Jonathan Bench Partner

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About Jonathan

JJonathan is a Partner and Chair of the Corporate Practice Group at Harris Sliwoski, based in the firm’s Salt Lake City office. He focuses his practice on both international and domestic business transactions, assisting entrepreneurs, companies, and financial institutions, including venture capital and private equity funds. His global clientele spans Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. Jonathan has worked and consulted in the U.S., Asia, and South America, and he is fluent in Chinese and Cantonese, and getting fluent in Spanish.

He is a sought-after speaker for national and global trade and legal organizations, particularly on topics related to foreign direct investment between the U.S. and China, and strategies like friendshoring or nearshoring as alternatives to the China market.

Jonathan serves on the board of directors for World Trade Center Utah and dedicates time to mentoring entrepreneurs through various nonprofit organizations.

His blockchain experience encompasses collaborations with international DAO communities, NFT artists and studios, layer-2 blockchain developers, metaverse companies, and celebrity brand influencers. Additionally, Jonathan represents AI entrepreneurs who are developing tools and communities focused on AI applications.

Jonathan is also recognized as a legal expert in the fast-moving and complex emerging technologies ecosystem, including business and regulatory issues surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and various web3 components: decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), smart contracts, decentralized finance (DeFi), cryptocurrencies, coins, and tokens, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs). His blockchain experience encompasses collaborations with international DAO communities, NFT artists and studios, layer-2 blockchain developers, metaverse companies, and celebrity brand influencers. Jonathan also represents AI entrepreneurs who are developing tools and communities focused on AI applications.

A Businessperson Who Went To Law School

Jonathan is a regular contributor to the award-winning China Law Blog, sharing his practical insights on navigating business activities in China and with Chinese companies. He also frequently writes for the HS Blog and various legal publications, discussing global business matters, blockchain, and AI legal developments. His contributions have earned him recognition as a top author on Lexology and accolades from various industry groups as an elite lawyer.

Most recently, Jonathan was named to Utah’s Legal Elite 100 and described him as “an excellent attorney but also a thought leader in two very different industries: international business and blockchain.”

From selling homegrown raspberries to window washing services to non-emergency medical transportation services, Jonathan understands the entrepreneurial grind from the inside. He describes himself as a businessperson who went to law school rather than a lawyer who studied business. His clients value his ability to think like a business owner as he provides them with pragmatic legal guidance while ensuring that his legal strategies underpin, not undermine, his client’s larger strategic goals.

In his spare time, Jonathan is often with his wife Mary Ann and their five lively children, exploring the beautiful Utah outdoors, practicing martial arts, learning guitar, and working on getting his Spanish to be as good as his Chinese.

Contact Jonathan

Fast Facts

Education

  • The George Washington University Law School (J.D.)
  • The George Washington University School of Business (M.B.A.)
  • Brigham Young University (B.A.)

Languages

  • Chinese
  • Cantonese
  • Spanish

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Utah State Bar Association
  • Washington State Bar Association

