Lester Ross


Partner-in-Charge, Beijing Office

Ross, Lester

As former Vice Chair of the Board of Governors, former General Counsel and current Chair of the Policy Committee and of the Insurance Forum of the American Chamber of Commerce – People's Republic of China (AmCham), Les Ross is a longstanding leader of the American business and legal communities in China and in frequent contact with government officials and other stakeholders.

Mr. Ross concentrates his practice on mergers and acquisitions and regulatory matters and has experience in a broad range of industries. He has represented both foreign and local companies and has particular experience advising foreign companies on competition law and regulatory compliance in China.


Mr. Ross represents foreign companies in their strategic expansion in China through direct investments and mergers and acquisitions in industries ranging alphabetically from agriculture to water services. He also has extensive experience representing foreign banks and corporations, including Chinese entities, in their strategic expansion in the United States, particularly focusing on M&A and regulatory clearances and compliance. He has also represented clients in trade, dispute resolution and regulatory matters in China.


Mr. Ross is the author of Environmental Policy in China (Indiana University Press 1988) and co-author of Environmental Law and Policy in the People's Republic of China (Greenwood Press 1987). He has contributed chapters to Business Law in China (ICC 2009); The Limits of the Rule of Law in China (University of Washington Press 2000), Managing the Chinese Environment (Oxford University Press 2000), China Joins the World: Progress and Prospects (Council on Foreign Relations Press 1999), Taiwan and International Trade and Investment (Oxford University Press 1994), Doing Business in China (Juris Publishing binder), Government Policies and the Misuses of Forest Resources (Cambridge University Press 1988), Policy Implementation in China (University of California Press 1987) and other books on Chinese law and business. He has written articles in such periodicals as The China Quarterly, University of British Columbia Law Review, Antitrust, China Law & Practice, International Financial Law Review, International Trade Law and Regulation, International Tax & Business Lawyer, Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, East Asian Executive Reports, Environment and Comparative Political Studies.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized in Chambers Asia Pacific annually since 2009 for the practice of Corporate/M&A: China-based (International Firms).
  • Listed as a leader in China for the practice of Corporate/M&A annually since 2008 in Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers.
  • Selected as one of Asia's top business lawyers in each edition of AsiaLaw Leading Lawyers since 2004. He is recognized in a variety of areas including capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and project finance.
  • Recognized by his peers as one of the world's leading emerging markets practitioners for his work in environmental law in Legal Media Group's The Best of the Best.
  • Received the 2015 China Pioneer Award from the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (AmCham China), which honors corporate leaders who made early and significant contributions to economic expansion and the business environment across China. 

Publications & News


March 14, 2018

Chinese Government Reorganization

Attention during China's annual lianghui focused on adoption of the constitutional amendment to eliminate term limits on the offices of President and Vice President, allowing President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely.

December 20, 2017

Policies and Regulations to Be Made Consistent With Anti-Monopoly Law

When China enacted its Anti-Monopoly Law in 2007, some called it “China's Economic Constitution,” anticipating that it would serve as the statutory basis for fundamental market-based reform of China's economy.

November 30, 2017

WilmerHale Represents AM General in Commercial Plant Acquisition by SF Motors

WilmerHale client AM General has sold its commercial assembly plant in Mishawaka, Indiana to SF Motors, an electric vehicle clean mobility company.

October 31, 2017

Competition Impact Review to Be Required for All New Chinese Regulations

China's three Anti-Monopoly Law enforcement agencies—the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Commerce, and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce—together with the Ministry of Finance and the State Council Legislative Affairs Office, on October 26 jointly published the Rules on Implementation of the Fair Competition Review System (for temporary effect) (Fa Gai Jia Jian [2017] No. 1849).

October 24, 2017

China's 19th National Party Congress

Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping opened the Party's quinquennial 19th National Congress on October 18 with a clearly delivered, 86-page, three-and-a-half-hour report.

September 1, 2017

New Policies on China's Overseas Investments

The Opinions divide China's outbound investments by sector into “encouraged,” “restricted” and “prohibited” categories, providing a clearer and more authoritative regulatory framework for regulation of overseas investments by Chinese companies. This WilmerHale Client Alert was also published in Law360 on September 12, 2017.

August 22, 2017

China's State Council Announces Promotion of Foreign Investment Growth

On August 8, China's State Council published the Notice on Promotion of Foreign Investment Growth (Guo Fa [2017] No. 39).

June 21, 2017

China Relaxes Some Restrictions on Foreign Investment in China's Pilot Free Trade Zones

The General Office of China's State Council posted on June 16 the Special Measures on the Administration of Entry by Foreign Investment in Pilot Free Trade Zones.

June 8, 2017

Cross-Border Data Flows Security Assessments in China

China has issued for public comment draft standard-like guidelines to govern cross-border data flows to further implement China's heightened concern over national security and cybersecurity, as embodied in the National Security Law (2015), Cybersecurity Law (effective June 1, 2017) and related laws and regulations.

March 14, 2017

NDRC’s Briefing Meeting on Increased Openness to Foreign Investment

Deputy Director General Liu Hongkuan and senior officer Guo Rui briefed USCBC members on the Notice on Several Measures on Increasing Openness to Foreign Investment and Active Use of Foreign Investment, published by the State Council on January 17, 2017.

Professional Activities

As former Vice Chair of the Board of Governors, former General Counsel and current Chair of the Policy Committee and of the Insurance Forum of the American Chamber of Commerce – People's Republic of China (AmCham), Les Ross is a longstanding leader of the American business and legal communities in China and in frequent contact with government officials and other stakeholders.

Fluent in Mandarin, Mr. Ross has been a visiting scholar at the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences in Beijing and studied Chinese at Taiwan National University. He has conducted field work in China under the sponsorship of the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China of the National Academy of Sciences.


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JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1990

PhD, Political Science, University of Michigan, 1980

MA, University of Michigan, 1972

Bar Admissions


New York


Chinese (Mandarin)

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