Charles is the China Desk Lead in the firm’s Dispute Resolution department and also a member of the Sports Group. He advises Chinese companies, institutions and individuals on a broad range of disputes and transactions, from corruption or fraud related forensic investigations against senior managers through to investing into the UK. A native Mandarin speaker, Charles is also a qualified PRC lawyer (non-practicing).
I’m dual qualified and first qualified in China. I worked in China for about five years as an Aviation Finance Lawyer. I worked all over – in Beijing, Hong Kong and Dubai. It’s a very small specialised industry but eventually I wanted to settle down in London.
When I came to London I saw the opportunity to work as a more ‘General Practitioner’-type solicitor. This means I don’t have a specialism, but work as the lead on the China desk and help our Chinese clients across the firm. It’s difficult to say exactly what I do because every day is different, but that’s why I like it.
My job means I have to have wide knowledge of lots of different types of law. One of the hardest things is you have to constantly keep learning. I rely on my colleagues a lot for specificity when meeting a client, but it’s important that I understand what they want. As a lawyer you need to earn the trust from the clients.
I travel to China a lot for work and always enjoy my visits. When we go on a trip we go to all the big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong etc, but recently we’ve started to explore the smaller cities. It’s tricky because China is so big but the high speed trains have made travelling domestically much easier. If possible I travel light so I can move between cities more easily and visit more places.
I think we’re in the golden age of China/UK relationship and I always tell my friends that I feel very lucky. I think for the future it will be important to look at the large Chinese population in the UK.
One of the proudest moments was when we got to advise a very important man in China. Thinking about how ten years ago I was studying in China and was a ‘nobody’, to now having the chance to seriously sit down with a man like him and help him was a great achievement. I am always grateful for the work of my great colleagues who support me.
What I enjoy most is getting to spend time with my growing family on the weekend. I also just watched Crazy Rich Asians on the plane on my last trip and thought it was good!