“China’s giants can’t do business in the U.S.,” said one Beijing-based Big Law partner. “It’s ridiculous. Two of the world’s largest economies cannot seem to work it out. I don’t know how long this can go on.”

Two deals that might have once seemed promising are now stalled, thanks to U.S.-China conflicts. The scrutiny and tensions surrounding a possible forced sale of the social media platform TikTok and a potential Nasdaq listing of fast-fashion retailer Shein have left Big Law partners from both international and Chinese firms frustrated and have put their other clients on high alert, hesitant to make any moves.