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Practice Area Definitions Asia

Below are the legal practice area definitions and regional variations used by Chambers to rank lawyers and law firms in the Asia Guide.

Anti-Bribery & Corruption

This practice area would cover regulatory and enforcement matters on a Federal and State level, and would include matters with the ACCC, ASIC, Commissions and other Federal or State agencies (for Australian matters). Corporate investigations may concern operating procedures, due diligence, criminal and civil liability, ethics, and trans-national issues such as sanctions and money laundering. Compliance with both national and foreign laws that impact national and overseas clients would be included.

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Antitrust / Competition

Antitrust covers the body of laws that prohibits anti-competitive behaviour (monopoly) and unfair business practices this includes practices that hurt business, consumers or both, or that generally violate standards of ethical behaviour. Antitrust litigation and M&A-related competition work are both included in the Chambers guides.

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Arbitration (International)

The chapter features advice on the resolution of disputes by one or more neutral parties, either an arbitrator or an arbitration panel. Many contracts - including those imposed on customers by many financial and healthcare organisations - require mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute.

Examples of the institutions include AAA (American Arbitration Association), ICC (International Chamber of Commerce), ICSID (International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes) and LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration).

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Asset Finance

Finance linked to the purchase or construction of a distinct asset or set of assets (typically ships, aircraft or rolling stock).

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Aviation includes finance, regulatory and litigation matters. Finance concentrates on the advice to manufacturers, purchasers and investors (such as hedge and private equity funds) on the sale, leasing and acquisition of portfolios of aircraft. Also includes the 2001 UNIDROIT Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, or Cape Town Convention, which relates to the electronic registration of aircraft interests.

The Aviation Litigation table covers traditional accident defense litigation, including advising aviation insurers on coverage and other issues, as well as product liability claims and general commercial disputes affecting the aviation industry. The Aviation Regulatory table spans representation before the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and other federal administrative agencies.

Key issues include the reauthorisation of air traffic control systems and their funding. Also covers issues of congestion, and the Open Skies talks between the USA and the European Union.

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Banking & Finance

A broad-based definition of banking transactions, which include both borrower and lender clients. The following topics are included: Acquisition finance: transactions involving arranging finance for acquisitions acting for either the lender or the borrower; Islamic Finance: Sharia-compliant work such as acquisitions, forming funds to invest in real estate and commercial properties, issuing of Sukuks; General bank lending: syndicated lending, structured finance, leveraged finance; Project finance: financing of infrastructure and industrial projects.

Often arranged on a non-recourse loan basis. (See also definition for Projects below). See also equipment finance and leasing; Refinancing: The refinancing and restructuring of existing loans and debtor in possession financing is also included.

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The focus is on corporate bankruptcy and restructuring and the legal processes related to distressed businesses, which can either be reorganised or go into liquidation. Also, especially in the current economic environment, the chapter includes lawyers, who advise on acquisition opportunities that arise out of distressed businesses. Lawyers in this chapter assist clients such as: corporate debtors, investors and asset purchasers; secured and unsecured creditors and creditors` committees, bondholders, insurers; directors of distressed companies and any other interested parties in corporate restructurings, bankruptcy proceedings.

In addition to transactional work, bankruptcy also covers any related litigation, such as disputes between such parties in connection with distressed companies and Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 processes.

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Capital Markets

Chambers guides cover key areas of capital markets either as distinct tables or under the wider umbrella. The areas include Debt & Equity, Derivatives, Securitisation, and Structured finance (CDOs, repackagings, other synthetic products).

Equity Capital Markets includes advice on equity offerings transactions such as: Initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, right offerings, capital increases, ADR / GDR offerings; accelerated bookbuilts, and block trades.

Debt Capital Markets covers legal advice on the following transactions: investment grade debt offerings (standalone bond issues; MTN programs, Commercial Paper programmes); equity-linked offerings (regulatory capital, convertibles and exchangeable offerings); and High Yield debt offerings.

Derivatives includes the regulatory and transactional legal advice regarding derivatives products. These include: Exchange-traded derivatives; OTC derivatives; Securitised derivatives; Interest rate, currency, equity, credit and commodity-linked products. Law firms advise on product development and regulation; market regulation; structuring and documentation of transactions, related tax issues and derivatives litigation.

Securitisation covers the entire range asset classes, including (among others): Commercial loans; derivatives exposure; bonds and corporate debt; project cash flows; trade receivables; credit card and trade receivables; commercial and residential mortgages; life insurance and annuities; auto loans. 
Structured finance also encompasses: CDOs (both cash and synthetic); repackagings; and hybrid synthetic and structured note products.

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This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise third sector clients on all types of contentious and non-contentious matters, ranging from sector-specific advice on constitutional and governance issues or public benefit requirements, to more general advice on corporate, property, employment and tax issues. 

