During the 2017 Beijing Elective Course, students from the China-EU School of Law’s (CESL) “European and International Law” master’s programme visited four international law firms in Beijing. This was part of their lectures on Cross-Border Investments and prepared for the following lecture given by Dr Rainer Kulms, Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, Germany.
On the morning of 13 April, CESL students, accompanied by Assistant Professor Monika Prusinowska, visited CMS’s Beijing Representative Office. CMS is an international independent law firm and its principle is “Your World First”. Partner Andrzej Blach welcomed CESL students. Then Managing Partner Nick Beckett started the lecture entitled “Look Before You Leap—Avoiding IP Pitfalls in Doing Business Cross-Border between Europe and China”. He stressed the importance of Due Diligence of Intellectual Property Rights (IP) and the key issues that should be taken into consideration in Cross-Border Investment. He also explained what the difference between registered protection and unregistered protection of IP is. After the lecture, Nick Beckett answered questions asked by students.
Later that day, students arrived at the Taylor Wessing Beijing Office. The topic was M&A (mergers and acquisition) Negotiations. The lecturer was Senior Associate Ingo Vinck. Taking the investment of German companies in China as an example, he talked about the typical findings of legal due diligence of Chinese enterprises, further typical negotiation issues and the golden rules for a successful negotiation. He said that lawyers should try to protect clients’ interests during negotiation. He also stressed that language skills are important in international business.
On 14 April, students, accompanied by Assistant Professor Dr Alessandro Romano, visited Clifford Chance LLP Beijing Office. The lecture consisted of two parts. The first lecture was “An Overview of Competition Law With A Focus on The EU and The UK “, given by Partner Richard Blewett. Mergers are related to competition, he explained. Mergers need to meet EU and UK requirements, otherwise the corporation may be punished. There is also assessment of the competitive effects of mergers and the way it affects market shares, concentration levels, etc.. He also informed us about typical example and legal consequences of anti-competitive agreements and abuse of a dominant position. The second lecture was about “Anatomy of an SPA” given by Associate Tzi Yang Seow. Students took actively part in this lecture. Students learned that in the process of amending specific provisions, details are important in order to protect the clients’ interests. Students also had the opportunity to take a tour through the office.
On 18 April, students, accompanied by Teaching Assistant Mr Nick Hallemeesch, visited Uría Menéndez’s Beijing Office. Partner Francisco Martinez Boluda welcomed CESL students and expressed his happiness to cooperate with CESL. Then, his colleagues gave a lecture that was entitled “M & A Environment in Europe and Basic Legal Issues in Cross-Border M & A Deals”. The EU is interesting for foreign investment such as free movement of capital, the lawyers told us. In recent year, China became more interested in investing in developed coutries. But commercial habits may influence transactions. For example, time zones differ from one anothers. A merger also involves employment law, tax law and several other fields of law, which can be complex.
These four law firm lectures made students not only learn interesting details on Cross-Border Investment, but they also had an opportunity to understand the work of international law firms. This is also a big help to students’ career planning.
Article by Li Zhipeng (CESL Double Master's students from the 2015 intake)