Jonathan Bench, Attorney

Jonathan Bench

Jonathan is chair of Harris Bricken’s corporate practice group and managing attorney of the firm’s Salt Lake City office, where he helps public and private companies with international and domestic business transactions. His clientele includes companies from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. Jonathan has worked and consulted in the U.S., Asia, and South America and is fluent in Chinese and Cantonese.

National and global trade organizations regularly invite Jonathan to speak regarding international business transactions, particularly foreign direct investment to and from the U.S. and China. He is also on the board of directors for World Trade Center Utah.

Jonathan is also an emerging legal expert in the fast-moving and complex Web3 ecosystem, including decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), decentralized finance (defi), cryptocurrencies, coins and tokens, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and smart contracts. He has worked on wide-ranging blockchain projects involving DAO communities, NFT artists and studios, blockchain developers, metaverse companies, and celebrity brand influencers.

He is a regular contributor to the award-winning China Law Blog, where he shares his practical insights into navigating business activities in China and with Chinese companies. He also frequently writes for our HB Blog on global business matters and blockchain.

Jonathan 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 pragmatic legal guidance while ensuring his legal strategy underpins, not undermines, the transaction and the company’s larger strategic goals.

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

What clients have to say about Jonathan

“Harris Bricken 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 Bricken if we ever have any more legal issues in the future.”

– Diarq Holdings

“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 Bricken 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 Bricken also has connected me with other quality professionals for my business needs. Everyone I worked with at Harris Bricken 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 Bricken 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 Bricken 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 Bricken 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 Bricken 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 Bricken to any companies in need of legal advice.”

– Three Continents Foods LLC 

“Extremely professional, friendly, and fast. My company has retained Harris Bricken 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

More About Jonathan

A Lawyer’s Perspective on Web3 and Blockchain. HLB North American Advisory, Tax & Audit Conference. San Diego, CA. December 1, 2022.

Best Legal Practices in International M&A. HLB North American Advisory, Tax & Audit Conference. San Diego, CA. December 1, 2022.

What to Expect from China in the Next Five Years, GGI World Conference, Montreal, October 22, 2022.

Blockchain Legal Trends: DAOs and Ethereum 2.0, GGI World Conference, Montreal, October 21, 2022.

Leaving China for India or Mexico, Oklahoma World Trade Conference, Oklahoma State University, October 20, 2022.

What’s a WY DAO LLC? Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, MyLawCLE, October 6, 2022.

What Lawyers Should Know About Developing A Cannabis Practice, Utah State Bar, September 22, 2022.

Blockchain & National Security Around the BRICS, Blockchain and Beyond: National Security Symposium, Naval Postgraduate School, Graduate School of International and Defense Studies, September 12, 2022.

Difficult International Deals and Jurisdictions: Cannabis, Blockchain, U.S., and China. International Business Law Consortium. Mexico City. September 9, 2022.

China’s Approach to Emerging Technologies and Strategies, Naval Postgraduate School, Graduate School of International and Defense Studies, July 19, 2022.

Counseling Your First Cannabis Client: Marijuana vs. Hemp, State vs. Feds, and Other Key Issues, Washington State Bar Association, June 30, 2022.

Practical Ways of Dealing with China Decoupling from the West, GGI North American Regional Conference, June 25, 2022.

Metaverse Law – Regulating the Virtual World, GGI North American Regional Conference, June 24, 2022.

Structuring International Contracts: Choice of Law, Jurisdiction, Language, Arbitration Clauses, Terms of Art, Strafford, June 22, 2022.

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations: Using Blockchain and Smart Contracts Instead of Organizational Documents, Strafford, June 16, 2022.

Trade Winds & Viable Alternatives to China, China Challenge Summit, June 9, 2022.

Leasing to a Cannabis-Related Business: Banking, Permitting, Zoning, Rent, Indemnification, and Insurance, Strafford, June 7, 2022.

Global Trends in Psychedelic and Cannabis Law, Washington State Bar Association, International Practice Section Spring Event, June 1, 2022.

The Impact of Cannabis and Web3 Crossover: NFTs, DAOs, and Tokens, MyLawCLE, May 27, 2022.

Web3 Developments from Utah to the World, World Trade Center Utah, May 13, 2022.

Web3, Decentralization and DAOs: A View from India, eSamudaay webinar, May 12, 2022.

The Impact of Cannabis NFTs and Web3 Crossover, MyLawCLE, April 22, 2022.

China Business Q&A, Northern Utah County Chambers of Commerce, March 2, 2022.

The U.S. Legal Landscape for Foreign Investors, Harris Bricken webinar, January 27, 2022.

Legal Issues with Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, Harris Bricken Youtube Chat, January 28, 2022.

Doing Business in the U.S. Market, Chamber of Commerce of Madrid, Madrid, Spain, November 4, 2021.

World Trade Conference And Oklahoma Consular Trade Summit, Oklahoma State University, October 27, 2021.

