YAN ZHANG is a partner of Sidley Austin’s Hong Kong office, and a member of the Firm’s Global Arbitration, Trade and Advocacy practice group. She is experienced in the resolution of Chinese-foreign business disputes and has advised clients in proceedings conducted under a number of institutional arbitration rules including those of the ICC, HKIAC and CIETAC. She also sits as arbitrator in commercial arbitration cases conducted in English and/or Mandarin Chinese.
Yan has received numerous independent recognitions. She has recently been listed in the inaugural Hong Kong edition of the Legal 500 Private Practice Powerlist List – Arbitration. She is also ranked as a Leading Individual in international arbitration by Chambers Greater China and recommended by Legal 500 Asia Pacific. In the 2024 edition of Chambers Greater China Region and Chambers Global, clients praised that “Yan is a sophisticated, well-rounded individual who provides relevant, meaningful and objective advice”, and that “she performs her role exceptionally well”. Another client noted that “Yan is a most industrious practitioner with a sharp commercial sense and awareness. Her knowledge and experience in PRC law no doubt gives her the edge in dealing with cross-border and international disputes that involve detailed analysis and cross-examination on expert evidence.” In the 2024 edition of Legal 500 Asia Pacific, client praised that “she has a good grasp of the facts of the case” and that “she is also able to seek the most suitable solution from a commercial perspective and provide the client with a comprehensive analysis.” In the 2023 edition of Chambers Greater China Region and Chambers Global, Yan is described as being “extraordinarily hard-working and clever and also an astute strategist” and “very well informed and knowledgeable in the field of arbitration, as well as being very personable." Yan is also described as “the driver of our case” who understands “the business initiatives and objectives in launching the arbitration.” In previous editions, clients described Yan as “a detailed person who leaves no stone unturned and is very strong in execution” and “one of Sidley Austin's most effective lawyers in its Hong Kong arbitration practice. Her knowledge of Chinese arbitration law and procedure is especially helpful.” (2022); “carefully studying the details of our case, digging up important evidence and seizing on key points and striving to give the client the best advantage.” (2021); “very confident, logical and well organized in her oral advocacy” with “good ability to think and respond on her feet” and “one of few truly bilingual counsel at partner level who can conduct advocacy fluently in the Chinese language” (2020); “very commercial”, “very responsive”, and “suggests sensible ways of solving disputes” (2019). Legal 500 Asia Pacific recommended Yan for being “extremely helpful and responsive”; “understands both the international and domestic PRC market” and is able to conduct advocacy in either English or Mandarin Chinese (2023). Yan was recognized as a future leader by Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration 2022-2024. Yan has been shortlisted as an “Commercial Arbitration Lawyer of the Year” for IFLR’s Women in Business Law APAC Awards for two consecutive years (2022 and 2023), and a finalist as an “Arbitration Lawyer of the Year” and “Woman Lawyer of the Year” for ALB Women in Law Awards 2023.
Before joining Sidley’s dispute practice in Hong Kong, Yan practiced for about 10 years in New York, Shanghai and Hong Kong as a transactional lawyer, advising private equity funds and multinational companies in mergers and acquisitions, fund formation and other corporate matters. Yan’s diverse practice gives her a unique blend of skills that benefit her clients at all stages of the corporate lifecycle.
Yan is fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese.