A first step

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Long journeys and lasting relationships begin this way

It’s with immense pleasure and pride that I welcome you to the first issue of Asia Business Law Journal.

LeaderAsia Business Law Journal is the third journal to be published by Vantage Asia, following in the footsteps of India Business Law Journal and the bilingual China Business Law Journal, both highly successful publications in their own target markets.

With the launch of Asia Business Law Journal, the team at Vantage Asia aim to serve a wider market and supply it with reliable intelligence and analysis that will help members of the legal community form a more accurate picture of economic and regulatory events as they unfold in Asia.

More specifically, Asia Business Law Journal is targeting in-house counsel with information and content that will stimulate and inform those who practice within the confines and peculiarities of the region’s small, medium and large enterprises.

To this end you will note on page 2 that we have chosen to work with many of the region’s premier corporate counsel associations. We believe that doing so will enable us to better monitor the pulse of Asia’s in-house legal community on issues and developments that directly affect them, and which will ultimately be reflected in our editorial and special sections.

For our first issue, our exclusive cover story Unity in Asia? canvasses the views of Singapore Chief Justice and former attorney general Sundaresh Menon on the issue of unifying business law concepts in Asia. Earlier this year, Menon and other leaders in the region’s legal community gathered for the launch of the Asia Business Law Institute, a research centre with this concept at its core. Menon tells Asia Business Law Journal how business law convergence might be achieved, and outlines the challenges that need to be overcome.

In the first of a series of articles each focusing on one country in the region, New tiger’s tale looks at the Philippines, which has just completed one of its most controversial elections in recent memory. We talk to law firms and experts, including the new government’s head of economic development, who alludes to the opening up of the nation to foreign law firms.

Cybersecurity is always topical and Veta Richardson, the president and CEO of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), gives her views in our Spotlight feature on a global concern that has many regional ramifications. The ACC is the world’s largest legal association representing more than 40,000 in-house counsel.

When it comes to compliance, Asia is a tough neighbourhood for multinationals and others trying to keep in step with corporate regulations and legislation. A prayer for prevention offers more than altruistic advice on how to view compliance as a cost saver rather than a burden, with practical tips on regional and international compliance strategies.

Fortune favours the brave when it comes to the CMLV (Cambodia Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam) bloc of nations. All are enjoying enviable growth as they upgrade infrastructure and increase exports fuelled by cheap labour and attractive incentives for business. But there is a downside, and a good deal of legal risk. Roads less travelled warns you to be prepared if you wish to try your luck in these frontier economies.

As with Asia Business Law Journal’s sister publications, there are regular sections to enjoy, including Business Law Digest, an analysis of topical regulatory developments, Dispute Digest, a series of concise articles on arbitration and dispute resolution, and News, which will ensure you keep up to date with all the latest deals and developments concerning legal issues, law firms and appointments.

In-house Agenda offers a calendar of past and upcoming events being planned by leading corporate counsel associations in the region. It’s a must-read for in-house counsel who want to stay abreast with developments in their professional community.

Rounding off our coverage, Our Correspondents section offers regular viewpoints and expert advice on key topics from some of Asia’s finest law firms.

There’s a lot to take in! I hope you enjoy our first issue and encourage your feedback and suggestions. Please write to me at [email protected] and let me know what you think.

Best wishes,

John Church
Editor, Asia Business Law Journal
Editor-in-chief, Vantage Asia