Welcome to the China business law podcast a show about the practice of law in China from real and house and Law Firm professionals on the ground.
Hi, everyone Art Dicker here starting in 2021 season two. We are looking first back at 20:20 and some of our favorite what we think will be timeless pieces of advice. We got from a few of our guests. We're putting those together here in one short recap episode some of the other guests we had last year were excellent and add great technical advice these guests and
Pieces that we've taken from these guests in particular are bits that we think will truly test and the test of time and good solid advice applicable today or 10 years from today. So we wanted to put those in an episode at the same time introduce our new sponsor who's Castel legal recruiting firm based in China and we welcome them on as one of our brand new sponsors for the 2021 season 2 of China business law podcast. Hope no one enjoys this episode and we look forward to many more great episodes coming up this year. Stay tuned.
John Hicks season 1 episode 3.
So another part of communication is verbal communication is nonverbal communication. And before we recording here we had it we talked about a story in Europe and your past where a colleague took you aside and talked about how your approach to starting meetings and and and and that was about nonverbal communication. So yeah tell a story for the audience. Yeah, absolutely. So when I first started, you know working in house, you know, like most lawyers, I would start every meeting open the laptop get out the pin get out the paper set everything up and then say okay tell me everything right and you know became you know, like most lawyers getting all the facts make sure you're getting the facts right so that when you go back to your desk whenever someone says why do you know that you can tell them exactly why and I had a colleague tell me, you know because it wasn't really productive like people weren't sharing stuff with me.
Hmm and I had I had a meeting with a colleague and she told me like, you know, you should stop acting so much like a lawyer. What does that mean? Exactly totally offended, right? Why did I go to school? Like I've been doing this lawyer thing for a pretty long time and it's been working and now you're telling me that I shouldn't do it anymore and you know part of what she was saying to me was if your goal.
Is to get people to share information or to give you information or to feel comfortable talking to you. The very last thing you want them to do is to feel like everything they say is being recorded and that somehow in the future you're going to use it against them. So knowing you used to be a litigator it exactly like I'm going to use this thing you told me this and so now I'm going to punish you for the and hold your own words against you and and that if you know, the really the goal is to understand the facts that you know, I'm not doing myself as any solids by showing up and scaring people right off the bat and and so she gave me great advice. He said why don't you just start a few meetings without opening up your laptop or your notebook and just talking to people like a regular person and see how much they get our see how much you get from them and how how much they talk or starting a meeting that's going to be really tense off with a joke.
I've heard some of your jokes. They're actually pretty good pretty pretty good. I'm not just I'm not just saying that for the right well and and I've owned them over the years you keep recycling seems like that's what okay.
Kenny Tung season 1 episode 4
In a organization and a business. They don't hire us to practice law. Now this this is sort of a provoked provocative statement. Yes, they hire us for our legal skills and inside and abilities, but they don't hire us to practice law. What do they hire us to do to solve problems and some problems are better solve upfront than when your options are limited and there's too late and too.
All and their lies this this self-definition and influence really we need to change a difficult. What is getting to be more difficult situation and reverse it into a more virtuous cycle. We have to persuade our clients that a lot of what we can do is actually like Finance like HR, like business intelligence can be weaved into the cannot even the company's operation. A lot of those could be have little to do illegal but the company
He's strategy and strategic initiative. And and of course no some work need to be done. You know, you just don't go and say okay I go become part of your strategy. But and and in many way most many GC's and say we are part of the company's strategic no function at the GC level. Yes lot of GC's, especially American companies sit on the board just like part of the c-suite, but we need to make sure the entire legal function also do that layer by layer rather than
Being a bit remedial as noted on the compliance. There's a saying that say, oh there is tone on the top, but there is muddled in the middle and battle at the bottom. So that is actually the reality in many companies. So what we get a chance to do is to say well what and most lawyers are so busy. They really to be honest don't have time to do it. But somehow this has to be done one day when task is is time we have mainly lawyers have to get out of being from behind our desks and start really being part of the business you go out on you start by going out onto sales calls going on delivery trucks. You have to really walk through the factories and understand what's happening follow the the after-sales service and product complain anything because only through those that we can really start getting back in touch with business and The Business.
