Solicitors governing body: 中華民國律師公會全國聯合會 - Taiwan Bar Association
Competition authority: Fair Trade Commission (FTC)
Financial regulator: 金融監督管理委員會全球資訊網 - Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC)
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Financial and corporate (published October) - Banking and finance, Capital markets, M&A, Restructuring and insolvency
Taiwan is a civil law jurisdiction. The legal market is dominated by local firms with a handful of international firms also present and there are minimal restrictions placed on international firms practicing.
One oddity of the legal market, before a recent change, was that Hong Kong law firms were neither considered local or foreign, and that there was no way for them to be properly registered to carry on legal practice there. Considering the business potential arising from increased cooperation among Taiwan, the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong and the fact that Taiwan is one of Hong Kong’s largest trading partners with a growing Taiwanese company presence in Hong Kong, this was a strange state of affairs.
Section 47 of the Taiwan’s Lawyers Act rectified the situation and now Hong Kong solicitors can apply for registration as a foreign lawyer and practice in Taiwan. As a foreign lawyer in Taiwan, the successful applicant will only be allowed to practice the law of his or her home jurisdiction and international law, but can practice as an employee in a local firm, as a sole practitioner or in partnership with other foreign or Taiwanese lawyers.
With a relative lack of substantial high-end transactional work, there isn’t too much interest in Taiwan from global law firms. One continuing concern in the market is that price competition for commoditised work is having an adverse impact.
Adam Majeed - Asia-Pacific Editor
Deeply embedded in the market, Baker McKenzie is one of the few successful international firms in Taiwan and is known for its market leading finance practice.
In the research period the firm has been involved in some top solar financings and refinancings, including one of the largest limited recourse project financings of a solar PV project and the market’s largest non-recourse solar PV financing facility to date. It also handled the largest Taiwanese block trade last year and one of the largest private placement transactions in the semiconductor industry in Taiwan.
Recent Deal Data highlights
• ANZ Bank Taiwan / ANZ Bank merger
• Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public $100 million term loan facility
• Partners Group 30MW ground mounted solar power plant
• Vena Energy 70.2MW Chiayi County solar power plant
• WIN Semiconductors $185 million private placement
Formosan Brothers is a full service Taiwanese law firm that is ranked highest in restructuring and insolvency and M&A.
During the research period, the firm kept busy advising on technology finance mandates and on the restructuring of a solar panel producer, while active in investment funds and commercial real estate deals.
Formosan Brothers has a strong client base in the aviation, technology and real estate industries.
LCS & Partners is among the largest law firms in Taiwan, and is particularly noted for its M&A, capital markets, energy and securitisation capabilities. It has a large share of the market’s real estate, fintech and securitisation mandates. The firm is a member firm of professional services network World Services Group (WSG) and legal network ALFA International.
In the research period the firm has been busy in a series of technology – and biotech– acquisitions and on a host of renewable energy deals, including the first joint venture of a renewable energy company in Taiwan and Google’s first green energy purchase in Asia.
Recent Deal Data highlights
• II-VI Incorporated $85 million acquisition of CoAdna Holdings
• Appier Holdings acquisition of QGraph
• FarEastone Group NT$420 million acquisition of Nextlink
• Google acquisition of Enfinite Capital solar power in Taiwan
• SMT NT$992 million acquisition of ABBA Linear Tech
Lee and Li is a market leading Taiwanese firm that routinely picks up the top banking, capital markets and M&A mandates available to the market.
This research period the firm kept busy acting on aircraft financing mandates, the first offshore wind farm in Taiwan, and one of the largest loan transactions in the country in 2018. The firm also advised on the first-ever formosa bonds issue a sovereign entity in Taiwan, and acted for global and regional private equity houses such as KKR and MBK Partners in their Taiwanese transactions.
In the research period the firm lost M&A partner Sophia Yeh to competitor Tsar & Tsai.
Recent Deal Data highlights
• Formosa I Wind Power offshore wind power plant
• KKR $1.56 billion acquisition of LCY Chemical
• Natixis $370 million Airbus A330-300 aircraft financing
• Qatar $6 billion 5.103% Formosa bond issue
• Taiwan Cement Corporation $549 million global depositary shares issue
Lexcel Partners is a full service independent Taiwanese law firm that was established in 2004. The firm has grown now to over 50 staff, including 30 legal professionals. It is active in regulatory, banking and M&A matters.
During the research period, the firm kept busy advising banks such as UBS, HSBC, BNP Paribas and O-bank on regulatory matters, while its M&A team acted on mandates in the medical devices, financial services, telecommunications, and food & beverage industries.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Amundi Asset Management acquisition of Mirae Asset Global Investments
•Nexus Point NT$28 million acquisition of Home Chain Foods
•United Communication Group NT$966 million merger with 旺葆
"Excellent strategic negotiation, document review expertise, and reasonable fees." – M&A
Lin & Partners is a boutique, independent Taiwanese law firm that provides legal services to domestic and international clients in banking and finance, M&A, disputes, gaming, e-commerce & e-payments, energy and infrastructure.
The firm’s banking practice does not handle traditional banking work and has a niche focus on financial innovation such as electronic banking, fintech, and third-party payment services; while its M&A practice is focused on the mid-market.
In the research period, the firm has been busy acting on corporate, M&A and regulatory matters in the automotive, banking, technology and energy industries. For example, it acted for Nutmeg Saving and Investment—an online discretionary investment management company—on regulatory matters concerning its cooperation with Taipei Fubon Bank to establish the first robot banking programme in Taiwan.
"The firm provided very professional and precise comments that were really helpful in corporate governance." – Financial services regulatory
"Lin & Partners is made up of solid legal professionals with a strong business sense and prompt responses." – Financial services regulatory
Winkler Partners is a Taipei-based full service law firm that was formed in 2002. As a partnership between American and Taiwanese lawyers, it became the first law firm permitted to operate as a Taiwanese and foreign attorney venture.
The firm is primarily known for its intellectual property work, but has a transactional practice that handles structuring and execution, due diligence, and pre-merger filings and unfair competition matters. It also leverages off its strength in IP, litigation, employment and data privacy.
During the research period, the firm kept busy advising clients in private equity, corporate restructuring, bankruptcy, equity capital markets and M&A matters in sectors such as shipping, pharmaceuticals, and sport and fitness. For example, the firm continued to advise a Taiwanese bank in relation to its participation in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
"I have been very impressed by the legal acumen and negotiating skills of the Winkler team led by Gregory Buxton." – M&A
Zoomlaw Attorneys at Law is well connected with other law firms across the world and has expertise in intellectual property work.
The firm has expertise in the semiconductor, power generation, manufacturing, nanotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices sectors.
Key clients of the firm include Universal Mobile Technical Service, Asia Vital Components, National Centre for Traditional Arts, and Richtek Technology Corporation.