Miran Lim and Yen Nguyen
View the A-List
Thailand’s economic performance for 2023 is poised for disappointment as the growth forecast has been revised downward from 3.5% to 2.7%. Weaker than expected exports and reduced tourism spending are the primary factors contributing to this adjustment, signalling significant challenges ahead for the nation’s economic outlook.
Thailand, the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, has also been hindered by the global economic slowdown, a sluggish recovery in its primary trade partner, China, and declining investor confidence.
Amid these challenges, Thailand is pursuing economic rejuvenation and sustainability by transitioning into a technology-driven economy. The government has introduced substantial regulatory updates, including a comprehensive set of incentives aimed at boosting investment and enhancing economic infrastructure.
These measures encompass a range of benefits from tax exemptions to the establishment of newly promoted industry sectors and regional special investment zones, all designed to encourage both existing and prospective investors.
These incentives mark a significant milestone as the first major policy initiative under the new Five-Year Investment Promotion Strategy unveiled in October 2022, set to run from 2023 to 2027. The overarching goal of this strategy is to reshape Thailand’s economic landscape by fostering investment in innovative, high-tech and environmentally friendly industries.
Additionally, Thailand has recently enforced a new law, the Royal Decree on the Operation of Digital Platform Service Businesses, effective from 21 August 2023, to regulate digital platform service providers and safeguard consumer interests.
Furthermore, the nation is in the process of developing a pivotal environmental legislation with the Draft Sustainable Packaging Management Act, aimed at establishing systematic and sustainable management of packaging waste.
In this challenging yet dynamic landscape, Asia Business Law Journal proudly presents Thailand’s top 100 lawyers for 2023. The A-List is the result of rigorous research and nominations received from in-house counsel in Thailand and abroad, as well as Thailand-focused partners at international law firms.
Feedback from clients submitted to Asia Business Law Journal indicates a strong demand for lawyers who can offer expert guidance, provide pragmatic solutions, and adeptly navigate complex legal challenges with professionalism and precision.
As the intricate worlds of commercial disputes, M&A, and banking and finance continue to evolve, top Thai lawyers are emerging as trusted advisers, offering invaluable legal insights and solutions for clients seeking excellence in these dynamic sectors.
Ittinant Suwanjutha, a partner at the Bangkok-based international law firm, IAS Advisory, is one of them. He is nominated by Kornkrit Kitisin, senior vice president and chief executive officer at the real estate investment and management company, Acomage Capital.
“Ittinant is highly professional in his job, and he has never disappointed me as his client even once,” says Kitisin. “Every time I work with him, I can be confident that the result will be highly satisfying. Ittinant not only provides very complete legal advice when my firm and I would like to proceed on any business transactions, but also performs his duty perfectly when it comes to the time that he has to defend us in any dispute.
“He’s not just a lawyer but more like a business partner who I can rest assured won’t go wrong if I have him around,” says Kitisin.
Richard Roder, president of global real estate company CMT, based in the US state of Texas, concurs.
“Ittinant is a very professional, knowledgeable, capable, and highly experienced and respected attorney,” says Roder. “He has proven to us that he knows and understands the best Thai approach to resolving issues, and has always ended up with successful results for us in a timely manner.
“Being an international client and having dealt with many lawyers over 48 years in business, Ittinant’s professionalism, responsiveness and caring make us look forward to his excellent guidance and legal support for many years to come. We would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a high-quality Thai attorney.”
Sahachai Wibuloutai, regional general counsel for the Mekong region at audit and consulting company PwC in Bangkok, recommends Herbert Smith Freehills managing partner Warathorn Wongsawangsiri as his go-to lawyer.
With close to two decades of experience, Warathorn has been a trusted adviser and advocate for leading corporations and conglomerates, handling some of Thailand’s most intricate and high-profile commercial dispute cases, as well as those in other Asian regions.
“Warathorn is very strategic, well rounded, and well prepared,” says Wibuloutai. “He always plans many steps ahead of the legal issue at hand, and he can explain difficult legal issues to the decision makers in a simple way by using an analogy, like a soccer game, which makes a difficult situation less stressful.”
Thanyaluck Thongrompo, a partner at the Bangkok-based law firm Kudun & Partners, is referred to as “an excellent lawyer” by Akarawatt Kongsirikan, CEO of imported car company B Autohaus in Bangkok.
“She is very patient and takes time to understand my legal issues and provides very solid and workable solutions to move our business ahead,” says Kongsirikan. “She is also a good negotiator, having assisted us and provided us with advice on a joint venture project. I believe she deserves to be recognised as a top lawyer in Thailand.”