More About Jonathan

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  • Assisted U.S. medical device company in entering China market via ecommerce.
  • Represented U.S. SAAS company in hotel industry to expand operations into China.
  • Assisted SAAS provider in entity formation, capitalization, and service level terms in its new software product for mortgage compliance in the banking industry.
  • Represented alcoholic spirits company in joint venture collaboration with prominent U.S. recording artist.
  • Negotiated and drafted collaborative contracts between an international NFT venture studio and a U.S. creator in the international music industry.
  • Acted as general outside counsel for web3 founder in NFT gaming developer software project with 44,000 users.
  • Represented U.S. private equity group in foreign due diligence across six jurisdictions in an $80MM acquisition.
  • Represented international protocol DAO founders, including pre-forming entities in numerous global jurisdictions for sub-DAO use.
  • Acted as general counsel to Israeli-led healthcare and technology digital asset (blockchain) venture capital fund.
  • Assisted founders in web3 venture involving translating traditional artwork into NFTs and auctioning NFTs with Sotheby’s Auction House.
  • Negotiated and drafted collaborative contracts between an NFT venture studio and a creator in the international music industry.
  • Represented a minority investor in joining ownership group of a prominent national sports team.
  • Assisted Japanese owned direct sales company in entering the Chinese market.
  • Represented Russian owned direct sales company in entering the U.S. market.
  • Represented buyer and seller groups in cross-border PPE (personal protective equipment) transactions exceeding $3.5 billion.
  • Represented $50MM international venture capital fund on secured debt investment in cannabis real estate.
  • Represented public Canadian company in $100MM foreign direct investment in U.S. multi-state cannabis operations.
  • Represented public Chinese company in $3MM acquisition of U.S. technology company.
  • Represented Australian-owned aviation MRO company in international contracting with European suppliers and customers.
  • Counseled multiple U.S. companies with China employment matters in Chinese representative offices.
  • Represented many U.S. issuers in private equity and debt securities issuances under Reg D, including those involving international investors.
  • Represented U.S. manufacturer in joint venture negotiations with Taiwanese corporation.
  • Represented Taiwanese-owned fruit orchard partners in partnership dispute.
  • Counseled Ethiopian-backed U.S. coffee import company with investor relations.
  • Represented U.S. drone software company in export control and licensing issues relating to European imports.
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  • 2024 Legal Elite 100, Utah Business (Corporate and International Law)
  • Legal Elite, Utah Business, 2022 (International Law)
  • Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2021-2022 (International Law)
  • Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2015-2018 (Corporate Law)
  • Certificate in Chinese IP Law, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

What clients have to say about Jonathan

Harris Sliwoski has been our first call in the legal industry for a long time now. Jonathan Bench and Fred Rocafort are always able to answer questions and resolve issues and are real experts in international business transactions and intellectual property law. They have developed smart and efficient strategies for our company that have brought great results. I would not hesitate to recommend this law firm to anyone doing international business.

– Rian Berry, Vice President of Product and Sourcing | Empire Managed Solutions LLC

Jonathan Bench was a huge help as we went through a complex investment strategy. He was there every step of the way and clearly explained what our next steps would be. We felt our interests represented by a best-in-class attorney when negotiations had such a short time frame for execution. We will be sure to reach out to him and the team at Harris Sliwoski if we ever have any more legal issues in the future.

– Diarq Holdings

Jonathan was a huge help as our company went through the process of determining the best structure for engaging with prospective business partners in China. He took the time to understand our objectives and priorities and clearly explained what our next steps should be, which is not easy when you’re considering doing business in China for the first time. With Jonathan’s help, we were able to reach agreement on a business deal that we had been working on for over a year. We will be sure to reach out to Jonathan on any legal issues we encounter in China in the future.

– Jeff Glenzer, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer | Association for Financial Professionals

I am impressed with this law firm! Jonathan Bench answered all my questions regarding international trade and international contracting and had additional helpful input about how to structure my business relationships to be most beneficial to my company. Harris Sliwoski also has connected me with other quality professionals for my business needs. Everyone I worked with at Harris Sliwoski is an expert in their field, and I was in good hands throughout my initial legal representation. And I trust them with my current portfolio of international projects.

– Acor Foods

Jonathan Bench was a huge help as our company went through the process of developing new business channels. He answered all our questions regarding entity formation and corporate contracts. Harris Sliwoski has helped us with a variety of legal issues in a timely fashion, while always clearly communicating with us throughout the process. They also redirected us to other quality people for my business needs. Everyone we worked with at Harris Sliwoski is an expert in their field; we were in good hands throughout our legal representation.”

– Robert Kerr, Managing Partner and Duncan Morton, Managing Director | eQcho Capital LLC

Harris Sliwoski expertly guided us through the formation of our company.  They continue to assist with necessary registrations and compliance with numerous regulations.  They were able to promptly answer all our many questions and provide understandable options, explanations and practical advice.   We expect to continue to use Harris Sliwoski on a regular basis as our company expands.  They were also able to introduce us other professional experts.  We would not hesitate to recommend Harris Sliwoski to any companies in need of legal advice.