This section would cover a broad range of work undertaken for charities and NFPs, ranging from advising on the Charities Act, establishment of entities, compliance, taxation, and financial matters to  related disputes.

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Construction covers contractual advisor work within the construction industry for both the suppliers (eg developers, contractors, engineers and architects), and those clients employing these types of companies eg corporates or state authorities on their building plans. Our construction sections cover both litigious and non litigious matters.

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Corporate / M&A

This broad category covers both public company and private equity (including venture capital) matters. The chapter includes company acquisitions, dispositions and related financing arrangements, capitalisations, entity selection and formation, operating and partnership agreements, securities and governance matters.

Also covers those transactions designed to help restructuring within companies and their subsidiaries by change of ownership. Priority is placed on primary representatives, those acting for buyers and sellers, whilst those acting for financial advisors, underwriters and the banks financing such transactions are also considered.

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Corporate Investigations / Anti-Corruption

The Corporate Investigations / Anti-corruption section covers issues faced by clients from the increased scrutiny by regulatory bodies into their day-to-day operations. The firms included here often bring together multi-disciplinary teams to advise on internal investigations, or proceedings brought by external bodies, including public and law enforcement bodies, such as the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption).

Investigations may concern operating procedures, criminal and civil liability, ethics, and trans-national issues such as sanctions and money laundering. The teams often provide specialist advice on domestic legislation including the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO), Banking Ordinance (BO) and Independent Commission Against Corruption Ordinance (ICACO). Advice given on the US FCPA, UK Bribery Act and other relevant overseas legislation alongside how regulatory bodies operate across the world are also included. Coverage extends to advising on compliance and best practice.

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Disputes Resolution

The Chambers Asia-Pacific litigation chapters focus on commercial proceedings before civil courts. The work covers the full course of a dispute, such as pre-trial negotiations, documentation and preparation for trial, summary judgment applications, trial, appeals and enforcement proceedings. This section also covers white-collar crime, including government investigations. Alternative dispute resolution, involving non-court mediation and arbitration can also feature. Please refer to the Arbitration definition for further information.

In some jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region, the market is sufficiently specialised for the guide to identify litigators by the sector in which they practice. Areas such as Insurance, Construction, IP and Media may contain litigators who are experts in their field.

In some jurisdictions in the region, where the legal profession is not fused, we feature separate ranking tables for barristers and solicitors. In jurisdictions where the legal profession is fused, but there is sufficient distinction between lawyers practicing in the style of barristers, and lawyers practicing in the style of solicitors, we have sought to make this distinction clear by again having separate ranking tables.

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Covers both contentious and non-contentious employment matters relating to day-to-day business issues as well as mergers and takeovers. Includes employment litigation related to sex, race, age discrimination. In the USA, this also includes class action suits, and the avoidance of class action certification. Includes workforce redundancies and employment issues related to the merger of two companies. Lawyers also advise on the writing of policy handbooks, HR training and corporate governance for major corporates.

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Although Chambers is aware of the overlap with Projects and project financing, the energy chapters focus on corporate / commercial, regulatory and capital markets issues arising from the energy sector. These include the regulatory components of M&A and other transactional work, pure regulatory work related to the application for licenses and compliance and enforcement with regulatory bodies. In the US, these include FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission). Chambers guides focuses on key industry sectors including Electricity, Oil & Gas, Renewables and Nuclear matters.

Electricity / Powerwork covers advice on the development, financing and permitting of energy projects (such as electric, coal, oil & gas fired plants, nuclear and hydro-electric plants), facilities management; co-generation and restructuring/deregulation arising out of the wholesale and retail markets. 

Oil and Gas covers all upstream and downstream work including exploration, infrastructure and pipeline developments and service contracts, royalties, licensing and operation agreements. It also includes corporate issues such as M&A, capital raisings, taxation and regulatory compliance.

Renewables focuses on the financing, development and regulatory issues surrounding wind and wave power generation, solar, biomass and geothermal energy generation. It also includes advice on compliance with clean energy regulations.

Nuclear issues include licensing and operation, commercial transactions, reactor oversight, enforcement and compliance, whistleblower statutes and non-retaliation policy, as well as nuclear waste and fuel procurement.

Natural Resources sections focus on mining and minerals exploration, development and production agreements, including royalty issues, project finance, taxation and other financing arrangements. Engineering, processing and refining contracts, sales structures and environmental issues are also covered.

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The environment chapter features both litigation and advisory/transactional support to clients. This includes general corporate issues, (eg due diligence on mergers), the development of brownfield sites, and pollution issues. `Traditional` environment work includes regulatory compliance, litigation and enforcement actions related to air, water, wetlands, waste and endangered species.

