Thomas Walsh specialises in international arbitration.
Thomas co-leads the firm's Greater China international arbitration practice and is the head of its Korean disputes practice. He has a particular focus and experience in post-M&A, private equity and tech related disputes. Thomas acts in arbitrations under all of the major arbitration rules such as HKIAC, SIAC, ICC, LCIA and UNCITRAL and has been based in Asia since 2010 so has a depth of experience in the region.
He is recognised as one of the leaders in Asia in international arbitration. In accordance with this he has leadership roles with many of the leading global and regional arbitral institutions. This includes being appointed to the HKIAC's Council and Appointments Committee, being elected as the Chair of ICC HK's Nominations Committee and appointed to KCAB Next's Steering Committee.
His is similarly recognised by all the leading legal directories; Who’s Who Future Leaders – Arbitration describes him as "exceptional; one of the best [...]" (2017) and "is very much a leader in the Asian market” (2018) and "wins high praise as “one of the best arbitration lawyers in the market”". He is “a top-notch advocate” who peers “cannot recommend highly enough” (2019). He is similarly recognised by Chambers & Partners and by Legal 500, who lists him as a 'Next Generation Partner' for International Arbitration.
Finally, alongside his work as counsel and as an arbitrator, he also regularly writes and speaks on arbitration. He was previously an adjunct professor at Hong Kong University and is one of the two General Editors of the Arbitration and ADR Volume of Hong Kong Civil Procedure (or "White Book").
- Advising the GP to a private equity fund in multiple arbitrations and court proceedings in HK, Cayman Islands and the PRC relating to a USD 1 billion dispute with an investor and investments in German, Israeli and American portfolio companies. ICC, HKIAC and UNCITRAL arbitrations, HK seat, HK governing law together with HK, PRC and Cayman court proceedings with associated injunctions, disclosure orders and confidentiality orders.
- Advising a global private equity firm in multiple arbitrations relating to a USD 300 million dispute over their investment in a PRC business and joint venture dispute with the minority shareholder and numerous international court proceedings in support of the arbitrations. CIETAC arbitrations, HK law, Beijing seat together with HK, Singapore and Cayman court proceedings with associated injunctions, disclosure orders, Norwich Pharma orders and contempt of court proceedings and enforcement challenge before CICC.
- Advising a financial institution in connection with a USD 100 million dispute relating to its investment in a PRC property joint venture including steps to take control of the joint venture, information rights and redemption of shares under various rounds of investments. HKIAC arbitration, PRC law, HK seat together with PRC court interim relief.
- Advising four private equity funds in a USD 100 million UNCITRAL arbitration administered by the HKIAC together with associated Vietnamese civil and criminal proceedings. The dispute related to the funds’ investment into a group of companies in Vietnam where they became victims of a sophisticated fraud. HKIAC arbitration under UNCITRAL Rules, HK law, HK seat together with Vietnamese civil and criminal court proceedings.
- Advising two global investment banks in connection with a USD 200 million dispute relating to an investment in copper manufacturing company and the exercise of put option rights including emergency arbitration proceedings. HKIAC arbitration, HK law, HK seat.
- Advising a PRC investor in relation to a USD 2 billion dispute regarding an EV business. Including successfully defending against an emergency arbitration to force financing and also appointing professional directors to the target board of directors to prevent dissipation. HKIAC arbitration, HK law, HK seat and HKIAC emergency arbitration.
- Advising a company which specialises in finishing glass used on consumer electronic devices in a tech and IP related HKIAC arbitration for over USD 100 million and involving highly sensitive proprietary information. HKIAC arbitration, HK seat, HK law.
- Advising a smartphone maker in a USD 200 million arbitration relating to allegations of creating derivative software and copyright infringement. HKIAC arbitration, HK law and HK seat.
- Advising a crypto platform in relation to disputes against a number of early round investors. HKIAC arbitration, HK law and HK seat.
- Advising for a data centre developer and operator in relation to disputes with customers and end users in multiple jurisdictions. HKIAC arbitration and HK litigation, HK law, HK seat and related court proceedings in Singapore and England.
- Advising a large HKSE-listed software company in relation to an emergency arbitration application commenced by a significant shareholder and associated arbitration proceedings. HKIAC arbitration, HK seat, HK law.
