Rocky T. Lee is the Asia Managing Partner and Head of the Greater China Corporate Practice at Cadwalader. With a broad practice in China corporate, banking and finance, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, securitization, securities, funds, foreign exchange and antitrust law matters, Mr. Lee is widely recognized as one of the top China legal advisors to financial institutions, funds, executives, general counsel and boards of directors on complex PRC business and legal issues. His broad client base includes Western, Chinese and multinational public companies, financial institutions, emerging growth companies, investment banks, asset managers, PE and VC funds, LPs and GPs, and hedge funds.
Mr. Lee has particular experience in China’s “restricted industries” such as banking, funds, broadcasting, e-commerce, education, energy (including clean-tech), financial services, healthcare, Internet, media and entertainment, publishing and telecommunications. He is also highly regarded for his knowledge of the complex regulations governing foreign investment in China, foreign exchange, and cross-border transaction structuring.
He is a recognized pioneer of PRC cross-border equity and debt instruments and securities laws issues. In particular Mr. Lee is an expert on China’s QFII and QDII laws and regulations and he regularly works with policy makers and regulators. In addition, Mr. Lee is widely recognized as the leading legal expert on China cross-border transactional matters including, but not limited to equity or asset acquisitions, taxation issues, direct investments in China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Catalogue restricted industries, Renminbi-denominated fund formation, and specialized and complex legal business structures. He has a vast knowledge of China’s rules and regulations and approval procedures concerning antitrust, financial institutions and funds, foreign exchange, MOFCOM cross-border M&A, MOFCOM anti-monopoly (AML) issues, MOFCOM national security review (NSR) issues, telecommunications matters.
Awards, Honors & Rankings
As the recipient of numerous high profile awards and honors, Mr. Lee has been recognized as one of the leading lawyers in Asia by the following organizations and ranking guides:
China Business Law Journal, a publication specialized in the provision of high-end business and legal intelligence to senior corporate managers around the world, named “TutorGroup in its subscription of series B preferred equity” as the Deal of the Year in 2014. Mr. Lee is the lead legal counsel of this deal.
Best Lawyers Advisory Board, the world's premier guide for the legal professionals, named Mr. Lee as the sole “China Expert” in 2013.
Chambers Asia, a renowned directory providing independent rankings and editorial commentary, ranked Mr. Lee in 2011 as a "Band 1 Leading Individual/Leader in Asia (the highest possible ranking), and a 2011 Band 1 Leading Lawyer in Private Equity and Venture Capital. Mr. Lee’s private equity and venture capital practice in China was also ranked in Band 1 for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The Legal 500 ranks law firms and lawyers in Asia based on merit alone. Mr. Lee’s practice was named one of The Legal 500 Asia Pacific’s Recommended Foreign Firms in Private Equity and Venture Capital for 2012. In 2007, 2008 and again in 2009, Mr. Lee was recognized as the top Private Equity and Venture Capital Lawyer in Asia. Clients acclaim that “Rocky Lee and his team have the skills, experience, and industry knowledge needed to successfully navigate China's complex regulatory framework.”
Law360 recognizes business lawyers globally who have made the most significant contributions to their practice over the past year. Mr. Lee was named Law360’s MVP of the Year 2011 in Private Equity for his significant contributions to the private equity and venture capital practices in Asia, and for his dedication and immeasurable impact in his field.
Asialaw is a leading guide for business lawyers and Mr. Lee has been recognized by Asia Law & Practice as a Leading Lawyer in General Corporate Law in 2013, a Leading Lawyer in Venture Capital & Private Equity for 9 consecutive years (2005- 2013), and in 2005 he was also named a Leading Lawyer in IT & Telecommunications in China.
China Law & Practice is the leading legal and risk management resource for senior executives and in-house legal counsels at foreign invested companies, joint ventures, domestic Chinese companies, and government organizations. Mr. Lee has been recognized by China Law & Practice in The Guide to Leading Practitioners as a Preeminent Expert in Private Equity in China. He was nominated by in-house counsels and peers.
Asian Legal Business (ALB) is Asia’s leading independent publication for legal news and recognizes lawyers in the region based on reputation, skill, expertise, and merit alone. Mr. Lee was named one of the Hot 25 Lawyers in Greater China in 2011 by ALB. Mr. Lee earned the award of “Expert & Rainmaker” as an ALB Hot 25 Lawyer. ALB reports that Lee is “considered one of Greater China’s most astute private equity and venture capital lawyers.” Mr. Lee’s practice was named one of ALB’s Fast 30 Law Firms for 2011 and won a second recognition as ALB’s China Watchlist Firm for 2011. Asian Legal Business singled out the firms that stood tall above the rest, breaking ground in new practice areas and jurisdictions, and acquiring the best talent in the market to support their explosive growth.
Mr. Lee was also named by ALB, as the 2010 Leading Private Equity and Venture Capital lawyer, as well as one of ALB’s Hot 100 Lawyers of the year. Mr. Lee was recognized for outstanding performance in his field, pioneering a path for the rest of the legal profession in Asia.
Top Capital is a leading independent financial publication in Asia. Mr. Lee was awarded Best Legal Counsel of Investment Institutions of the Year for 2009, and consistently earned Top Capital’s Counselor of the Year in Venture Capital and Private Equity award from 2006–2008 for his excellence as a legal advisor in Asia.
Zero2IPO is China’s leading independent venture and private equity research firm. Mr. Lee was named the Lead Legal Advisor of the Year in Venture Capital Markets for four consecutive years from 2006- 2009 by Zero2IPO. Mr. Lee was also awarded the Lead Legal Advisor of the Year in Private Equity and Venture Capital -Related M&A Markets award for 2008. Mr. Lee’s team was named the Best Legal Counsel Institution in the Chinese Venture Capital Investment Market in 2008, recognized for their leading venture law practice, based on deal volume, deal size and overall market reputation.
Public Speaking Engagements & Professional Associations
Mr. Lee is also an established speaker and has published numerous articles on China legal and business issues.
Active in numerous influential organizations and agencies, he is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, Asian American Multi-Technology Association, Board of Advisors of the Beijing Entrepreneurs' Club, Beijing University MBA and Entrepreneurs Program, President of the China All Universities Club, China High Tech Industrialization Association, Board of Advisors of the China Limited Partners Association, China Media Industry Forum, China Software Industry Association, China Venture Capital Association (CVCA), European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, Shanghai Global IT Outsourcing Summit, Board of Advisors of the Tsinghua University Entrepreneurs Program, President of the University of California Berkeley Alumni Association in Beijing, Young Venture Capitalist Club (YVCC), and Zero2IPO Club.
Mr. Lee graduated from the University of California Berkeley, with high honors and academic distinction, and received his law degree, specializing in business law, from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. He is admitted to practice in the State of California and is a foreign registered lawyer in Hong Kong. Mr. Lee is fluent (read, write and speak) in English and Mandarin. Mr. Lee has lived and practiced law in Beijing for over a decade.