What was your first-ever job? (prior to becoming a lawyer): Immediately after graduating from Jilin Law School I moved to Beijing and worked asa retail sales clerk in a department storewhile waiting for my Beijing residence card. It was a rewarding and fun experience.
Name: Guohua (Annie) Wu
Position: Senior Partner with JT&N Law Firm
Where did you study? (give dates): I attended Jilin Law School for four years to obtain my Chinese law degree (1988-1992). I began to apply to law schools in the United States in 1997 and was accepted into the Cornell Law School’s LLM program.At the end of that year I was admitted to the J.D. programwith full scholarships. I graduated from Cornell with aJ.D. degreein 2001
Where did you train?:Sullivan & Cromwell (New York) and Kirkland & Ellis (Chicago)
Have you lived or worked outside your home jurisdiction? What did you learn from it?Living in the United States exposes everyone to new ideas and a different understanding how people live their lives as opposed to living in China. Far more importantly, I saw how a global, top tier firm operates, the thinking behind how mega deals are ran, how associates are trained and evaluated, all of the many things that happen in a large firm. When I left China the legal industry just started,and many of these concepts had not been thought through or applied. All of this knowledge is incredibly valuable now that I have returned to China.
When did you become partner? I was recruited as a partner to Paul Hasting’s Beijing office in 2009.
What deal/case in your career stands out the most and why? I would say that so far it is Chalco’s takeover bid of Southgobi Resources. Of course it is a large transaction, over $900 million USD, but the reason it stands out is Chalco’s decision to appoint us General Outside Counsel and PRC counsel on this deal. It is almost unprecedented for a SOE (state owned enterprise) to elect to have Chinese counsel lead a global transaction of this size. Itis a complex project because of its cross border natureinvolving Canada, China, Hong Kong and Mongolia, as well as dealing with the negotiations involving various sovereignties. It has been ahigh profile transaction, and the pressure isnot only because of the very public nature of the deal, but also because we know we are breaking ground Chinese firms practicing globally.
What have been your recent deals?
To date the takeover bid by Aluminum Corporation of China Limited(the second largest producer of aluminum in the world and a listed company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange) for Southgobi Resources is the second largest outbound acquisition by a Chinese state-owned company this year. Iam acting aslead counsel and PRC counsel for the deal with a total value ofC$925.28 million and involved major global players including Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines.Southgobi Resources is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
PRC counsel to Aluminum Corporation of China Limited in its proposed acquisition
of 29.9% equity interest in Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong
listed company, at a total cash consideration of HK$2,391,755,189.20.
Lead counsel and PRC counsel for a proposedacquisitionby a Shanghai stock exchange listed company in France in the luxury boat sector.
PRC counsel to a proposed initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange with a target of raising $1 billion USD.
What is the biggest challenge facing your market at the moment?Finding adequate talent at the senior levelin Chinaisa challenge.
What has been the most significant development in your sector in recent years? (this can be legal/technical) The rise of Chinese companies as legal service recipients in their outbound investments.If you want to be a player you have to able to prove that you can bring the complete package to the table,the knowledge of international law and regulatory requirementsand the understanding of how people think and do businessglobally. When you can do this, and you can help your client navigate the ins and outs of those deals, then you are extremely valuable as an attorney.
If you hadn’t been a lawyer, what would you have been? I fantasized about becoming a geologist when was a kid. I loved the thought of being with the nature, the woods and animals and going on adventures. But I have found that I have a lot of passion for law and the building of my practice, and it can pay for my adventures.
Which country do you travel to most frequently and which country do you like the best?I travel most between China and the United States, and I have a home in the U.S. along with many friends both professional and personal. It is hard to say which country I like the best, I certainly love Paris and France. The people are wonderful and the sense of history in Europe is very special. I think that I want to explore many more countries and places before I decide which I like the best.
What is your favorite book?Personal History, by Katherine Graham. It is an autobiography of a woman who’s father bought and restored the Washington Post (a famous U.S. newspaper). She inherited the paper from her father and ran it during a very difficult period in the 1970s. She was an amazing and very strong woman who found her purpose in life and lived it to the fullest.
What is your favourite restaurant?My husband loves cooking and has a passion for food. He prepares fabulous meals for the family many nights a week. It is rare for me to find a restaurant that can offer the same variety that I have in my own home. Plus he is an excellent bartender too!