We also feature advice to corporate and financial clients on the environmental aspects of M&A, financings, securities offerings and other transactions, which involve due diligence and environmental insurance issues. Climate Change is a key market trend and in some markets has its own chapter.

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Financial Services Regulation

This chapter covers both non-contentious and contentious matters arising out of the Financial Services industry and advice on all aspects of internal organisation and governance, transactions and operations. Non-contentious matters include assistance to bank / financial institution clients in complying with the full range of financial services laws and regulations in their daily operations.

This section also encompasses financial institutions business transactions, especially the advice on regulatory issues in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures of financial services companies and the implementation of holdings in foreign countries.

This section also covers the lobbying work done by the firm for the development of new laws and regulations. In contentious matters, we include advice related to the defence of financial institutions in criminal and civil examinations, inspections, investigations, and formal proceedings by federal and state financial regulators and self-regulatory organisations.

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Information Technology

Information Technology focuses on the start-up, development and finance of technology-based businesses, advising start-up or later stage enterprises, venture capital investors, and other financial investors. Issues include private and public capital raisings, joint venture agreements, share listings, corporate governance and M&A.

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Insolvency / Corporate Recovery

The focus is on corporate insolvency and restructuring and the legal processes related to distressed businesses, which can either be reorganised or go into liquidation. Also, especially in the current economic environment, the chapter includes lawyers, who advise on acquisition opportunities that arise out of distressed businesses. Lawyers in this chapter assist clients such as corporate debtors, investors and asset purchasers; secured and unsecured creditors and creditors` committees, bondholders, insurers; directors of distressed companies and any other interested parties in corporate restructurings, bankruptcy proceedings.

In addition to transactional work, bankruptcy also covers any related litigation, such as disputes between such parties in connection with distressed companies and, in the USA, Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 processes.

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Insurance includes both contentious and non-contentious insurance and reinsurance matters. On the contentious side, we feature coverage claims litigation, broker`s negligence and both `facultative` and `treaty` reinsurance disputes.

There is also an element of professional negligence issues arising from insurance disputes. On the non-contentious side, we include all forms of M&A, capital raisings, demutualisations and other regulatory issues.

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Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property covers disputes related to patent, copyright and trademark infringement. Litigation concerning trade secrets also features. We also feature related issues such as licensing and IP commercialiSation (US patent prosecution).

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International Trade

This section covers classic trade cases such as anti-dumping, countervailing duties, export control and other customs/tariff classifications and regulatory work. Lawyers also advise on matters relating to NAFTA, WTO and GATT trade provisions and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an areas that overlaps to some extent with the white-collar crime field. Filings before the Committee on Foreign Investments into the United States (CFIUS) is an areas on which some law firms are focused, and Chambers USA tracks these trends. Chambers USA also features lawyers, who are experts in s337 investigations before the ITC.

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Investment Funds

This section looks at work covering the entire life cycle of a fund. More emphasis is placed on fund formation work, and sponsor-side representation. The capacity to provide regulatory and relevant tax advice is also considered. This section includes open-ended funds, closed-ended funds, hedge funds, real estate funds and infrastructure funds. Please also refer to the Private Equity: Buyouts and Private Equity: Fund Formation definitions.

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Islamic Finance

Sharia-compliant work, including lending, sukuk, fund formation, acquisitions and joint ventures.

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IT & IT Outsourcing

The IT industry crosses a range of business sectors, whether it involves global communications networks of large multinationals, or internal data storage systems of small owner-managed businesses.

The Chambers IT chapters are always evolving to track current trends, but major outsourcing agreements consistently feature. The chapter also includes `convergence`; the coming together of content (such as voice or data), transmission of that content (such as broadcast, satellite or Internet) and terminals receiving that content (such as TV, PC or mobile handset).

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Life sciences

Life sciences focuses on the commercialisation of life sciences products (pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnology programs etc). IP issues dominate as large pharmaceuticals seek to obtain innovative, impending blockbuster drugs from biotechs and other pharmaceutical companies. Also includes the licensing and acquisition of new products from other sources (often smaller biotechs to larger suppliers).

This chapter includes advice on FDA issues, drug and device safety, and product liability litigation.

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Media & Broadcasting

The media market has many different facets. Chambers guides have attempted to highlight lawyers who have an understanding of the issues related to key sectors such as Advertising, Firm & Television; Music, Publishing and Theatre. Within these sectors, we spotlight those lawyers, who concentrate on either contentious or non-contentious matters.

Litigation includes copyright and contractual disputes (either representing studios, producers or talent); First Amendment litigation; IP and trademark disputes; antitrust and matters arising from film finance. On the non-contentious side, Chambers includes production; financing and distribution concerns; IP; licensing and supplementary rights planning.

