Get to know DaHui: a strong player in the Greater China Region with opportunities in corporate, regulatory, dispute resolution, intellectual property, venture capital, and more...
DaHui was founded in 2013 by a group of lawyers from leading local and international law firms. In a short time, it has become one of the most well-known PRC law firms, garnering distinct accolades, such as the “Client Service Award” at the Chambers and Partners China Awards in 2019, as well as consistently appearing among the top PRC law firms in the rankings of Chambers. The firm has also received multiple accolades as a top employer in the region.
In 2013, DaHui’s headquarters were established in the crowning commercial complex of Beijing’s central business district, with the Shanghai office following shortly thereafter in the heart of China’s business and commercial hub. In the face of the pandemic from 2020-2022, not only did DaHui maintain its momentum but it even opened an office in midtown New York and almost doubled the size of its Beijing base.
DaHui has even made unique contributions to the legal industry in China, including in 2021 by being the first PRC law firm to adopt a fully transparent lock-step compensation system and by not only being among the first to adopt the standardized billing system introduced by the American Bar Association and maintained by the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) but also helping to officially localize the system in China.
Locations: Beijing, Shanghai, New York
Key practice areas/sectors
- DaHui’s practice areas extend from corporate transactions of every kind through contentious and non-contentious intellectual property matters to commercial dispute resolution as well as regulatory, compliance, and restructuring matters.
- We advise businesses, their management, and shareholders across the full range of industries, including aviation and aerospace, e-commerce, energy, fintech, healthcare and life sciences, hospitality and leisure, Internet and telecommunications, manufacturing and processing, publishing and media, real estate and construction, and sports and entertainment – to name a few.
- DaHui excels particularly at counselling companies and investors in establishing, expanding, financing, and investing in tech-heavy businesses, especially those subject to China’s byzantine regulatory regime. We advise on the protection of intellectual property and other interests, and assist in resolving any legal issues that arise between our clients and their partners, governmental authorities, and other stakeholders. Finally, we help clients achieve smooth and advantageous exits, whether via M&A, IPO, or other avenues.
- DaHui is unique among PRC law firms for the ways in which it embraces international law firm standards and culture, not only in its system of compensation and client billing (as a PRC pioneer of the fully transparent lock-step compensation system and the LEDES billing codes) but also and more importantly in its collegial, meritocratic professional milieu aimed at ensuring outstanding quality of services and impeccable integrity for the benefit of its clients.
- We are not a loose collection of attorneys, joined only under a brand name; we strive for a cohesive firm culture, with consistently high quality and cutting-edge expertise.
- Foreign or international clients and matters account for at least half of DaHui’s work, and on the flip side, DaHui’s lawyers are amongst the most international in PRC law firms. In fact, DaHui has taken on almost a dozen attorneys – in positions from associate through counsel to partner – who were born, raised, and educated abroad, in addition to dozens of lawyers who were educated and trained in both international settings and Chinese institutions.
- All of our attorneys love what they do, which means all team members are hands-on, in the trenches working side-by-side, with frequent cross-disciplinary collaboration. Notwithstanding our growth and current size, client matters are generally handled by one or more teams each of which consists of one or two partners closely leading only a handful of associates. We use a hybrid between the attorney pool and the rotation systems, affording associates exposure to several teams and practices, unless an associate has a strong inclination towards a specialized practice, e.g., intellectual property, antitrust, or tax. Even our corporate and dispute resolution departments not infrequently cross in work and we often serve as all-around counsel for many large clients who have a wide variety of legal needs.
- Our attorneys and support staff are guided by international standards of professionalism, integrity, and work quality. On the one hand, our agreeable culture and deep civility allow for smooth work and friendly dealings, while on the other hand, in their dedication to clients, our lawyers turn on the heat to protect and maximize our clients’ interests.
Strategy and future
- DaHui is and aims at always being a next-generation law firm. As such, we constantly adapt and rejuvenate our outlook and strategies.
- While our name is already synonymous with excellence in the PRC legal market and we are acknowledged as peers even to big-name international law firms, we are founded on and work for the proposition that DaHui is a trans-national firm, and as such unique: we do not want to be only the top PRC law firm or merely another international law firm, but rather a firm whose nature, composition, clientele, work, and culture are an embodiment and facilitator of outstanding legal counsel – and thereby also of contributions to commerce and the law throughout the world.
- We currently plan to continue growing at a steadily fast rate, including opening another one or two offices in the most strategically appropriate locations of the time and doubling our number of attorneys within the next few years. Meanwhile, we will ensure our teams and team members continue to work in our firm’s current professional atmosphere, closely collaborating, for best serving the commercial ends of our clientele consisting of the most well-known, reputable multinational companies, cutting-edge start-ups, and the people that drive them (and thus the modern world).
- Location: DaHui is headquartered in Beijing, specifically, the 37th floor of China World Tower A, in GuoMao (a.k.a. “CBD”).
