Additional training is being offered to lawyers specializing in cross-border lawsuits to expand their presence in an area dominated by foreign competitors.
Ninety-nine top lawyers from across the country are attending a 15-day special training workshop on cross-border lawsuits at the Tsinghua University School of Law, said Zhang Xuebing, deputy director of the All China Lawyers Association.
The training is supported by the Justice and Finance ministries.
During the training, leading domestic law experts will teach courses on such subjects as overseas investment, multinational mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property protection, anti-corruption and overseas law relating to development banks joining the One Belt, One Road initiative.
Partners from foreign law firms will analyze typical cases and share practical experience with their Chinese counterparts about how they have handled transnational litigation.
According to He Yong, deputy general secretary of the Chinese lawyers’ association, many national enterprises have looked abroad in recent years for multinational mergers and acquisitions — the result of global economic integration — so it’s inevitable that the number of cross-border lawsuits would rise sharply.
For example, some developed countries might engage in trade protectionism by creating trade barriers and making accusations of dumping and subsidies by developing countries, he said.
Ministry of Justice data show that, since 2011, China has been the target of such allegations in more than 300 cases, the most of any country. The amount of money involved reached 341 billion yuan ($55 billion).
According to the association, there are more than 270,000 professional lawyers in about 20,000 law firms in China. About 30,000 lawyers deal with transnational litigation.
China’s transnational law services have developed rapidly and have been playing an active role in attracting foreign enterprises to invest in the country, as well as helping Chinese companies engage in mergers and acquisitions abroad, Zhang said.
“But there is a lack of senior Chinese lawyers who specialize in cases involving foreign entities, especially for high-end transnational lawsuits. US and European lawyers have monopolized 80 percent of such cases,” he said.
He Yong said the 99 lawyers attending the workshop at Tsinghua were recommended by provincial lawyers associations. They will take an examination after the training, and some will been chosen to go to law schools and large law firms in the US to study as interns for several weeks.
The training program was launched in 2013. In its first year, the association organized two special trainings for 195 lawyers nationwide. Eighty-four of them were chosen to go to Europe to study and work in local colleges and law firms to accumulate more experience.
Xu Jiansheng, a lawyer at Xiamen Shili Law Firm in Fujian province, said that “it’s more than necessary to offer such a special training to help us broaden our horizons and improve our professional capabilities”.