TAI-HENG CHENG is a U.S. trial lawyer, international arbitration practitioner, and legal advisor to governments, C-suites, and boards.
Clients turn to him to solve their most significant legal problems, win their largest disputes, provide strategic advice on—and help close—substantial international transactions, and navigate some of the most complex and urgent issues of our day. Recently, his engagements have included: recovering US$700 million in losses suffered by innocent third parties in the largest corruption scandal in Brazil; obtaining and collecting damages under the first treaty arbitration under a Singapore investment treaty; restoring full rights to a life sciences company over oncology antibodies it is developing to treat currently incurable cancers, without paying any of the US$350 million in damages notwithstanding his client’s violation of contract breach of the joint venture agreement; defeating a motion to dismiss in a defamation lawsuit in New York against short sellers—which was previously unprecedented and forced the short sellers to settle claims swiftly; obtaining an early dismissal on jurisdictional grounds racketeering claims concerning the largest cyberheist of the New York Federal Reserve; advising on a multi-billion dollar alleged crypto hack that broke the blockchain; and structuring the international sale of over a billion dollars of Indian coal assets, which dramatically reduced a client’s carbon footprint.
Since joining Sidley five years ago, Tai has won every civil dispute in which he has served as lead counsel—except one that settled on favorable terms early on in the case, after Tai made a successful impromptu oral discovery application at a 2:00 a.m. prehearing conference, which resulted in a billion dollar victory for the client without the cost, delay, and risk of protracted litigation.
More generally, over the last 25 years, Tai has obtained and collected nine figure awards and judgments in international arbitration and court litigation. He has successfully represented corporations before the U.S. SEC, DOJ, and other government agencies. Sovereign nations and major corporations regularly appear before him in treaty and commercial arbitrations in which he serves as co-arbitrator or Tribunal President. Tai’s awards that have been reviewed by courts were all unanimously confirmed.
His clients span virtually all key industries, including energy and infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, real estate, manufacturing, and financial services.
Operating from New York, Tai is global co-head of international arbitration and trade. In addition, he splits his time in the Singapore office, where Tai is co-managing partner.
He is one of very few leading lawyers who have been recognized as a top arbitration practitioner and trial lawyer in North and South America and in Asia, including by Who’s Who Legal, Chambers Global (2016-2023), Chambers USA (2015-2023), Euromoney, Benchmark Litigation, American Lawyer, Asia Legal, and as a Law360 2023 “International Arbitration MVP.”
The global press seeks Tai out to comment on international issues, including: CNN, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, New York Times, Financial Times, South China Morning Post, Al-Jazeera America, Singapore Straits Times, Singapore Business Times, and Nikkei Asia.
Tai is a board member of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Asian Art and the Frick Collection. He is co-founder of the Cheng-Harrell Institute for Global Affairs and has served as vice president of the American Society of International Law. He is also an elected fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, the American Law Institute, the Foreign Policy Association, and is a member of the Court of Commercial Arbitration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.