Completely understands budgets.... Delivers good value, and his advice is always easy to follow and understand.
—Client quote from International Law Organization’s
Client Choice International 2014 winner’s guide

David Livdahl, Pillsbury Corporate partner and Beijing office managing partner, twice received the International Law Organization “China Corporate Lawyer of the Year” award.

Based in Beijing and Shanghai, David has three decades of experience in Asia representing European, North American and Japanese companies. He structures investments in China, advises on business operational issues and exit strategies, and negotiates cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Fluent in Mandarin and Japanese, and skilled in international alternative dispute resolution, David has served on the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission’s official arbitrator panel since 2000 and represents clients in international CIETAC arbitrations.

Representative Experience

Representing Nissan Motor Co. in an intensive series of negotiations with Dongfeng to establish the manufacturing and sales entities of the luxury Infiniti brand in China.

Advising nonprofit entities on how to operate in China.

Representing Christie Digital Systems in growing its high-end digital film projector business in the China market.

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  • American Petroleum Institute
  • Represents Caterpillar in ongoing manufacturing and technology joint ventures and technology transfers and licensing agreements in China.
  • Represents Hachette, Cummins (China) Investment Co Ltd. and Wyndham Hotels in China.
  • Represents RCI (the largest time share company in the world) and Teleperformance in China and Japan.
  • Represents Ivanhoe Pictures in Asia.
  • Represents Higa Industries (Wendy’s Japan).

Professional Highlights

Recognized by Chambers Global for Projects – Asia-Pacific & Japan in 2015; by Chambers Asia-Pacific for Corporate M&A – China (2014, 2017); and IFLR 1000 for Corporate M&A (2009 – 2010).

Recipient of the 2011, 2014 and 2018 “China Corporate Lawyer” awards from the International Law Organization.

Named Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

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  • Honors & Awards
    • Leading Lawyer in China – M&A
  • Associations
    • Has served on the official arbitrator panel of CIETAC since 2000.
    • Arbitrator for ICC arbitrations
  • Speaking Engagements and Publications
    • Published a series of articles on investing in China in the leading Japanese legal magazine, NBL.
    • Authored articles in the China Business Review, China Legal Watch, China Law & Practice and the Financial Times.


  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1977

    M.A., Columbia University, 1974

    B.A., Macalester College, 1969