Expats who have lived in China for an extended period of time are familiar with stories that speak to the country’s lawlessness. For a long time, Chinese regulations and laws can be at best murky, at worst dangerous, to not only foreign investors, but also to Chinese law experts and its citizens. China’s law sector remains to be largely domestic. However, that is set to change. In 2010, China has surpassed Japan to become the world’s second largest economy and is estimated to have the largest economy by 2020. Yet its law infrastructure still lags far behind the developed countries. Chinese lawmakers are pushing for policies to train its legal professionals to learn Western laws and negotiate with their counterparts when representing Chinese trade associations and companies. Law school has been ranked one of the most popular choices among Chinese colleges students.
- The number of law firms in China increased from 14,467 in 2008 to 16,300 in 2013. The law industry employs 252,900 people with an estimated payroll of $2.6 billion.
- The yearly avenue for the attorneys market alone in China is $8 billion in 2013 with an annual growth of 10.5 percent since 2008.
- Most popular months for internships in Law firms are January, May & August. The internship usually lasts for one to six months, with possibilities of extension where applicable.
- Shanghai presents unlimited opportunities for it hosts major domestic and international law firms. Compared to the rest of the country, residents in Shanghai are better educated and have higher personal income. The demand for legal services continues to rise as law awareness grows among residents in Shanghai.
- Law industry internships in Shanghai are rather competitive due to the large amount of Chinese applicants, some of whom speak fluent English. Your knowledge of Western law would be a big advantage when applying.
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The year of 2014 has seen an increasing number of domestic as well as international merger and acquisition activities in China. Meanwhile, international law firms are increasingly looking to expand into China and merge with Chinese firms. Moreover, with thousands of Western brands looking to expand to China, they are also looking for ways to protect their brand name in a country where pirate is rampant. Thanks to an increase in direct foreign investment into China, there is a huge business in helping foreign companies get around legal obstacles when entering China.
Domestically, people in China are gradually becoming more aware of the importance of legal services. Many of them find domestic legal services incompetent or useless. Chinese are increasingly more likely to seek out legal aids from reputable international law firms.
All these factors contributed to the law industry boom as we see in China now. The expanding industry created a large number of internships and other opportunities for young students and professionals who aspire to pursue a career in law.
Your knowledge of Chinese practice of law and how Chinese firms operate and handle their business negotiations after the internship will be of great value to American multinational companies who either have headquarters in China or do business with Chinese companies. Needless to mention, your understanding of Chinese culture and society will add highlights on your resume. A law industry internship in Shanghai will be a great way to set off your career either back home in the U.S. or in any other country!
Law firms in China provide legal services for litigation in civil, taxation, criminal, commercial, insolvency, taxation and legal aid. Due to the service-based nature of the industry, the industry wage levels are usually high. This means that you will be working with law professionals who are generally well educated and contribute to a team that provides high-quality, value-added services to high-end individuals and companies.
Participating in a legal internship typically means working in professional manner. Interns are expected to be responsive, creative and a good team player. Your job responsibilities include mostly legal research. You will gain extensive experience in shadowing lawyers when they represent clients on various legal cases. Interns who possess knowledge of acquisition, investment, intellectual property, labor, banking, finance, economics and public policies in China are likely to succeed. Sometimes interns are offered the opportunity to work on several project covering different legal cases. Interns sometimes work in teams, and good communication skills are essential. You are also expected to work on deadlines and dress professionally.
For major law firms, the minimum duration of internship in Shanghai is three months. Most of them do not require fluency in Mandarin Chinese. For smaller local firms, the duration can be shorter. The ability to speak Mandarin fluently is always a major plus, but not a requirement. Interns sometimes get the opportunity to extend the internships when needed.
The law industry internships in Shanghai are competitive, but available! So apply now!