- Advising an international biotechnology company in disputes relating to the acquisition of a plasma manufacturing company including issues over breaches of good manufacturing practice and regulatory issues. PRC law, HKIAC arbitration, HK seat.
- Advising one of the world’s leading PE firms in a dispute relating to an investment into a pharmaceutical business in the PRC. HKIAC arbitration, HK seat, HK law and freezing injunction in HK
- Advising a medical devices and health care company in relation to a number of disputes relating to its divestment of an asset in the PRC. English law, ICC arbitration, London seat.
- Advising for one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies in a litigation relating to the supply of contaminated active pharmaceutical ingredients by a PRC supplier. HK court, HK law.
- Advising a global pharmaceutical company in relation to the theft of trade secrets and Anton Piller relief. HK court, HK law.
- Advising an international lessor in a dispute against a Hong Kong based airline for outstanding rental payments and accompanying injunctive relief to ground two aircraft pending payment. HK arbitration, HK law and HK seat together with HK court.
- Advising numerous international lessors in disputes against a major PRC regional airline including arbitration, litigation and insolvency processes. HK arbitration, HK law and HK seat together with PRC court.
- Advising an aeronautical products company in a significant ICC arbitration with one of its business partners. ICC arbitration, French law and Paris seat.
- Advising an aeronautics company in multiple arbitrations against joint venture partners. ICC arbitrations, HK law and HK seat.
- Advising a Chinese lessor in a CIETAC dispute with a Chinese airline that had failed to take delivery of an aircraft. CIETAC arbitration, Chinese law and Beijing seat and enforcement challenge before Beijing Court and a Wuxi Court.
News and client work
Career and qualifications
- Trinity Hall, Cambridge (BA) 2001
- Admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales 2007
- Admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong 2011
- Admitted as a Foreign Legal Consultant in the Republic of Korea 2013
- Joined Clifford Chance 2014
- Head of Korean disputes practice 2014
- Partner since 2019
- Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), CIArb Fellow
- KCAB Council for International Arbitration 2014
- ICC Hong Kong Appointments Committee 2017
- HKIAC HK45 Committee 2018
- KCAB Next 2018
Awards and citations
- "Thomas Walsh is an exceptional lawyer; he has an infectious passion for arbitration and is incredibly grounded".
Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration – Hong Kong, 2020
- Next Generation Partner.
Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration 2020
- According to one source, Thomas Walsh is "a fountain of good ideas, and wise and experienced beyond his years." He typically handles commercial proceedings related to private equity investments, shareholder disputes and energy sector-related cases. One source comments: "He's very passionate about arbitration and getting the best possible outcome for clients. He puts in a real shift and works under difficult circumstances."
Chambers Asia Pacific, Dispute Resolution: Arbitration (International Firms) – China 2020
- Practice head Thomas Walsh is a particularly prominent figure on the international arbitration scene in Korea, bringing both academic rigour and hands-on experience as an arbitrator to his work for clients. Interviewees praise him highly, one commenting: "Tom is the complete package. He is very good with clients, writes very well and is an excellent oral advocate." Another source says: "He has an excellent ability to see the case from the widest perspective, is hands-on and detail-oriented and is an excellent person to work with."
Chambers Asia Pacific, Dispute Resolution: International Firms – South Korea 2020
- Clifford Chance’s Thomas Walsh wins high praise as “one of the best arbitration lawyers in the market”. He is “a top-notch advocate” who peers “cannot recommend highly enough”. Who's Who Arbitration: Future Leaders 2019
- Thomas Walsh enters the rankings this year on the back of strong market feedback. He is active in arbitration proceedings spanning a wide range of areas, including energy and construction disputes. "The way he communicates legal concepts to the layman really impresses us," one source reports, while another explains: "He is very personable and well liked in the market. He is very well prepared and on top of things. I have been hugely impressed."
Chambers Global, Dispute Resolution (International Firms) - China 2019
- A "fierce advocate with a strong analytic mind," Thomas Walsh leads the Korean disputes practice, splitting his time between Seoul and Hong Kong. A market commentator notes: "Tom is very well regarded in the Seoul arbitration community."
Chambers Global, Dispute Resolution: International Firms – South Korea 2019