Herbert Smith Freehills Partner May Tai is set to be involved in the first ever London International Disputes Week (LIDW), and will speak on two panels during the historic event.
May is a Malaysian national who has spent her career in Herbert Smith Freehills' international arbitration practice, working on many of the firm's largest, most complex cases. Since 2017, she has also been the Managing Partner of the firm's Greater China offices.
She will speak on two panels during the week, the first entitled 'London as a dispute resolution hub for international parties', due to be hosted on Tuesday 7 May 2019, and the second at the 9th Annual GAR Live London event.
LIDW, which is set to be hosted from 7-10 May 2019, will bring together legal practitioners from around the world to celebrate the heritage of London as a disputes centre and to consider the future of global dispute resolution.
Herbert Smith Freehills is a proud founding member of this important event and has joined forces with more than 50 other firms, barristers chambers, academics, legal commentators and dispute resolution organisations to launch this inaugural week.
On the lead-up to the event, May answers five questions on why LIDW is so important for the Capital and some key issues related to international dispute resolution:
Why is it important that London hosts its first International Disputes Week?
It is important for London to showcase its strengths to the rest of the world. A lot of lawyers are very familiar with English law as a popular governing law for contracts, but much less familiar with London's offerings as a hub for international dispute resolution.
What perspective have you gained from working across five of the firm's global offices?
Clients in different jurisdictions have very different wants and needs. There is no just 'one way' of advising clients.
You are a Mandarin speaker, and you have been based in China for the past 10 years. How have the need of Chinese clients changed during that time and how do they view the court system in the UK?
Chinese clients have changed dramatically in this time. For one, the number of Chinese companies that now engage international lawyers to advise them has multiplied significantly. Their view of English court will depend to a large extent on their experience with it. I believe that Chinese parties are impressed generally by the English courts' quality, thoroughness and professionalism.
What are the biggest developments in international arbitration in Greater China?
Greater China is very unique in that it is one country with multiple legal jurisdictions. The complexities that this entails makes lawyers that practice arbitration in China very well placed to deal with the complexities of international arbitration because they are used to dealing with multiple (and sometimes conflicting) laws in the same dispute.
What positive opportunities can you spot on the horizon, which might impact the practice of international arbitration in Greater China?
The number of contracts that are signed with international arbitration clauses grows year on year. There are therefore a lot of opportunities for all of the different players in arbitrations - lawyers, experts, arbitration institutions and arbitrators.