Regulatory Wrangling: Episode 45 – A Conversation with One of the World’s Most Formidable Trial Lawyers with John B. Quinn | Thomas Fox – Compliance Evangelist

John B. Quinn is the founder and chairman of the nearly four-decade-old Los Angeles law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. The firm has been named the world’s most feared law firm ten times by independent research firm BTI Consulting, which surveyed more than 300 key legal decision makers at the world’s largest organizations.

When respondents in BTI’s annual survey were asked which law firm they least wanted to face as an opposing party, Quinn Emanuel consistently ranked number one as the world’s most feared litigation law firm.

Since 1986, John and his partners have tirelessly built the world’s largest law firms focused exclusively on business litigation and arbitration – an achievement recognized by The Wall Street Journal as a “global litigation powerhouse.” In that time, Quinn Emanuel has expanded to 35 offices in 12 countries on four continents, with more than 1,100 attorneys, generating more than $2 billion in annual revenue. In recent years, the company has recovered more than $80 billion for plaintiffs, a testament to John’s unwavering dedication to his profession.

John’s interests extend beyond the legal domain. For 33 years he was General Counsel at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars. He is also an avid mountain climber, Ironman triathlete and father of five. His varied activities reflect his versatile personality and provide a unique perspective on his legal career. He also hosts the popular podcast ‘Law, Disrupted’ –

In this episode of Regulatory Ramblings, he talks to host Ajay Shamdasani about how he found his way into the legal profession, representing the Bank of China, Alibaba, AliPay and Ant Financial – giants in the Chinese mainland banking and fintech/digital payments scene – and his belief in the importance of Singapore as a dispute resolution center for the Asia-Pacific. He also comments on how Hong Kong fares against the Lion City.

The conversation also explores the business rationale for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart’s focus on pure litigation and for not representing the world’s largest money center banks, despite the deep pockets for high-end legal services that the world’s leading financial institutions possess. This approach has earned the company high praise among plaintiffs’ attorneys.

John also shares his candid thoughts on environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns at a time when such considerations in corporate operations and investments are under fire – often from prominent business people. He also comments on what can be done at policy and legal reform levels to attract more foreign direct investment to the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

The discussion ends with John emphasizing his commitment to art and philanthropy. He believes in giving back to society when one reaches a certain level of success. His longtime service to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his initiative to open the Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles are just a few examples of his commitment to philanthropy that the public can appreciate.

Podcast discussion:

2:41 From Greenwich to Harvard: the path of a lawyer

5:07 The competitive nature of litigation: a balance between aggression and strategy

6:52 Banking and Fintech in China – Insights

8:41 Litigation as a last resort: the role of ADR and mediation

10:35 Expansion in Singapore: strategic growth in international arbitration and regional markets

14:57 Litigation is preferred to representing large banks

20:04 Do investors understand ESG? Challenges and definitions

25:38 Common Law vs. Civil Law: Perspectives on Legal Systems and Business Growth

27:46 Passion for art and Giving Back

31:57 Faith in LA: Embracing the lifestyle amid economic challenges

34:34 The Hollywood Incident: Will Smith and Chris Rock in the spotlight

37:15 The intersection of law and life: the importance of broad interests in legal cases

39:51 The best preparation to become a lawyer

43:01 The importance of verbal skills and writing in legal practice

45:45 Burnout: Recognizing When Law Isn’t the Right Choice

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