Lester Ross


Partner-in-Charge, Beijing Office

Ross, Lester

As Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce – People's Republic of China (AmCham) and Chair of its Policy Committee and Insurance Forum, 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


November 24, 2015

WilmerHale Partner Lester Ross Receives AmCham China Pioneer Award

Lester Ross, partner-in-charge of WilmerHale’s Beijing office, was one of two attorneys given the China Pioneer Award by the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (AmCham China).

October 22, 2015

China Sets Schedule for Implementation of Negative List System for Market Access

China's State Council on October 19, 2015 published the Opinions on Implementing the Negative List System for Market Access, specifying that China intends to implement a unified national negative list system for market access in 2018.

January 28, 2015

MOFCOM’s Interim Rules on Restrictive Conditions for Concentrations of Undertakings

China’s Ministry of Commerce on December 17, 2014 issued an interpretation on its December 4 Interim Rules on Restrictive Conditions for Concentrations of Undertakings (Interim Remedy Rules) which became effective on January 5, 2015.

January 27, 2015

China’s Draft Unified Foreign Investment Law

China’s Ministry of Commerce issued the draft unified Foreign Investment Law for public comment to unify legislation on foreign-invested enterprise.

January 6, 2015

US-China Trade and Investment: 2014 JCCT Yields Significant Market Access Commitments by China

The 25th US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT)—an annual, high-level economic summit—took place December 16-17, 2014 in Chicago, with US and joint China-US “Fact Sheets” released afterwards listing China’s commitments

November 24, 2014

US and China Agree to Reduce Tariffs and Expand High-Tech Trade Through the Information Technology Agreement

The United States and China last week announced a breakthrough bilateral understanding regarding negotiations to expand the scope of the Information Technology Agreement.

September 4, 2014

Provisional Rules on Enterprise Information Disclosure and Their Implications

China's State Council approved the Provisional Rules on Enterprise Information Disclosure (企业信息公示暂行条例) (the Disclosure Rules) on July 23, 2014, which take effect on October 1, 2014.

April 21, 2014

MOFCOM to Publicize Administrative Penalties for Illegal Implementation of Concentrations

To increase the incentives for compliance in the name of transparency of law enforcement, China’s Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) has decided to publicize its decisions to penalize companies which fail to notify concentrations that meet the regulatory thresholds for notifications under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (the “AML”).

April 4, 2014

Reforms to China's Company Registration Law

Both the amended Company Law and the amended Registration Regulations took effect on March 1, 2014. These reforms create a simplified and more capital-efficient registration system with respect to registered capital and regulatory requirements for companies in China.

March 28, 2014

SAIC Announces Beginning of Revision Process to Anti-Unfair Competition Law

China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has announced that it has formally begun the task of revising the Anti-Unfair Competition Law (AUCL). SAIC's Anti-Monopoly and Anti-Unfair Competition Enforcement Bureau held the first revision session in Beijing on February 28.

Professional Activities

Mr. Ross is Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors and former General Counsel of the American Chamber of Commerce – People's Republic of China and former chair of the Board of Advisors of the International Montessori School of Beijing.

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)