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RT @danharris: A bibliograhy of recent articles/posts on China VIEs. http://t.co/LysoV5JL9O http://t.co/CHihPSRjTx

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RT @dtiffroberts: Chinese Mother Struggles To Find Someone to Bribe for Daughter's Schooling http://t.co/qEzHGXGWM0 Xi's anti-graft campaig…

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Legislation roundup: Foreign Investment Law, corporate bonds and overseas listing: http://t.co/hkRWG2pSZ8

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Growth and Change: The Diverse Challenges Facing Chinese Law Firms

A look into the challenges PRC lawyers are facing amidst the continuous economic reforms in China.

Issue: June 2004

Keywords (click to search): commercial law firms Chinese law firms foreign investment legal profession PRC law firms FDI foreign direct investment legal advisory work for FDI China Banking Regulatory Commission

By Arjun Subrahmanyan

As in other professions, the role of lawyers (and attitudes about the role of law) in a fast-changing China are in flux. At the beginning of the reform period in 1979, it is estimated there were about 200 lawyers in all of China; by 1987 there were an estimated 450. Until 1989, all Chinese law firms were state-owned. Today, by most estimates there are at least 10,000 domestic law firms and 110,000 lawyers registered in the PRC. Also, today almost all commercially significant Chinese law firms in the fast-growing coastal cities are privately owned and managed. Detailed contracts and sophisticated legal opinions are staples of private party transactions.

Looking at the Elites

The numbers of law firms and lawyers are impressive and misleading at the same time. Given the fact that lawyers were once classed among the worst type of "stinking intellectuals" in China, enormous...


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