David Lyman

Chairman & Chief Values Officer
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T: +66 2056 5597
F: +66 2056 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
November 15, 2017

Asialaw Profiles 2018: Tilleke & Gibbins Leads Rankings in Thailand

Regional law firm Tilleke & Gibbins has again distinguished itself as the dominant domestic law firm in Thailand in Asialaw Profiles 2018, a guide to the top domestic and regional firms in the...

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September 14, 2017

David Lyman Speaks at DNP and USAID Event to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

David Lyman

On September 14, David Lyman, chairman and chief values officer at Tilleke & Gibbins, gave a speech at the 4th Regional Dialogue on Combating Trafficking of Wild Fauna and Flora, organized by the...

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May 8, 2017

Tilleke & Gibbins to Host 2017 SCG Legal International Meeting in Bangkok

David Lyman, Somboon Earterasarun, Michelle Ray-Jones, Suebsiri Taweepon, Michael Ramirez, John Frangos

Tilleke & Gibbins, the only Thailand member of SCG Legal, a legal network comprised of over 148 independent law firms in 82 countries, will be hosting the 2017 SCG Legal International Meeting...

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March 14, 2017

Tilleke & Gibbins Joins Thai Business Community in Pledging to Protect Wildlife and End Illegal Trade in Wildlife Products

David Lyman

On the occasion of Thai National Elephant Day on March 13, David Lyman, Chairman and Chief Values Officer of Tilleke & Gibbins, joined 14 top local business leaders in signing a pledge to oppose...

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February 1, 2017

David Lyman Discusses Anti-Corruption with Nikkei Asian Review

David Lyman

David Lyman, Tilleke & Gibbins’ Chairman and Chief Values Officer, was quoted in an article by Nikkei Asian Review, titled “Thailand faces uphill battle on anti-corruption campaign.” Referencing...

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Datesort icon Title
August 31, 2017

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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May 31, 2017

Lyman's Laws for Lawyers (and everybody else, too!)

David Lyman

The 105 Lyman's Laws for Lawyers (LLL) of Tilleke & Gibbins (and for everyone else, too) which follow, my substantially revised, expanded and updated 2006 edition, are nothing more than courses...

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May 5, 2017

Lex Mundi Guide to Doing Business in Thailand 2017

As part of its membership in Lex Mundi, Tilleke & Gibbins has published an updated edition of its Guide to Doing Business in Thailand for 2017.This guide offers a broad introduction to all of the...

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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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