A rebuttal by the family of Premier Wen Jiabao following a New York Times report about his family's wealth has cast a spotlight on lawyers from two of China's top law firms.
The family's two legal representatives are best known for their work in corporate and commercial law.
Bai Tao is a partner with the Beijing-based Jun He Law Offices and she specialises in corporate law, intellectual property rights, inbound investment, real estate, anti-dumping, sports law and dispute resolution.
Wang Weidong is a managing partner of the Grandall Law Firm in Beijing, and he specialises in corporate mergers and acquisitions, as well as capital markets and securities.
The two were chosen to represent Wen's family because of their dealings with foreign firms and legal affairs involving other countries, even though neither has done much work with defamation cases, according to a legal source familiar with the two lawyers.
Bai is a former director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Beijing Lawyers' Association, and Wang is the current director. Both lawyers were fluent in English, the source said.
"They are top lawyers in top firms. The industry will be very surprised by this, because the two firms specialise in business and commercial laws. It's unheard of for these firms to become involved in cases concerning citizen's rights," Beijing lawyer Li Xiongbing said. Bai was educated at both Peking University and Cornell, where she earned her juris doctorate in 1988.
She has helped many international clients with investments, mergers and acquisitions, and setting up joint ventures and foreign-owned enterprises.
Bai has also provided legal service, in the area of intellectual property, for big multinational companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Reebok and Fifa, and she was involved in negotiations and the drafting of legal agreements for IBM, China Resources and Lufthansa.
Her name is known by the public largely due to her role in helping the Chinese Football Association negotiate the contracts of foreign players in Europe a decade ago.
One of the first private law firms in China, Jun He boasts more than 400 lawyers and offices in first-tier cities and has a presence in Hong Kong and the US. It also acted as China's legal counsel to Cofco and Hopu in their investments into Mengniu Dairy. The deal was the largest equity investment in China's food industry.
And the law firm acted as legal counsel to UBS Securities on Shenzhen Development Bank's hybrid debt issuance in China's inter-bank debt market. The firm also handled legal issues for Bank of China's H- and A-share offerings.
Wang, with his University of Minnesota law degree, has provided legal service for numerous multinational companies, including General Motors, ABB Group, AT&T and General Electric.Topics: Wen Jiabao The New York Times Law