- Strategic focuses: DaHui, like modern China, was born in Beijing, and as such our office there handles every type of matter for which the firm is known. Our founding and managing partners spend most of their time in our headquarters and thus bring in many of the most important clients there. That said, our Beijing office tends to do more regulatory and dispute resolution work than our Shanghai office, without sacrificing any time on corporate transactions. Our antitrust, intellectual property, and tax groups are based in Beijing, though lawyers also work in these areas from our other offices.
- Office culture: Although our Beijing office occupies almost an entire upper floor in a major skyrise (recently renovated with almost all the interior partitions of glass), our attorneys generally sit relatively near each other and interact throughout the day. Many associates even frequently interact with the managing members of the firm. Everyone comes in casual business attire, unless dressing with a full suit and tie for client meetings, and everyone other than the partners shares space while of course having an individual desk and resources at hand. Work is intense between around 9:30am or 10am and 6pm, though lunch and downtime are the standard between noon and 2pm (in the pantry, around the large shopping complex at the base of the building, or at one of the two connected fitness centers), and attorneys stay on in the office or continue working from home as needed and according to their situations. Beijing colleagues often collaborate with Shanghai colleagues on various projects.
Corporate and regulatory
The first and foremost practice area of DaHui’s Beijing office is assisting in the establishment and expansion of businesses in China, whether via FDI, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, restructurings, or other forms of investment. Given the country’s complex regulatory frameworks for numerous industries, not to mention foreign investment, our Beijing office focuses on corporate and commercial structuring, regulatory compliance, antitrust, and similar aspects of market entry and business operations.
Investigations, dispute resolution & crisis management
Complementing the corporate and regulatory focus of our Beijing office is the bulk of the firm’s investigations, dispute resolution, and crisis management group. All of our litigation partners are based in Beijing, while the head of our (international) arbitration practice divides his time between Beijing and Shanghai. This group takes on many of its own clients and cases, and has independently established itself as a go-to resource for resolving disputes especially concerning investments and other business transactions gone wrong. At this same time, our dispute resolution attorneys are not infrequently brought in by our corporate/regulatory group – and then the two work together – to deal with corporate crises, administrative investigations, issues with companies’ employees, etc.
Halfway between the above core practice areas sits our intellectual property group. Based almost entirely in Beijing, these lawyers also bring in their own clients and matters while also helping businesses from our corporate/regulatory and dispute resolution groups to protect their intellectual property and other proprietary assets. Designing a global intellectual property strategy, applying for protection in China or even abroad, advising on licensing or transfers, or litigating for or against infringement are among the work for which our intellectual property group is known.
- Location: DaHui’s Shanghai office is located in the heart of the commercial city, specifically, the 13th floor of Jing An Kerry Centre Tower 1.
- Strategic focuses: Ours is a law firm for businesses and their stakeholders, so Shanghai’s situation as a commercial hub of China and East Asia, as well as the longstanding gateway for foreign capital, is the strategic focus of our office there. The majority of our attorneys spend most of their time assisting cutting-edge start-ups in obtaining financing, and likewise representing financial and corporate institutions as well as high net-worth individuals in entering and exiting investments. That said, such corporate work also often includes representing businesses in mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, and we have a sizable cohort of attorneys focusing on regulatory and compliance matters, particularly for foreign businesses entering or already operating in China.
- Office culture: Tight-knit, independent, hard-working – three of the key characteristics of our Shanghai office. Many of the lawyers in our Shanghai office have been working together for almost ten years, which gives our Shanghai office a collegial atmosphere, making open cooperation and teamwork easy for both the tenured lawyers and new joiners; Shanghai colleagues also often work closely with Beijing colleagues on various projects. The best training is the training you get on the job, in the trenches. Therefore, our Shanghai partners tend to encourage independent work and self-reliance, while always providing guidance and support when needed. Finally, some of the firm’s biggest deals and most complex work is run out of our Shanghai office. Our lawyers are ready to rise to the challenge, put in the work and get deals across the line for our clients.
Venture capital & private equity
Our Shanghai office has a large flow of venture capital financings and private equity deals. We represent both targets and investors, foreign and domestic, in investments from angel through pre-IPO, from a few tens of thousands of U.S. dollars to over a billion U.S. dollars (or their equivalents in Renminbi). When we represent the investor, it is usually the lead and we are the lead counsel – occasionally we are sole counsel, even for both investor(s) and target. Most deals are in the technology, healthcare, and life sciences industries, involving the most frontier products, services, and legal areas. We also occasionally represent issuers in private and less often public bond deals, at-the-market offerings, and other forms of financing, including initial public offerings. Finally, we have a growing practice assisting in the formation of private equity and other funds.
We not infrequently represent companies in mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures as well as initial public offerings. Given our work in venture capital and the dedication to our clientele, many companies come back to us again and again for all their rounds of financing, their acquisition activity, and then their merger or IPO, so we have the privilege of becoming well acquainted with their businesses and management and of seeing them through from the launch of their ventures to their culmination.