Thongrompo is also recommended by Ron Sirivanasandha, head of governmental and external affairs at luxury vehicles and motorcycles firm BMW Thailand in Bangkok, for being “a highly proficient attorney in the intricacies of foreign investment within the Thai legal landscape”.
“Her wealth of experience ensures that she can provide invaluable legal counsel regarding investment promotion for advancing your endeavours, characterised by her exceptional responsiveness,” adds Sirivanasandha.
Thongrompo’s colleague, partner and head of the China practice, Mayuree Sapsutthiporn, is another lawyer from Kudun & Partners who received compliments from clients.
Samon Suwannarat, a partner at 10 Bridge Capital, an experienced group of Thailand-based investment professionals, has this to say about Sapsutthiporn: “Over the course of our partnership, Mayuree and Kudun & Partners have demonstrated the qualities and professionalism that not only make them stand out in their field, but also contribute to the larger legal landscape in an indelible manner.
“Their dedication, decisiveness, and the ability to deliver consistently have distinguished them as lawyers of unparalleled excellence.”
On matters of disputes, Pariyapol Kamolsilp, a partner at Kudun & Partners, also stands out from the crowd. He is applauded by Suchart Khaengnam, head of legal at the multinational electronics company LG Electronics in Bangkok.
“Pariyapol’s thoughtful and well-considered approach to our legal matters reflects a commitment to moving forward in a manner that is both smart and strategic,” says Khaengnam. “His insights and recommendations have been instrumental in shaping our decision-making processes as we navigate complex legal landscapes.
“His ability to operate seamlessly when managing our legal concerns speaks to a level of professionalism comparable to some of the bigger global lawyers in Thailand. His ability to address intricate legal issues while keeping the broader corporate context in mind is second to none.”
Kamolsilp is also praised by Preecha Piriyapanyaporn, vice president of legal and compliance at the real estate company Major Development Public in Bangkok. Piriyapanyaporn thanks Kamolsilp for his “smart strategy and excellent legal perspective” that “has produced many effective results” for the company.
Kobkit Thienpreecha, a partner and director of Tilleke & Gibbins’ corporate and commercial group in Bangkok, is praised by his client, Robert Boder, general counsel at the American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox in New York.
“Kobkit leads our work in Thailand both on the commercial contract and corporate side,” says Boder. “He is quite attentive and practical, two attributes important to any in-house counsel. He also has extensive knowledge of our practice as architects working internationally.”
In the realm of corporate ethics and regulatory compliance, certain lawyers on the A-List are acknowledged as experts who guide organisations through the intricacies of regulatory frameworks, ensuring they remain steadfast on the path of ethical and lawful practice.
Wayu Suthisarnsuntorn, a senior partner at Pisut & Partners in Bangkok, is widely recognised for his expertise in corporate governance and compliance matters. For Serene Ng, corporate legal counsel at semiconductor company Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific in Singapore, Suthisarnsuntorn is a trusted
legal adviser on various topics related to Infineon’s operations in Thailand, spanning licensing, land, compliance, labour and employment, corporate and commercial matters.
“Wayu is very responsive and prompt in his support,” says Ng. “We have sought urgent advice from Wayu on several occasions, and he always delivers within tight deadlines. Wayu delivers high-quality legal advice, which is clear and thorough, and anticipates clients’ needs.
“He has a good understanding of the business and thus provides practical and relevant advice, which is helpful to in-house counsel, as opposed to some law firms who tend to give very academic, theoretical and conservative advice. We know we can always rely on him. This, in turn, saves us time and allows us to efficiently support our business.”
Pondtiwa Rungjangrangsee, leader of legal and compliance at the housing and building materials company LIXIL in Bangkok, holds Yothin Intaraprasong, a partner at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, in high regard.
“Yothin’s commitment and practical legal insights have been instrumental in our decision to continue working with him,” says Rungjangrangsee. “His consistent performance has solidified our trust in his abilities, and we continue to value his counsel. Yothin’s work truly demonstrates excellence in the legal profession, and he has a remarkable ability to thoroughly understand and address our specific assignments.”
Jirat Makasiranondh, deputy department manager at elevator company Mitsubishi Elevator in Bangkok, speaks highly of Chanakarn Boonyasith, a partner at Bangkok-based law firm SCL Nishimura & Asahi.
“Chanakarn is a dependable and knowledgeable source of guidance in labour and safety dispute matters, which proves highly effective in practice,” says Makasiranondh. “Her legal opinions are precise and practical in addressing uncertain facts and circumstances. We firmly believe that her extensive experience will lead clients toward their best interests in legal matters.”