A lawyer with a creative bent
Donnie is head of the Criminal Litigation Group at Lusheng Law Firm, Rouse’s associated law firm in China. He is based in Guangzhou office.
Donnie grew up in a small county about three hours’ drive from Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, in South-East China. As the only child of professional parents he was inevitably encouraged to study and be successful in life, but he wasn’t pressured to follow any particular path. His father, an engineer and businessman, might initially have hoped that his only child would follow in his footsteps, i.e. study science and become an engineer, but he was full of encouragement and quick to adapt when he saw that Donnie’s interests lay elsewhere. He even bought Donnie a harmonium to foster his musical talent and enrolled him in various art courses. But although Donnie did win some local juvenile drawing contests, it was soon clear that his future did not lie in the world of art and music. It wasn’t long before his harmonium was being used as a pedal toy and his academic interest beginning to show itself.
At school in his small hometown, Donnie was always near the top of his class. His parents and teachers were very proud of him and full of encouragement - it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would ultimately go on to university. Surprisingly, given his current fluency, he didn’t start studying English until he was in Middle School and aged about 13. He says that in this regard times have changed: now most students in China start learning English much earlier, often when they are in kindergarten.
Towards the end of his time at senior high school, Donnie gradually began developing his own view of society and began to think of studying Law. At the time, China had just joined the WTO and universities with an international focus were in great demand. Competition for places was intense. Nevertheless, Donnie decided to apply for a law course at the prestigious Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS). He did well in the entrance exam, and in 1999, not long before his 18th birthday, was offered a place in the law school.
At University, he worked hard and did well, obtaining a scholarship in three of the four years he was there. It wasn’t long before he began developing a particular interest in criminal law and procedure and by the end of third year he had decided that, when he graduated, he would apply to become a Prosecutor. University life wasn’t all study, however, and Donnie found his early artistic talent being put to use once more: he was a key member of the propaganda department of the law school student union and one of his tasks was designing and drawing student union posters.
On graduation, he obtained a Prosecutor position in Guangzhou, as he’d hoped, and for the next seven years he gained extensive experience, investigating and prosecuting a wide range of criminal matters, including matters involving bribery and corruption. Not only was the work challenging and interesting, but it was there that he met his future wife, Han Lu, who was also a Prosecutor. It was also there that he came into contact with Rouse and the world of IP and ultimately was excited by the prospect of using his criminal prosecutorial experience in the context of IP enforcement. He joined Rouse in 2010 and since then has worked on some of the major high profile cases in the field.
These days Donnie’s life is pretty much taken up with the law, but since schooldays he’s been keen on sport and particularly interested in soccer. He still plays with friends whenever he can - and despite what he says is its dismal performance to date, he’s an avid fan of China’s national team, and ever hopeful that things will improve in the future.
But time for soccer is likely to be curtailed for some time as Donnie and Han Lu now have a son, Lucas, who will be one year-old next month. Any spare time is likely to be spent with him. Donnie’s says his ambition for Lucas is that he does whatever suits him best and makes him happy, but he does have a secret wish. While his wife says she would like their son to be a doctor, Donnie says he would be very proud if he turned out to be an artist. Although Donnie’s life is currently taken up with the law, his creative bent is not far below the surface. “Perhaps”, he says, “when I retire I might start writing fiction”. But that is far in the future. In the meantime, he’s happy to put his creative talent to the service of the law – and his son’s upbringing.