Regulatory & compliance
Our Shanghai office’s third core practice is in regulatory and compliance work, to support both Shanghai and Beijing VC, PE, M&A, and capital markets teams and to bring in new clientele requesting assistance in entering or operating in China. This practice covers foreign investment restrictions, industry-specific regulatory and compliance frameworks (particularly highly complex and strict regimes such as TMT and healthcare), financial regulation, and data protection/security.
- Location: DaHui’s New York branch is located in central mid-town, at 1330 Avenue of the Americas, between Rockefeller Center and Central Park.
- Strategic focuses: Our New York office serves both as a direct interface with our countless U.S.-based/headquartered international clients and as a local resource for our clients taking their businesses and investments from China to the United States. One of our founding partners spends much of his time in our New York office, focusing on capital markets and private investments.
- Office culture: Our New York branch is relatively small and tight-knit. All our attorneys in the office sit and work closely together in a collegial and collaborative atmosphere. At the same time, client meetings and business lunches are central to our New York operations and associates are provided with significant opportunities to play a profound role in both deal facilitation and client management, directly alongside our firm’s partners. Our New York branch is a truly international legal setting, and our associates work closely with colleagues in China on a wide variety of cross-border matters.
Regulatory & compliance
The most common, day-to-day focus of the New York office is supporting cross-border business investments and operations, which mainly entails FDI and regulatory work on behalf of our corporate clients. One of our key value-drivers is our team’s ability to advise on both U.S. and Chinese legal frameworks, enabling us to provide both efficient and synergistic legal guidance to our global clients. Our associates in New York are provided with a rare opportunity to work closely with Chinese legal practitioners and to develop regional expertise in the two largest and most important business environments in the world.
Another major function of our New York office is to help Chinese clients access U.S. capital markets, and to assist clients from around the world in working with our PRC lawyers in China to explore opportunities in China’s growing capital markets space. Led by one of our firm’s founding members and a capital markets expert, we aim for our New York branch to serve as a dynamic hub for our clients to have direct access to both U.S. and PRC capital markets counsel. This practice is currently growing in size and complexity, especially in terms of legal complexities for Chinese companies to list and remain on U.S. stock exchanges and in the opportunities for local and foreign companies to IPO on Chinese stock exchanges. As the relationship between the United States and China constantly evolves, associates in this space are likely to practice in an exciting setting at the intersection of global business and international affairs.
Our New York office also assists in mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and other business combinations, especially from China into the U.S. and vice versa. Both China and the U.S. are placing more emphasis on cross-border investment requirements, particularly with respect to national security matters, technology export controls, and data compliance matters, each of which calls for expert legal counsel and diplomacy when it comes to structuring and facilitating these major cross-border deals. Associates working in our New York office’s M&A practice area stand to gain a technical fluency in the many interesting nuances of U.S.-China deals, both from a legal perspective and the perspective of international business culture.
Opportunities at DaHui
DaHui recruits, all year around, interns coming to us during their law school studies, recent graduates, laterals at all levels, and paralegals from all walks of life. All new joiners go through orientation and initial training, generally over the first week or two at DaHui, and continue to receive training at the firm-wide Friday roundtables and other ad hoc training sessions. Of course, the best training is on the job: new joiners and junior laterals are exposed to a variety of work from the get-go, often also communicating directly with clients, and they begin managing matters relatively early on as their careers advance at DaHui. In addition, associates are often seconded to major clients, generally multinational corporations, to serve as in-house counsel or even regional general counsel.
Entry/lateral opportunities and requirements
- Interns and new associates typically join DaHui during or just after, respectively, obtaining their master’s degrees from Chinese universities or LL.M. or J.D. from overseas law schools. We look for high levels of intellect and intellectual curiosity, team-orientation and self-motivation, organizational and detail-oriented analytical skills, and above all dedication to serving clients at the highest international standards.
- Laterals are accepted at all levels, with each level having a different profile, though all lateral applicants should demonstrate an appropriate degree of learning and more importantly concrete competence, e.g., drafting, negotiating, and commenting on commercial contracts are a must for a mid-level corporate attorney, while organizing and carrying out basic work in document collection, review, investigation, and evidence collection are a must for a mid-level dispute resolution lawyer.
- Paralegals vary widely in background, though most have obtained at least one degree (usually not in law) from Chinese or overseas universities. Most of our paralegals are interested in pursuing careers in law, for which DaHui is a stepping stone, but some join only to advance in general research, organizational, administrative, project management and similar skills.
- Typical applicants also have strong English communication skills.
Preferred law schools: Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, China University of Political Science and Law, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of International Business and Economics, East China University of Political Science and Law, Wuhan University, Nanjing University, Zhejiang University and any of the top ten law schools in the United States and the UK.
Growth areas: We always looking for talented and motivated lawyers and paralegals in our core practice areas. In addition, we have considerable demand in our antitrust and tax practices.
Application structure: Applicants submit a resume and should expect to go through several rounds of interviews and written assessments.
Recruitment contact: HR@DaHuiLawyers.com