Boo, Bee Chun, Partner, Baker & McKenzie, Beijing
2 October 2012
I came to China in 2007 and spent 3 years in Shanghai and 2 so far in Beijing. Deciding whether to come to China to practice law was a difficult decision for me, having spent all my life in Singapore and being really comfortable and happy there. However, I decided at the end that l need to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to do something different.
Name: Boo, Bee Chun
Position: Partner, Baker & McKenzie, Beijing (CV)
What was your first-ever job? (prior to becoming a lawyer)
None. Lawyering was my only serious job. I did a short stint as an assistant in the Finance Department of a governmental organisation in Singapore and it was not exactly the most exciting job.
Where did you study? (give dates)
I studied law in the National University of Singapore.
Where did you train?
I trained in Lee & Lee.
Have you lived or worked outside your home jurisdiction? What did you learn from it?
I came to China in 2007 and spent 3 years in Shanghai and 2 so far in Beijing. Deciding whether to come to China to practice law was a difficult decision for me, having spent all my life in Singapore and being really comfortable and happy there. However, I decided at the end that l need to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to do something different. My 5 years in China has been immensely rewarding. I made many new friends, have seen and learnt many new things and gained invaluable experience on many exciting deals.
When did you become partner?
I became a local partner with Baker & McKenzie in China on 1 July 2008 and an equity partner on 1 July 2012.
What deal/case in your career stands out the most and why?
Actually, every deal I have done so far in China has been memorable and unique in its own way. This is because every deal is different in so many ways, including the people and issues I have to deal with.
What have been your recent deals?
(1) China Niobium Investment Holdings Limited Re: Project Diamond - Acquisition of a strategic Stake in CBMM
(2) Advising State Grid Corporation of China (“SGCC”), the largest power grid operator and second largest state-owned enterprise in China, on its acquisition of seven high voltage electricity transmission assets in Brazil from Spain’s Actividades de Construcción y Servicios and its affiliates (“ACS”).
What is the biggest challenge facing your market at the moment?
Competition from other law firms for China outbound work and finding good well rounded M&A lawyers.
What has been the most significant development in your sector in recent years? (this can be legal/technical)
The significant increase in competition for China outbound work. Many foreign law firms and many local firms are now focusing their time, money and efforts on procuring China outbound work.
If you hadn’t been a lawyer, what would you have been?
A pharmacist! I originally wanted to be a doctor but I figured out early on that I am not cut out to be one since I am afraid of the needle! I thought a related “medical” job which does not involve needles would be pharmacy. I got into law school by accident actually.
Which country do you travel to most frequently and which country do you like the best?
I don’t really have a country that I travel to most frequently (other than Singapore my hometown). My favourite tourist destination would be anywhere south of San Francisco along the west coast of the US. Another city that I like very much is London. The food there is great, not forgetting to mention the wonderful museums and art galleries.
What is your favourite book?
Nothing comes to mind actually. I love to read, and crime fiction books would be my favourite genre.
What is your favourite restaurant?
Eating is another favourite pasttime of mine. I like anything which is delicious and freshly prepared. Two restaurants that I have been to recently which I really liked are the Gramercy Tavern in New York and the Pushkin Cafe in Moscow.