David Lyman

Chairman & Chief Values Officer
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T: +66 2653 5597
F: +66 2653 5678

Practices

Office

Language

English

Education

Diploma, Parker School of Foreign & Comparative Law, Columbia University

JD, Hastings College of the Law, University of California

BSEE, Duke University

An icon of the Thailand legal market, David Lyman represents a diverse client base in landmark cases and high-stakes matters. David provides straightforward, practical advice to multinational corporations and SMEs on foreign direct investment, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and anti-corruption issues. Also known as an innovative thinker, David is widely regarded as the go-to lawyer for cases involving extraordinary facts. From representing foreign journalists accused of defamation, to setting a precedent for determining compensation in wrongful death cases, to locking horns with the Royal Thai Navy over the rights of maritime treasure hunters, to defense work in labor matters, and murder, David is first and foremost an advocate.

David’s advocacy extends beyond strictly legal matters to creating a better environment for business and a cleaner environment for future generations. As Founder, in 1975, of the then Prime Minister of Thailand’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council (now the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand), a past President and decades-long serving Governor of the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand (AMCHAM), a current Senior Advisor to AMCHAM's Board of Governors, and a current Director of the Board of the AMCHAM Thailand Charitable Foundation (a position he has held for more than a decade), David has regularly represented the interests of American and foreign investors in high-level meetings with members of the U.S. and Thai governments. A dedicated conservationist, a former submarine officer with the U.S. Navy, and one of Thailand’s first certified Scuba Divemasters, David was a founding member of the Thailand Business Council for Sustainable Development in 1996, is on the Board of the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and has served on many committees to advance environmental protection. He and his wife, Thassaneeya, own one elephant and five dogs.

David spent 15 years in the uniform of the U.S. Navy. During his first 4 years, he was a midshipman. His first ship was a minesweeper. Then, over the next 9 years, he was in the U.S. Navy Submarine Force, active and reserve. David is also an advocate on the world stage. He has held key positions at The World Economic Forum’s Davos Annual Meeting for 18 years, in the International Chamber of Commerce’s Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption since 1996, and on the Advisory Council of the International Crisis Group during 2003-2013. He also currently serves on the Board of Governors at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. He is a founder of the Thailand branch of the International Chamber of Commerce, and has served on its Board since 1999. He was a member of the original Board of Directors of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading law firm network.

An avid proponent of good business practices, David is entrusted with maintaining the firm’s high profile and stature in the community as its Chief Values Officer (CVO). Among his duties as CVO, David is responsible for keeping the human side of an organization functioning on the course of honest, wise, responsible, legal, and accountable business and professional practices. In his practice, David combines a passion for the law, with all of its political, economic, and social implications, with a deep devotion to Thailand. As a mark of his dedication, he has received the Thai Suan Luang Rama IX Commemorative Coin, presented by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in 1988, a Miniature Cartridge Pouch Pin of the First Infantry Regiment, the King’s Own Bodyguard in 2003, the “Phra Dulyathipat” Badge, awarded by the Council of the Judge Advocate General’s School in 2014; an Apostolic Blessing imparted by the Pope, His Holiness Francis, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Father Ray Children’s Home in Thailand in 2014; and an award in 2016 bestowed by Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly for devotion to help and protect abandoned animals.

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  • Advised a Hong Kong-based news magazine on a commentary that the then Thai government considered bordered on lèse majesté in the early 2000s. A settlement was achieved after the magazine, following David’s counsel, had issued an apology for “inadvertently offending Thai sensibilities.”

  • Proved that our client was innocent in the critical appeal of a criminal case. The court of first instance ruled that our client, the head of a company commissioned to tow a historical submarine from Europe to Asia, committed fraud and assessed a lengthy term of imprisonment. We zealously appealed this judgment. Our persuasive arguments led the appellate court to conclude that our client’s innocence was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Proved our client was innocent of allegations of misconduct in the U.S. military, successfully demonstrating that he was set up.

  • Led the Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand’s Law Changes Project as Project Chairman for Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun in the early 1990s. The project’s report was utilized and considered by the Thai Government in passing new laws later on.

Datesort icon Title
September 28, 2016

Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2016: Tilleke & Gibbins Named Law Firm of the Year in Thailand

Placing our firm at the top of the legal market, Tilleke & Gibbins has received the “National Law Firm of the Year – Thailand” award at the Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2016,...

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September 6, 2016

Seminar to Exchange Information on Corruption Prevention and Corruption Suppression

David Lyman, John Frangos

David Lyman, chairman and chief values officer, and John Frangos, consultant, in Tilleke & Gibbins, will participate in a panel discussion on “Corruption Prevention and Suppression of Corruption...

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March 15, 2016

AMCHAM Thailand: A Look Back at 60 Years of History

David Lyman

In honor of AMCHAM’s 60th anniversary, David Lyman, chairman and chief values officer at Tilleke & Gibbins, will speak on AMCHAM’s decades of presence and work in Thailand through records,...

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September 28, 2015

Tilleke & Gibbins Named Domestic Law Firm of the Year at TrustLaw Awards

Based on our “effort and enthusiasm in supporting pro bono clients over the last year,” Tilleke & Gibbins has been named the “2015 Domestic Law Firm of the Year” at this year’s TrustLaw Awards....

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July 29, 2015

David Lyman to Join Panel Discussion on US-Thai Relations at FCCT Event

David Lyman

Thailand and the United States have historically remained staunch allies throughout tumultuous bouts of conflict, colonialism, and communism. This relationship dates back to as far as the 1920s, when...

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Datesort icon Title
August 16, 2016

AMCHAM Thailand: Tales from Its Unrecorded History

David Lyman

The following is an abbreviated version of the speech on AMCHAM’s unrecorded history delivered by David Lyman at the Monthly Luncheon on March 24 at the Dusit Thani Hotel. The Assignment Being the...

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January 15, 2016

Lex Mundi Guide to Doing Business in Thailand 2016

The Guide to Doing Business in Thailand, published by Tilleke & Gibbins in association with Lex Mundi, provides a comprehensive overview of the legal and business environment for investors...

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August 10, 2015

Opinion: Quit Moaning and Fix Thailand’s Problems

David Lyman

Below is an excerpt from a talk recently given by David Lyman, Chairman & Chief Values Officer at Tilleke & Gibbins, at an event organized by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. This...

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January 7, 2015

Lex Mundi Guide to Doing Business in Thailand 2015

Tilleke & Gibbins, in association with Lex Mundi, has published the latest edition of the Guide to Doing Business in Thailand. The guide provides a comprehensive overview of the legal and...

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May 14, 2014

Thailand Legal Basics

Thailand Legal Basics, a valuable primer for foreign investors, explores all aspects of living and doing business in Thailand. Written by Tilleke & Gibbins, the book begins with an overview of...

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