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Natural Resources

The Natural Resources sections focus on mining and minerals exploration, development and production agreements, including royalty issues, project finance, taxation and other financing arrangements. Engineering, processing and refining contracts, sales structures and environmental issues are also covered.

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Private Equity: Buyouts

This section focuses on the transactional aspect of private equity funds work. It takes into account LBO, M&A, recapitalisation and restructuring-related matters at both the high-end and mid-market level.

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Private Equity: Fund Formation

This section covers the formation of private equity funds, ranging from LBOs, secondaries and infrastructure funds, to hybrid funds, mezzanine and distressed debt. Particular attention is paid to the sponsor side, because this incorporates the actual structuring of the fund.

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The projects chapters focus on the development, financing (limited and non-recourse), refinancing and acquisition / divestitures of large projects that arise from the capital intensive infrastructure and energy markets. Clients in this sector include sponsors, lenders, project originators and multilateral agencies and development banks. In the energy sector, we include advice on the development of refineries, pipelines, LNG and petrochemical terminals, power plants and wind power, waste-to-energy and hydro-wave technology.

The chapter also features infrastructure matters such as toll road and bridge financing; rail and light rail systems; water desalination plants as well as state sponsored programmes (PPP / PFI) such as hospitals, schools, housing and prisons. The chapter also features related concerns such environment and climate change and political risk.

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Real Estate

Corporate matters related to real estate include M&A of large real estate holding companies, complex fund and REIT transactions, private equity and public securities. These real estate lawyers are distinct from pure corporate lawyers in that they typically come from a real estate background, have an understanding of the underlying asset and do aspects of `dirt law` real estate for their clients.

In the USA, zoning and land use specialists often form an identifiable category. They perform and important role in major developments, advising on zoning regulations and municipal restrictions used by some cities to control development within their borders. Easement and eminent domain (or condemnation) is also covered. 

Real estate finance matters are also included. Lawyers do not need to act exclusively for lenders but should have a healthy lender client base which gives them the volume of work in this field. Some of these lawyers will also handle aspects of complex debt capital markets - such as securitisation - but the decision to include them in a real estate table will be based on their understanding of the underlying asset.

The structuring and transactional advice provided to REITs (real estate investment trusts) impacts on our real estate tables. For attorneys who practice exclusively in the field of REITs, please also considered the Chambers USA National REITs table or the Chambers Global `Global REITs` table. However, Chambers real estate chapters will always cover this part of the market.

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This chapter features structuring and transactional advice related to specialist real estate investment trusts. Includes: IPOs, going private transactions, joint ventures, M&As, REIT formation and investment work, restructurings, REIT tax issues, litigation, 144As that involve REITs, financings, Special Committee representations and UPREIT and DOWNREIT structure implementation.

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Shipping & maritime litigation involves breach of charter-party disputes, cargo and bills of lading claims, the arrest of vessels and cargoes, marine insurance claims, collision, salvage and environmental liabilities. On the non-contentious side, law firms advise on contractual arrangements for construction, financing and registration of vessels, customs and licensing, and documentation relating to charter-parties and bills of lading.

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Sports Law

This section covers those lawyers and law firms who have a demonstrable commitment to the sports sector, and understand the unique pressures and constraints which sports entities operate under. The definition of sports law is often disputed; Chambers sees commercial and regulatory work as its cornerstone, but seeks to highlight those firms which are best able to serve the sports industry as a whole, which requires consideration of work across a wide range of legal disciplines. 

This practice area would cover lawyers who may specialise in IP, corporate/commercial, or litigation and arbitration, and possibly media/entertainment matters but with a focus on the sports world - they would spend a reasonable percentage of their time (around 25% at least) on sports related matters, be they transactional/franchising matters, regulatory, or disciplinary/anti-doping.

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Technology & Communications

Technology focuses on contractual agreements in the technology field, often outsourcing contracts between large corporates and suppliers of IT services. Chambers guides also include transactional matters such as M&A and financing in this chapter. Law firms often work with investors or start-up enterprises on a range of business issues including employment law, strategic alliances and joint ventures, stock exchange listings, mergers, acquisitions and corporate governance issues.

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The telecom section concentrates on a range of legal issues arising from the heavily regulated areas of telecommunications and broadcasting. Work includes transactional and litigation advice to telecoms companies, wireless operators, TV and / or radio broadcasters and the regulatory issues that such companies face. These issues might be government-sponsored inquires, investigations or compliance proceedings. Other matters include interconnection and resales laws, multimedia agreements and licensing activity.

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White-collar Crime

This practice area covers non-violent wrongdoings such as corruption and financial crimes. Examples include bribery, major fraud and insider trading. Litigation, compliance and government investigations are relevant to this practice area.

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