Also, once they see that there's better bandwidth communication then they can say okay, you know, we don't we can start sharing more with the legal function rather than okay. Let's not let's keep this away from the lawyers. You couldn't more trouble than it's worth
Joey Jeong season 1 episode 14
So I want to ask was there something about your experience growing up diet help you later in your career.
Yes, so I think the biggest thing that helped me.
Is the is that I started early.
And it wasn't because I was smarter than anyone else or anything like that. It was because I was very curious and I started early and I worked so many different jobs. You know, like I said, I started working in restaurants when I was 9 years old. I realized very quickly that that's not something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I delivered newspapers. I worked at a shoe store. I realized I didn't want to be a salesmen neither. I worked as a bank teller and I realized that was really boring. I didn't want to do that either. I worked so many different jobs. And what I was able to do is by the and I did most of those before college or you know during college and so before I graduated from University from undergrad. I had already crossed out like 15 20 jobs that I did not want to do and I knew I didn't want to do those because I had already tried those and I said, there's no way that I wanted to do spend the rest of my life doing any of those jobs. So and when I actually worked with the Wall Street, so I actually got my first internship with Merrill Lynch in high school and then I and then in college. I work for Lehman Brothers and and some other Banks as well and for JPMorgan and when I worked at those jobs, I really loved it. I mean absolutely loved it and it was intellectually stimulating. You know, I learned something new every single day. The money was good everything about it. I enjoyed the people, you know it was
It really fascinating to me and I wanted to learn more every single day. So by doing a lot of stuff and by doing a lot many different jobs and internships. I realized the most important thing I realized was all the stuff that I didn't want to do and I think starting out early allows you to do that because a lot of people don't start until they're almost graduating University then they start oh, you know, I want to get an internship, but by then they have
They don't know what to cross out. They don't know whether you know, if a lot of people have done kind of paralegal work, you know, when they're in high school or university. They may have crossed out law or or they may say hey, I love it. I want to do it right and and that would make up their mind to go to law school. But either way the biggest thing is really to experience a lot of it before you graduate school. Not after.
Because afterwards your career you have debts to pay you have all those student loans and then you just end up accepting some job that pays the bills and then you kind of have to go with it because you have so many bills and they just keep coming. They never end. So so that was my biggest. I think Advantage was that I really started early, you know, I started age 13 or even
So that was actually the best thing that's happened to me bun came from season 1 episode 13, but from what I have seen a message that comes from a leader a business lead to his team will actually resonate a lot stronger than if it was just a compliance officer beating his or her compliance drum, right? And that that it I think is universal. It doesn't matter where you are. Yeah, and it's also valuable to have them be on board because maybe not senior management mid-level management is often the first ones to hear about problems, right? That is good. So you need them to be your soldiers out there with you kind of catching problems in the beginning, right? And yeah, we view them as ambassadors rather than soldiers. So people that's probably better ways people who would probably speak about compliance even if they are not even if they are.
Doesn't necessarily sit within compliance because as my former supervisor very wisely said I have the biggest team in the whole company. Everybody is team compliance. No one is there is there are no exceptions from the top to the bottom. I live by that rule and I haven't had any situations we have had strong pushback from a particular senior leader in all of my roles. So I suppose I've been quite fortunate in that sense.
But it's it's also something which I have worked very hard towards in terms of getting the buy-in and the support very early on mmm in in my role in each of the companies that I've actually worked for. I can give one example, which I tried and tested out last year where we have we have annual trainings and typically is always being the human resources team partnering with the corporate compliance team to try and chase after people have you done your compliance training if you actually completed this, so what I did a bit differently once that I spoke to the country leaders to say, I think it would make a huge difference if you send out a message and if it works, we will see the numbers go up pretty quickly and it will be a testament to why it is important to have a business leader talk about compliance. So, of course, I think the the ending of the story is of course a healthy one. We did see numbers go way up more than what we would have seen if it was only on the part of to non-business related departments sounding again beating the compliance drum whereas because if it is a business leader who saying that I need you to get it done today. Yeah, there's no questions asked that's it and the story and the story. Yes the middle.