– Three Continents Foods LLC

Extremely professional, friendly, and fast. My company has retained Harris Sliwoski since November 2020 and we will continue to use their services for the foreseeable future. I would recommend them to friends and family.

– Haven Barlow | The Argonaut Trading Company LLC

Proven Expertise for Challenging Legal Issues

Find Jonathan Recently Featured In...

KSL Radio

China Economy Drop

Jonathan Bench on KSL News Radio

“Most people thought China’s economy would rebound post-Covid, but it has largely stagnated. Utah has a solid business relationship with China, but manufacturers continue to look for nearshoring options. And companies staying in China for the China market are trying to figure out how to deepen their engagement while lamenting the fact that their prior engagement with the government is not as helpful as it used to be.”

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Hackernoon logo.

SEC v Ripple: Exclusive Interview With Web 3 Attorney, Jonathan Bench

Jonathan Bench in Hackernoon

I recently sat down with Harris Bricken Attorney and web3 legal expert, Jonathan Bench, for a discussion about the controversial SEC V Ripple case. (This interview has been abridged for the ease of the readers)

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The Epoch Times logo.

Air India’s Purchase of 200 Boeing Aircraft Will Create Over a Million US Jobs: Biden

Jonathan Bench in The Epoch Times

International business law expert Jonathan Bench told The Epoch Times the deal signals that meeting its growth needs is the Indian government’s primary concern.

“Clearly the Indian government’s number one priority is continuing to provide comprehensive infrastructure to support its explosive growth in the coming decade,” said Bench.

The current deal has obvious geo-political ramifications. Bench said Asia watchers will continue to study how closely India aligns with the United States, Russia, and China on several fronts.

“From a geo-political standpoint, India cannot really afford to do without any of these countries in the near-term. It is not yet clear how much India will be willing to distance itself from Russian energy and weapons and Chinese manufacturing,” said Bench.

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The Epoch Times logo.

As Xi Secures Third Term, CCP Will Continue to Subvert International Rules at West’s Expense: Experts

Jonathan Bench in The Epoch Times

Attorney Jonathan Bench, a regular contributor to China Law Blog and the chair of Harris Sliwoski’s corporate practice group, told the Epoch Times that by talking about China opening wider to the world,  Xi is signaling that PRC can’t exist without engaging with the rest of the world despite it trying to boost it’s domestic consumption.

“Looking at the U.S. and its allies, that means dealing with head-to-head competition and making limited concessions, as China did in finally acquiescing to the PCAOB (the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board) inspectors auditing the books of public Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges,” said Bench, referring to the United States’ insistence on getting U.S.-listed Chinese companies to comply with American auditing requirements, which the firms were previously excused from.

The Chinese regime will continue to “negotiate and intimidate” while it deals with its allied countries or those saddled between the United States and China—doing this will ensure its domestic security, which largely means energy security at this point in time, according to Bench.

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Property Casualty 360 logo.

Blunt talk: A Twitter chat on commercial auto risks for cannabis businesses

Jonathan Bench in Property Casualty 360

The lack of case law in this space is the definition of risk, and no insurers want to be the first to test the waters,” said Jonathan Bench of Harris Sliwoski.

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Insurance News Net logo.

Time To Get High On Marijuana Investing?

Jonathan Bench in Insurances News Net

“This matters to cannabis companies of all types, especially those that want to utilize the available federal exemptions in their securities offerings,” according to a post from Jonathan Bench, Harris Sliwoski attorney.

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National Underwriter Property & Casualty logo.

Green Screen

Jonathan Bench in National Underwriter Property & Casualty

Insurance in the cannabis industry is big business. Business owners need to know what policies are available and what those policies cover.

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wall street journal

China is Ready for CBD. But Regulators Might Not Be.

Jonathan Bench in the Wall Street Journal Podcast

Jack Hough discusses China and CBD with international attorney Jonathan Bench.

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