Lesli Ligorner has more than 25 years of experience serving clients on a wide range of labor and employment matters, with more than 15 of those years spent on the ground in China. She advises a broad range of financial services, telecommunications, media, technology, life sciences, and general manufacturing clients on the full suite of employment issues in China, including hiring and termination, discrimination and harassment policies, training, and investigations. Lesli is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.
Lesli Ligorner is outstanding. She really is unique in how responsive and practical she is with her legal advice, and her availability.
Legal 500 Greater China
As a General Counsel based outside of China, I know that Lesli will give me advice that is relevant and will help me assess and mitigate the legal risk of doing business in China from an employment perspective.
Legal 500 Greater China
I always feel like I am her only client and priority. She is one of the best partners I have ever worked with.
Legal 500 Greater China
Lesli has strong APAC knowledge which is invaluable for our business.
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 advises on global mobility and immigration, leaves of absence, wage and hour laws, intellectual property protection, and unionization and collective bargaining.
Lesli’s practice further includes compliance counseling and training covering establishment and enforcement of company policies, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and local anticorruption compliance, export controls, data protection and cybersecurity issues, and employment and anticorruption due diligence in mergers and acquisitions and related internal investigations.
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 three years running and one of the top 100 global female investigations lawyers by Global Investigations Review, listed in Chambers Global, named to The Legal 500 Hall of Fame for China Employment & Labor, 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
Advising clients on strategic employment and compensation structures to meet regulatory requirements, achieve compensation goals and minimize permanent establishment risks
Advising global investment banks on unionization and collective bargaining strategies in China
Advising a global technology client with respect to post-termination restrictive covenants across 13 jurisdictions in APAC
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
Supervising the liquidation of a financial services company’s subsidiaries in Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai and coordinating termination plan and documentation
Preparing and conducting workplace training for China workforce regarding working hours and overtime issues, performance management, and general respect in the workplace
Advising US-listed technology company on termination strategy and documentation for dismissal of multiple senior executives due to violations of company’s revenue recognition, channel management and anti-bribery policies
Reviewing evidence from FCPA investigation and preparing strategy and coordinating disciplinary actions for 30+ employees in Chinese subsidiary of technology client, resulting in resignation of key wrongdoers
Leading investigation for global medical device manufacturer into allegations of self-dealing, bribery and corruption at China subsidiary
Conducting investigation into 35+ transactions by Chinese subsidiary of US-listed life sciences company involving sales of instruments to government agencies, involving third parties placed on Entity List during investigation
Coordinating investigation into expense reimbursement fraud by country manager and his assistant for US-listed audio equipment manufacturer’s Philippine’s subsidiary and assisting with post-investigation employment proceedings
Supervising internal investigation concurrent with managing regulator’s investigation of whistleblower’s allegations of alleged trademark infringement by sole distributor and sub-distributor for European company’s government infrastructure business in China
Conducting investigation into bribery allegations around regulatory approvals by US-listed life sciences company’s personnel in China
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 lab approvals for new medical devices
Leading US-driven regulatory investigation into Chinese technology company’s alleged failure to take employment actions that were stipulated and agreed with US government agency
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
Leading a cross-border investigation into allegations of commercial bribery and trade secret theft in Germany for a listed Chinese technology company, which findings were reported to the public prosecutor
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
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, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: China (2023)
Leading Individual, Hall of Fame, Band 1, China: Labor and Employment, Foreign Firms, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2011–2022)
Recommended, Regulatory/Compliance: Foreign Firms, China, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2021)
Ranked, Corporate Investigations/Anti-Corruption (International Firms), Chambers Greater China Region (2023)
Ranked, Employment: PRC Law (International Firms), Chambers Greater China Region (2023)
Ranked, Corporate Investigations/Anti-Corruption (International Firms), China, Chambers Global (2017–2023)
Band 1, Employment: PRC Law (International Firms), China, Chambers Asia-Pacific (2019–2021)
Ranked, Corporate Investigations/Anti-Corruption (International Firms), China, Chambers Asia-Pacific (2018–2022)
Top 100 Women in Litigation, Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific (2021, 2022)
Litigation Star, Dispute Resolution and White Collar Crime, China, Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific (2020–2023)
Ranked, Star Lawyer, Acritas (2018-2021)
The A-List, China Business Law Journal (2017–2022)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Employment, Law360 (2017, 2019)