Monday, May 14, 2018
Law student D'Arcy White receives a law firm hat from alumnus Dr. Scott Guan in front of the doors to the Jackman Law Building

See you soon in Shanghai: alumnus Dr. Scott Guan gives law student D'Arcy White a ballcap from Zhong Lun Law Firm, where D'Arcy will soon start his internship. 


Story and photo by Lucianna Ciccocioppo


A new international business law internship at the Faculty of Law, generously funded by alumnus Dr. Scott Guan, SJD 2003, is sending JD law student D’Arcy White to Shanghai this spring.

This is the inaugural year for the Dr. Scott Guan China Law Practice Award, and he hopes it expands over the years.

“People come from different cultures, but the more you meet with them and work with them and become friends, you learn, ultimately, there’s the same common sense,” explained Guan. “Based on my own experiences, I found it very important for young professionals to have international experience and to comprehend this ‘international common sense’ at an early stage of their career. With the enthusiastic support of Dean Edward Iacobucci and Vice President David Palmer, I am delighted that this scholarship can be put into place at the law school.”

The Shanghai-born Guan lived and studied in China and Canada, and also worked in Shanghai, Toronto and Hong Kong. He is chair of the mergers and acquisitions practice at his firm, Zhong Lun Law Firm, a leading Chinese red circle firm with clients around the globe.

Based on my own experiences, I found it very important for young professionals to have international experience and to comprehend this ‘international common sense’ at an early stage of their career. 

For D’Arcy White, the good news email about receiving the award arrived during a first-year law class.

“Luckily the email arrived near the end of the lecture, as I certainly had trouble focusing for the remainder! My mind was racing about the new opportunity I had been offered for personal development and adventure. I couldn’t wait to let friends and family share in my excitement.”

The four-week internship includes a place to stay in a condo funded by the scholarship in Shanghai, with an extra week at the start and finish of the internship, to adjust to jet lag and allow for sight-seeing and travelling. Experiencing China’s natural and cultural beauty is encouraged, said Guan.

White will work under Dr. Guan’s supervision and as part of a team to learn about the Chinese legal system, business law and transaction practice; he will also write memos and work with lawyers on drafting and editing legal documents in English.

“Gradually,” said Guan, “he will get involved with appropriate client and legal work, such as legal research and analysis, and will be asked to review and make comments on draft contracts as a young legal professional.”

Said White: “I think the internship will be an excellent opportunity to expand my horizons, both professionally and personally. I am confident that the opportunity to make contributions at one of China’s top law firms will come with a variety of lessons in international business practices, preparing me for cross-border work in the future. Given the magnitude of Chinese outbound M&A and China’s continued economic rise, the importance of such exposure is only going to grow. It is my hope that the connections and experiences from Shanghai will give me the tools to be at the forefront of this progression.”

Fifteen years after he graduated, Guan still speaks fondly about his doctoral day—and this country.

“Personally, I owe a lot to the law school and to Canada. I was warmly received by Canadian society, at Osgoode Hall Law School, where I did my LLM, and here at U of T, where I completed my SJD on a full scholarship, which was very important to me financially. When I was a student here at the Faculty of Law, I received tremendous support from my mentors Professor Hudson Janisch and Professor Michael Trebilcock.”

He still has friends from his associate days at Blakes in Toronto, where he worked part time during his SJD studies. “I learned a lot as a law student and as an associate at Blakes, and I made many friends. I am very grateful, and never really strayed far from the law school.” His wife and son now live in Toronto. Guan commutes between Shanghai and Toronto, to manage his busy international law practice.

Guan served on the Faculty of Law Building Campaign Cabinet and co-chaired the Asia Pacific Campaign. He’s also associated with the Munk School of Global Affairs as a distinguished fellow, and was a recipient of the Arbor Award in 2007, U of T’s highest honour for volunteers and community service. Guan is a member of the International Leadership Council of the University, whose mission is to advise the University President Prof. Meric Gertler on international strategies, advance the University’s international partnerships, attract top talent, and magnify U of T’s excellence and impact around the world.

And with his vision to establish the Dr. Scott Guan China Law Practice Award, he’s paying it forward once again, for the next generation of law students, such as D’Arcy White, who is busy trying to learn a few words in Mandarin before he heads out to China.

“I look forward to experiencing a different business culture and a distinctive approach to everyday life. While I have never visited China before, I have long been fascinated by Chinese politics and the Chinese economy, having studied them during my undergraduate degree. I can hardly wait to experience Shanghai with its brilliant lights and rich history—not to mention the opportunity to travel deeper into China afterwards and experience its beauty.”