Is what you are what you have actually mentioned earlier art. I think what's really important as well at the middle level management. Not only are they encountering the issues firsthand people are also coming to them asking for guidance firsthand. So in terms of empowering leaders and ensuring that they Cascade the messages down to their teams, who would be the middle management. We are also hoping in a way that this would also cultivate a good speaker culture where people are
Not afraid to actually ask questions. We think something is not quite right here. Yeah, is it something we should continue to do or should we just put a stop to it? Right? Yeah.
Tim Klatte and Qiao Peng season 1 episode 20 sample.
Normally what we're doing is we're well after investigation and review of all the evidence from evidence point of view and even though maybe we don't have we don't have a good case in court. However, we have sufficient evidence to make a confident conclusion and help them.
Trying to make the decision. Anyway, we don't want this bad apple anyway, right and you can ask the HR to prepare in advance some documents related to the employment and during the investigation and experienced investigator know how to communicate with this Bank guy and and how to convince this Bank guide the makes what he has done wrongfully and to accept in need to tell a the
Complaints come decision to finish in closing employment relationship immediately without any pay so we actually we have done those kind of things quite successful in many metal cases. So that's how to talk with those person. That's very it's very very key and we're of course is very skilled and experienced need a lot of experience and also for some cases if if we really want to turn
Tardis person two cards, I see in China many much can a multinational companies where the value compliance and would like to pay somebody coffee or legal costs by any legal costs to just to get this bed up airport out and just into the good and strong message to all the other stuff that this is zero tolerance. Yeah compliance issues zero tolerance and this is the gesture and attitude from the top management. We definitely want people
out and we don't work. Well not welding to compromise or negotiate with this people even maybe the cultural role for the employee in some to some extent but that's a different matter. So that's that's very very important. And I totally agree with that. I think set up a good example of good case and this is a good message to to to this to the employee even though to the third parties to the business College Park.
That's very very important. I'd like to add something if I may I've worked in Professional Services with to accounting firms for almost 15 years. Now, most of that say 90% of that has been in here in China and in generally speaking generally speaking you want repeat clients you want customers to come back to you want to be that trusted advisor to them? However in forensic when a client comes back to you, it's could be indicative that they didn't really execute or
Follow up on the recommendations that were made from the first investigation and so in some cases when a client calls me and says we've got a problem that is a sign that perhaps the issues internally from a controls perspective is definitely a red flag that needs to be tightened and is automatically written into the recommendations. So while it's important to have recurring quark and repeat clients, I can tell you in the forensic space.
It's always a sign of caution when I get clients that come back and say, you know, it's happened again, and I've had that happen. I've had companies call me and say yes, you completed the investigation. Yes, we're satisfied with your results. No, we didn't follow up on the recommendations that you made and now I'm calling you once again for more support.
Amiad Kushner season 1 episode 21.
And it's only when you encounter a dispute that you you start to realize some of these differences play out in litigation or arbitration. I also think that culturally
the notion of doing business in a way that would protect you and litigation is just not that's not a Chinese approach that that sounds like in the u.s. No, I hear yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I think yeah, I think you know exactly probably know exactly I mean because you know in the u.s. We just assume that litigation is part of the landscape of doing business. It's a cost of doing business. It's fairly normal and I think us companies understand that documenting things can can help protect you in litigation and litigation is just sort of expected there certain types of us companies like banks that are sued every day of the week. Now. I think Chinese companies are very very difficult targets to sue in the US mainly because us judgments are basically unenforceable in mainland China and apart from that there are a lot of practical difficulties of suing companies Chinese companies that are based in mainland China, but maybe they had a transaction of the US or office in the u.s. Very often. The documents are going to be in Chinese. So it's just, you know, it's burdensome to have things translated or you know, and and then if you're trying to get Discovery from mainland China, there's a special review process for State secrets.
It's an extra layer of cost and burden takes just takes a lot longer the physical distance between the US and China creates problems. If you have to take depositions of Chinese Witnesses and their end and if they don't travel to the US.
You have to travel to Asia and you can't take depositions in mainland, China.
So you have to go outside of mainland China, you know, it's just one issue after another.
And then you add to that the fact that as we talked about Chinese companies tend not to really document things right? So I think I think that it's very difficult to sue Chinese companies in the US in general and most American lawyers.
Are unaware of just how difficult it is.