CFIUS and the Global Venture Capital Funds: Trends, Updates, and Critical Issues Explored, The Knowledge Group webinar, October 7, 2021.

Retail and Multi-Family Real Estate Development for Overseas Investors, Harris Bricken webinar, August 25, 2021.

U.S. Real Estate for Overseas Investors, Harris Bricken webinar, June 30, 2021.

Doing Business in India: An Overview of Legal Considerations, WSBA webinar, July 7, 2021.

Leasing to a Cannabis-Related Business: Banking, Permitting, Zoning, Rent, Indemnification, and Insurance, Strafford, May 27, 2021.

International Business Law for Business Leaders, St. Albert’s College, Ernakulam, Kochi, Kerala, India, May 19, 2021.

High Roads: A Twitter Chat, National Underwriter Property Casualty, April 20, 2021.

Where the Money Grows: Learning the Industry Trends in Medical Cannabis, Recreational Marijuana, Hemp, and Beyond, Medical Cannabis Brief, April 20, 2021.

Actionable Advice On What U.S. Businesses Should Do About China, WTC Utah: The China Paradox Webinar Series, April 7, 2021.

How US Companies Can Take Advantage of Mexico Cannabis Legalization: Corporate, Trade, and Immigration. Cannabis Mexico Summit, March 26, 2021.

Counseling Your First Cannabis Client: Marijuana vs. Hemp, State vs. Feds, and Other Key Issues, Washington State Bar Association, February 2, 2021.

The Meandering Path to a Career in Private International Law, Brigham Young University Law School, November 11, 2020.

Regulatory Incentives in Cannabis Markets: The Competing Goals of Sin Taxes, Public Health, Elimination of Illicit Markets, and Revenue Generation, George Mason University Law School’s Symposium on the Economics and Law of Cannabis Markets, October 12, 2020.

International Legal Considerations for Business Executives, The George Washington University School of Business, October 8, 2020.

Investing in India – Business and Legal Considerations – Part 3, FAO Global, August 13, 2020.

Investing in India – Business and Legal Considerations – Part 2, FAO Global webinar, July 15, 2020.

Southeast Asia as an Alternative to China, World Trade Center Utah webinar, May 20, 2020.

Understanding CFIUS: Impacts on Chinese Investment in the United States, FAO Global Webinar, April 9, 2020.

COVID-19, Companies Making Culture Podcast, April 7, 2020.

How to Rebuild Your Asia Supply Chain, FAO Global Webinar, March 26, 2020.

Effects of COVID-19 on Doing Business with China, WTC Utah Webinar, March 19, 2020.

Trade Wars or Truce? Legalities of Doing Business with China in 2020,WTC Utah, February 5, 2020.

Intoxicles and Mug Buddy CookiesGreenlight Maine, November 18, 2018.

Key Legal Issues for Emerging Companies, Center for Entrepreneurs: TopGun, 2017, 2018.

The Maine Show, podcast guest, April 17, 2017.

Legal Fundamentals for Businesses, Small Business Bootcamp, 2017.

Governance Issues for Startups. Scratchpad Accelerator, 2015.

Co-Host of Harris Bricken’s Global Law and Business Podcast.

As Xi Secures Third Term, CCP Will Continue to Subvert International Rules at West’s Expense: Experts, The Epoch Times, October 29, 2022.

Raids on Chinese-Linked Drug Operations Put Spotlight on China’s Ambitions in US Marijuana Market, The Epoch Times, August 18, 2022.

President Biden’s Focus Shifts to China, Inside Sources Podcast, May 19, 2022.

Why did TPCO write down $654M?, Weedweek, April 7, 2022.

Hackers Are Stealing NFTs, and It’s Not As Easy as You Think, HackerNoon, March 14, 2022.

Blunt talk: A Twitter chat on commercial auto risks for cannabis businessesProperty Casualty 360, April 23, 2021.

Time To Get High On Marijuana Investing?, Insurance News Net, April 13, 2021.

Green Screen, National Underwriter Property & Casualty, April 01, 2021.

China is Ready for CBD. But Regulators Might Not Be. The Wall Street Journal: The Future of Everything Podcast, January 29, 2020.

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.

Legal Elite, Utah Business 2022 (International Law)

Rising Star, Super Lawyers 2021-2022 (International Law)

Rising Star, Super Lawyers 2015-2018 (Corporate Law)

Psychedelic Medicine Alliance of Washington – General Counsel

Accelerating Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) – Mentor

World Trade Center Utah – Board Member and MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Committee Member

Junior Achievement USA – Mentor

Certificate in Chinese IP Law, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

  • The George Washington University Law School (J.D.)
  • The George Washington University School of Business (M.B.A.)
  • Brigham Young University (B.A.)
  • Utah State Bar Association
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Maine State Bar Association
  • Chinese (Advanced)
  • Cantonese (Advanced)
  • Spanish (Basic)