Paralegals in China?

Yes, but foreign law firms practicing there are now facing problems:

"Mainland legal groups are urging the government to crackdown on foreign law firms that exceed their legal operating authority by practicing Chinese law, which could lead to the sanctioning and closing of some foreign law offices, or even the voiding of business and legal transactions, a legal expert told Interfax.

"A memorandum published by the Shanghai Bar Association accuses foreign law firms of engaging in illegal activities that constitute ‘severe’ threats to ‘the justice and economic safety of China’ such as providing Chinese legal services, hiring Chinese lawyers and tax evasion.

"’My understanding is that it’s bad enough that some [foreign law] firms could be shut down,’ Steve Dickinson, a lawyer with Harris & Moure, who made the memorandum public on his website, China Law Blog, said.

"The most worrisome allegation made in the memorandum is foreign firms hiring Chinese-licensed lawyers and using legal assistants to provide legal services, such as drafting and interpreting contracts, project investigation, or providing interpretations and opinions of Chinese laws.

"Many legal documents, such as opinions on how Chinese law applies to a transaction, can only be rendered by a Chinese attorney, which foreign law firms are prohibited from employing."

Follow up from China Law Blog: "[H]ere is the link to our original blog post on this issue. This post links to the original Shanghai Bar Association memo, in Chinese, and to the English language translation." http://www.chinalawblog.com/chinalawblog/2006/05/chinas_foreign_.html

4 Replies to “Paralegals in China?”

  1. There are indeed more than a few U.S. firms in China. I selected MoFo because it specifically mentioned its paralegals:

    “Our members of staff include highly trained bi-lingual legal assistants, translators and secretaries….”

    BTW, I’ve added your direct Shanghai Bar Association memo link to the original TER post — thanks for the pointer.

    Dana Graves
    The Estrin Report editor

  2. Just curious. Here’s the thing about that though. I’m guessing the “highly trained bi-lingual legal assistants” are exactly what the memo complains about. These “legal assistants” may very well be top of the class Chinese law school graduates who can get paid more without a license at MoFo than with one at a Chinese law firm.

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