TAI-HENG CHENG is global co-head of the firm's international arbitration and trade practice and co-managing partner of Sidley’s office in Singapore. Clients turn to him to solve their most significant legal problems.
He has won and collected nine-figure awards for clients both in commercial and investment-treaty arbitrations.
With over 25 years of experience, he is also a trusted advisor to companies, boards, and governments on issues beyond business disputes. He uses the full range of subject matter specialists at Sidley to devise and execute strategies that efficiently achieve his clients’ goals. Often this has involved a multi-pronged approach before courts, tribunals, regulators, and directly with counter-parties, in multiple countries.
His clients span many industries, including energy and infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, real estate, manufacturing and financial services. While he is resident in the New York and Singapore offices, he also spends substantial time in Europe and Latin America representing clients.
Tai-Heng Cheng maintains an active practice serving as both counsel and arbitrator in international disputes relating to commercial and investment arbitrations. Tai is ranked as one of the top 10 arbitration practitioners in North and South America under 45 by Who’s Who Legal, and has also been recognized in Chambers Global, Chambers USA, and The Legal 500 Latin America for International Arbitration (most recently in 2023), Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration, Benchmark Litigation’s Future Stars (most recently in 2023), and Benchmark Litigation’s Under 40 Hot List.
Industry organizations and tribunals report that Tai:
- "is a first-class professional"; " a brilliant lawyer. He is very adept at the arbitration process and is very experienced. He is also a great business strategist"; "a great thinker and he's very personable." (Chambers Global 2022)
- “stands alone in his class as a visionary with all that he set his sights on”; “the most amazing all round legal practitioner”; and “a superb and highly successful advocate…and as an incredible business developer.” (Global Arbitration Review 2021)
- “is an elegant practitioner who knows all there is to know about arbitration,” as well as “a very persistent advocate on behalf of his client” and a “fair and meticulous arbitrator” (Chambers USA 2019);
- “excels in the commercial and investment arbitration spheres due to his strong advocacy skills, understanding of economic issues and astute case strategies” (Who’s Who Legal); and
- delivered at a hearing “a remarkably eloquent and intelligent address with which the arbitrators of course full-heartedly agree in all respects” (Stockholm Chamber of Commerce arbitration award).
Awards rendered by Tai have been confirmed by U.S. District and Appeals courts as well as non-U.S. courts.
Tai has served as vice president of the American Society of International Law and is an elected fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, the American Law Institute, and the Foreign Policy Association. He is a member of the court for the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration. Tai is a trustee of the Frick Collection in New York and serves on the boards of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Asian Art and the Singapore Management University Yong Pung How School of Law.
Prior to joining Sidley, Tai was the chair of the New York international arbitration practice in another global law firm. He was also a tenured professor of international law in the United States. He has a J.S.D. and LL.M. degree from Yale Law School and first class honors in law from Oxford University.
Tai is bilingual in English and Mandarin.