Global In-House Market Report: China

The 2018 Global In-House Report is an overview of hiring trends from a variety of sources, from the local knowledge of experienced consultants to our regional salary guides through to general market sentiment derived from interviews with senior contacts.

Below is an extract from the Chinese section. The full report contains market insights for Germany, Italy, the Middle East, Turkey, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and North America.

The Chinese Legal Market

China has witnessed a remarkable transformation over the past three decades. These transformations are not only generational, but also occupational. Prior to the 1980's there were no recognized lawyers, law offices, or law graduates. As late as the 1990's, there were no international law firms in China. Today, there are over 330,000 practicing lawyers; 25,000 PRC law firms; close to 250 foreign law firms and 250,000 students graduate with law degrees each year.

The in-house legal community emerged in the late 1990’s with a large number of foreign lawyers working in China to manage in-house teams for multinational companies. As the China legal landscape developed, Chinese lawyers with experience working at multinational companies became increasingly valued by foreign companies, albeit the vast majority were foreign educated and qualified with Chinese language skills. Of late, Chinese companies who had previously not viewed in-house counsel as a business necessity have emerged and increased competition for an already small talent pool, which can make hiring challenging.


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