about this are informed both by my years of practice representing non-US parties and interests, and by my experience helping to establish one of China’s most innovative and successful programmes of legal education.
AMC: As one of the seers relating to the exponential growth of Shenzhen and the emergence of the Greater Bay Area, how do you see its development comparing to Silicon Valley and the original Greater Bay Area in California?
PM: I’ve been fortunate to be a first-hand witness to the emergence of both areas. China has provided a modern, interconnected infrastructure for the Greater Bay Area — transportation, communications and energy — that, in my view, is likely to ensure the eventual expansion of the innovation and development characteristic of Shenzhen throughout the region. China also is doing an admirable job of experimenting with the best approaches to laws and judicial and regulatory institutions most conducive to sustaining the advanced, innovative, internationalised economy of the region. The one ingredient of technological innovation in which Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area still lag in comparison to California’s Silicon Valley and other US centres of innovation is higher education. The Greater Bay Area needs more institutions of higher education, and higher education throughout China, in my view, needs more autonomy if it ever hopes to match the creative output of the US.
AMC: Who was your mentor?
PM: In law practice and client service generally, two senior partners of Morrison & Foerster, the late Bob Raven and Jim Paras. I’ve never known finer, more ethical lawyers with a better understanding of the profession.
AMC: What advice would you give to a young lawyer entering the profession?
PM: Be honest. Be ethical. Leave no stone unturned. And, underestimate neither the complexity of the law nor the value of compromise.
AMC: What is your hinterland?
PM: I’ll interpret this literally as asking for my favourite remote area. This is probably the Indian Ocean Coast of the Margaret River region of Western Australia. I have many close “second” favourites all over the world, but the Margaret River region probably tops my list.