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Lawyer Recruitment Chinese Style: 23,500 Lawyers Hired by State Authorities

Chinese news agency Xinhua published a news item on Sunday that makes sweet music to lawyers anywhere in the world. Only if lawyers could have read such headlines in their own countries! The news is that a senior justice official in China confirmed on Sunday that 23,500 lawyers have been hired as legal advisors as part of an effort to construct a law-based government over the past three years.

The appointments have taken place across all government levels, and as it happens in China, everything works like a well-coordinated campaign, including lawyer recruitment.

A few such campaigns by our government to construct a law-based system might have been good for the jobs market for lawyers.

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China’s Vice Minister of Justice, Zhao Dacheng made the observations during a symposium on “Lawyers Serving the Construction of a Law-based Government.

Dacheng also added that the number of recruitments account for more than 10% of total lawyers in China.

Out of the new lawyer recruitments, 14,000 have been recruited by prefecture-level government organs and agencies, 8100 were recruited by various city governments in China, and 1,300 were recruited by provincial-level governments.

The recent recruitments define a shift in the role of lawyers in that most of the lawyers used to be employed as governmental agents in litigation, but now their roles are that of advisors, and non-participatory in litigation.

The legal advisors are helping in drafting and amending government rules and regulations, other documents and negotiations on foreign-related projects, as well as helping to restructure state-owned enterprises.

The massive recruitment of legal advisors marks the seriousness with which China is treating the need to globalize its domestic market and ready it for foreign commercial interactions.

Zhou Yuansheng, the secretary general of the All China Lawyers Association said at the symposium that the legal advisors have cumulatively provided more than 510,000 consulting services over the past three years.

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