K Lesli Ligorner has more than 20 years of experience serving clients on a wide range of labor and employment matters, with more than 10 of those years spent on the ground in China. She has been advising a broad range of financial services; telecommunications, media, and technology; life sciences; and general manufacturing clients on the full suite of employment issues in China, including involving hiring and termination, establishment and enforcement of company policies, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and local anticorruption compliance, and discrimination and harassment policies, training, and investigations. Lesli is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.
Lesli leads the labor and employment practice in mainland China and handles cross-border employment matters and internal investigations across the Asia-Pacific region.
She also advises on global mobility and immigration, employment and anticorruption due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, leaves of absence, wage and hour laws, intellectual property protection, and unionization and collective bargaining.
For three consecutive years, Lesli was listed as one of the “Attorneys Who Matter” in the labor and employment category by the Ethisphere Institute. She has also been identified as one of the top 150 lawyers in China by China Business Law Journal for two years running and one of the top 100 global female investigations lawyers by Global Investigations Review, listed in Chambers Global and named “Lawyer of the Year” for Labour & Employment by China Law & Practice and AsiaMoney Women in Business Law.
Advising on pre-acquisition due diligence employment risks and liabilities and post-acquisition rectification strategies and risk mitigation for US-listed technology client in Guangdong Province, including social insurance underpayment, housing fund underpayment and non-enrollment, underpaid and incorrectly managed overtime, unlicensed dormitory and canteen, underage employees, shadow employees, unlawful labor dispatch practices and immigration irregularities
Reviewing evidence from FCPA investigation and preparing strategy and coordinating disciplinary actions across 30+ employees in Chinese subsidiary of technology client, resulting in resignation of key wrongdoers
Coordinating investigation into expense reimbursement fraud by country manager and his assistant for US-listed audio equipment manufacturer’s Philippines subsidiary and assisting with post-investigation employment proceedings
Advising clients on strategic employment and compensation structures to meet regulatory requirements, achieve compensation goals and minimize permanent establishment risks
Conducting investigation into bribery allegations around regulatory approvals by US-listed life sciences company’s personnel in China Advising clients on strategic employment and compensation structures to meet regulatory requirements, achieve compensation goals and minimize permanent establishment risks
Leading investigation into manipulation of sales and revenue recognition practices by Japanese management at subsidiary of US-listed technology company
Supervising an investigation for US-listed medical device manufacturer into allegations reported by Chinese regulator regarding alleged corruption with respect to approvals for medical devices
Leading US-driven regulatory investigation into Chinese technology company’s alleged failure to take employment actions that were stipulated and agreed
Advising global investment banks on unionization and collective bargaining strategies in China
Supervising an investigation into manipulation of revenue recognition policy for US-listed medical device company’s subsidiary in Japan and ensuing disciplinary hearings for multiple employees
Conducting an investigation into sexual harassment and bribery allegations against a senior executive at a US-listed biotechnology company’s subsidiary in China
Advising a global consulting firm and a global technology client with respect to potential litigation risks in multiple Asian jurisdictions in hiring competitor’s employees with restrictive covenants
Leading a cross-border investigation into allegations of commercial bribery and trade secret theft in Europe for a listed Chinese technology company, which findings were reported to the public prosecutor
Advising on employment risks related to nonrenewal of US-listed telecommunications manufacturing client’s contract with outsourced equipment manufacturer while seeking to retain the employees for newly commencing contract in same location
Preparing strategy for handling factory-wide claims of unpaid social benefits, underpaid overtime and other employment-related noncompliance in connection with significant restructuring exercise, resulting in no work disruptions
Leading an investigation into corruption at a US-listed medical device manufacturer’s subsidiary in China and advising on employment aspects with respect to off-books wage payments, individual income tax exposure, policy rollout and training, and management of dawn raid
Supervising the liquidation of a technology client’s subsidiary in Beijing and coordinating redundancy plan and documentation
American University, Washington College of Law, 1997, J.D., cum laude
McGill University, 1991, B.A., East Asian Studies, First Class Honours
Awards and Affiliations
Recommended, Regulatory/Compliance: Foreign Firms, China, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2021)
Litigation Star, Dispute Resolution and White Collar Crime, China, Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific (2020)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Employment, Law360 (2017, 2019)
Leading Individual, China: Labor and Employment, Foreign Firms, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2011–2021)
Ranked, Corporate Investigations/Anti-Corruption (International Firms), China, Chambers Global (2017–2021)
Band 1, Employment: PRC Law (International Firms), China, Chambers Asia-Pacific (2019–2021)
Ranked, Corporate Investigations/Anti-Corruption (International Firms), China, Chambers Asia-Pacific (2018–2021)
Ranked, China: Employment: PRC Law (International Firms), Chambers Asia-Pacific (2010–2018)
The A-List, China Business Law Journal (2017–2020)