Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wilmette resident awarded 2014 DePauw University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

DePauw University awards Edward Lehman, resident in mainland China for the past 27+ consecutive years, with the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for Management and Entrepreneurship.

The award is presented each year to one alumni by the DePauw University Alumni Association in conjunction with the McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship. The McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship is named for Robert C. McDermond the 1931 graduate of DePauw who endowed the Center and its prestigious Management Fellows Program in 1980.

Edward Lehman, a 1982 graduate of DePauw, and after his graduation from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago in 1986, was the first foreign lawyer to work at a mainland Chinese law firm in the history of the People's Republic of China. He is the first foreign lawyer to be a founding member of one of China's first private law firms. He holds the "dubious distinction" of being the longest serving Managing Director of a mainland Chinese law firm (22+ consecutive years).

Additionally, Mr. Lehman is the first foreign lawyer admitted by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Mongolia, and founded the first private law firm in Mongolia's capital Ulaan Batar. Mr. Lehman also founded and manages an accounting firm in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Mongolia. He also founded and manages a mainland based investment firm, LehmanBush with the son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush (41) and older brother of former President George W. Bush (43), businessman Neil Mallon Bush with offices in mainland china, Hong Kong and Mongolia.

In 2014, the China Better Business Bureau, promoting high standards in business practices in China, has appointed him as General Counsel. In 2002, Mr Lehman was appointed legal analyst and commentator to China Central Television (CCTV News) and has appeared frequently on news segments including Dialogue, and Voices & Votes for the past 12 years. In his role as legal commentator Mr. Lehman explains Chinese laws, regulations, administrative circulars and policies. Each year when the China National People's Congress (NPC) meets in March, Mr. Lehman is asked to comment on new legislation before China’s law making body.

DePauw University was founded in 1837 by the Methodist Church. The university was established in the frontier village of Greencastle Indiana after the enterprising community worked diligently to raise $25,000 to support the university’s establishment. During his time there, Mr. Lehman was active and involved in the university and its extracurricular activities.

While attending DePauw he was President of the Student Senate, Treasurer of the Inter-Fraternity Council, a four year letterman in Track & Field, a member of the Academic Council, and a member/resident of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. Mr. Lehman is proud of these experiences and for his degree earned at DePauw University, and has continued to value to the outstanding liberal arts based education and lifelong friendships developed in his time at DePauw.

One those friends, resident in China for the past 5 years, is fellow DePauw University Alumni, Luis R. Davila '81 (whose wife is Deborah White Davila '82). Mr. Davila was also honored with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for management and Entrepreneurship in 2005 for his role as President of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company for the Asia Pacific Region.

Mr. Lehman is proud to honor the enterprising spirit the Greencastle community and generations of DePauw students, through his work as an American Attorney working within the developing Chinese and Mongolian legal systems. Mr. Lehman aided in the establishment of Lehman, Lee & Xu, along with three Chinese partners, in 1992 as one of the first private law firms established in mainland China and since then has served as the firm’s Managing Director.

Today the firm has 7 offices throughout China and in Mongolia, in addition to a network of associated offices throughout China. Mr. Lehman has personally advised many major global corporations in their establishment and corporate governance of their China operations. The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for Management and Entrepreneurship was established to demonstrate the strength of the DePauw experience by recognizing the success of graduates.

Mr. Lehman is humbled to be in the company of recent winners of the award: Robert S. Apatoff '80 Awarded: 2012 Robert R. Carpenter '78 Awarded: 2011 Kathy Patterson Vrabeck '85 Awarded: 2010 Mark Emkes '75 Awarded: 2009 Angela Hicks Bowman '95 Awarded: 2007 Janet Risi '81 Awarded: 2006 Luis R. Davila '81 Awarded: 2005 Tim Solso '69 Awarded: 2004 Over his 27+ consecutive years "on the ground" in mainland China Mr. Lehman has been a witness to many changes, “mostly for the better.” He has blazed an important trail within the legal profession in China through the introduction of modern law firm management practices. He has made many mistakes, learned lessons, and seen clients do the same, but he stays focused on the successes he has brought to his clients throughout his life's work building a legal practice in China.

Mr. Lehman is proud of his Illinois, origins and his longtime residency in Wilmette, Illinois where he attended the Loyola Academy. He graduated in 1978 yet was admitted to the Loyola Academy hall of Fame and continues to hold track records to this date. Mr. Lehman is excited to return to Illinois and DePauw University after an absence of 32 years. He is especially looking forward to share with DePauw students and faculty the lessons he has learned as a entrepreneur, lawyer, and legal manager during his tenure as a witness to the greatest economic transformation in the history of the world: the People's Republic of China.

Today, Mr. Lehman’s law firm, LEHMAN, LEE & XU has seven offices throughout China, two branch offices in Hong Kong and Macau with more than 250 lawyers, patent and trademark attorneys and legal assistants providing a full range of legal services to meet the diverse need of clients worldwide.

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