New blog out there called The Life of a Lawyer at a Chinese Law Firm: Practicing Law in a Country Where There is no Law [link no longer exists. It is a most unusual blog and certainly worth a look-see.

The writer has wisely chosen to remain anonymous, though it took me one e-mail to get the writer’s name. The writer explains his purpose as follows:

I want to explain who I am and why I am writing this. Some of this info comes from my blog/diary entries that I wrote and kept private for the past 20 months while working at one of China’s largest law firms (five offices, about 300 attorneys, all Chinese except me initially, and later another two foreigners added (see the bottom of the list), in addition to some semi-volunteer summer interns like Travis Hodgkins who spent a couple months at the firm and for some reason and somehow survived on the US$10 per day salary the firm paid them).  [CLB Note: Travis is spending this summer with us in Shanghai where we are paying him considerably more than $10 per day] I’ll mix the notes I have that track my time at the law firm with comments about current legal issues here, so there’s a mix. I kept my blog because some of what I saw was so incredible, and I’d guess others especially US attorneys would agree. I am now doing mergers and acquisitions work, still based in China, at a specialty firm, also in Beijing.

I am writing this for a few reasons, some more admirable than others. The more admirable reasons are that I’ve met foreign law students during the 2+ years I’ve been here who are trying to figure out how a foreign attorney can get a job here, and make decent money, since most of them just get slave wages as interns at Chinese firms and others that hire them to polish English or serve as the model foreigner for clients. In addition, I’ve received calls and emails from people abroad  nearly every day asking the same questions: how do I get a China lawyer job. That’s a good reason to write this. Another good reason is that blogs are becoming popular, and I like to read some of them, especially the China Law blog and Ben’s Blog an American working in China.

A reason I think it is interesting to read about what a US attorney does in China is because the law in China is a charade in many ways. There are laws here, certainly, and regulations, and plenty of them. However, the court system is corrupt and doesn’t work and there really isn’t any way to enforce laws so for all intents and purposes they don’t really exist.

Oookaaay.

So in his first post he who goes by the name Jeff, slams two law firms, maligns the management skills of 1.3 billion people and writes off China’s nascent legal system in its entirety. He also wrongly claims there are no American lawyers blogging from China even though Steve Dickinson, who co-writes this blog, has been living and working in China for years.

Reading the Life of the Lawyer blog is for me somewhat like staring at a car wreck on the side of the road. I do it and I think I somewhat enjoy it, but it makes me feel uncomfortable.

Is this blog intended to contribute to the discourse on law and lawyering in China or is it merely a temporary outlet for anger and revenge?

I would love to hear what others think on this one.

  • One, it is never never appropriate to bad mouth your former boss, no matter what. Not in public; not on a blog for all the world to read; not in Durham, not in Beijing.
    Two, “Jeff” has the freedom to write whatever he wants, but I found the content of his blog entry to be insensitive and unwise.
    Third, it is good to remember that sometimes the world can be amazingly small. Being known as a negative, bad-mouthing American lawyer will not serve anyone well in the expat legal community in China. Of course, that is assuming that most foreign lawyers disagree with his approach to social “criticism.”

  • Law Office of Todd L. Platek

    Dan/CLB, where do I begin? Jeff is one bitter fellow. Surprising news, Jeffie – USA used to be the same way, with bright law school grads from Harvard on down receiving a pittance, while partners made princely sums. Why? It was the carrot-and-stick approach. “Work hard and it can be yours too; we all started this way.” Only in the late 1980’s did the law firms start paying ridiculous sums to associates whom they could chew up and spit out after a few years. So, I have zero sympathy for you on that score.
    As for Chinese law being a charade, you might feel this way because you spent insufficient time practicing in the US to realize that working your cases is a multifaceted wonder combining skills drawn from lawbooks, personalities and luck. Working the legal and administrative systems from all angles is within a lawyer’s purview. The Chinese lawyers with whom I have been associated have vigorously studied Chinese laws, rules and regs, and kept abreast of all developments. Their regular appearances in courts and arbitral tribunals are not for show.
    As for corruption, that’s a heavy charge, so I’d welcome a look at your evidence adduced to date.
    As for working in a Chinese law firm, I did it too, and it was a great experience. I’d do it again. You can learn something positive from different cultural and managerial styles. If you didn’t “connect,” then don’t blame Zhong Lun without giving us all the facts. Your major gripes appear to be money and the dullness of the practice. You may be unaware of the fact that most lawyers in the USA don’t make as much money as is supposed. As for the dullness, only you can change it for your own appreciation.

  • Law Office of Todd L. Platek

    Further to my prior comments: I just looked at Jeff’s blog, and can say that despite its entertainment value, it appears libelous. If Zhong Lun and its component partners and employees don’t sue Jeff for libel and other causes of action, I will be very surprised. But, hey Jeff, what do I know? Ask your UVa profs how you might fare under American law, which, by the way, might be another source of substantive law Zhong Lun could use, and they’ll likely have no trouble getting “IPJ within the meaning of SHOE” over you here. Maybe you can locate in the USA a reasonably-priced defense firm, if your current employer is unwilling to give you free representation. But you probably won’t want to use them if you discover they are underpaying their associates, right? Or maybe you will get lucky, and just be sued in Beijing, so you can hire a local attorney cheaply and handle the defense yourself. Keep us posted.

  • Todd Platek —
    I am really looking for an opportunity to disagree with you as I am starting to fear my always agreeing with you will lead some readers to believe I am just plugging your name in to generate comments. But, I have to agree that it was this guy’s choice to take the job at whatever pay was offered and that’s that. I also seriously question this person’s appparent attempt to extrapolate his experiences to the entire legal system. Hearing from you who worked at a Chinese law firm is, of course, quite edifying. All I know is that I have worked extensively with many Chinese lawyers and …. guess what, their variability coincides with the variability one gets everywhere. In other words, I am certainly not willing to paint them with a broad brush.

  • Brad —
    I completely agree with you. Unless you have built up such a reputation for credibility that your badmouthing will be believed, doing so almost always simply causes others to question you, not those whom you are badmouthing. Not good for business either.

  • Todd Platek (ii)–
    Gosh, I am not going to venture a view regarding libel here, but at the same time, I can say that if it had been my blog, I certainly would have done more to cover up my identity.

  • Law Office of Todd L. Platek

    Two things I learned from a person far wiser than I: (1) write “you never know” on a sheet of paper and tape it to the wall at your desk, and be sure to meditate on it often; and (2) whatever one writes in a personal vein, when the blood is up, just put to the side and look at objectively the next day. The rest of my advice to Jeff will be on the clock.

  • Oh, and one other thing. Our present summer associate, Travis Hodgkins, who apparently was a summer associate last summer at the old firm of this blogger has always told me how highly he regarded this firm and how much he enjoyed working there.

  • Alex

    CLB:
    Thank you for the “Two things I learned from a person far wiser than I.” I subscribe to your Blog through “Google reader” and although most of it is over my head you remain my favorite read over my morning coffee.
    As for Jeff…I am sure he will come to wish he had stumbled over your advice in his “pre-blog” state.

  • Rogue lawyer missing home but here for the opportunities he may get?

  • Jeff

    I appreciate this discourse and feedback. My experience at Zhong Lun showed that Chinese attorneys are trained to memorize code and not analyze anything. The reason why foreign law firms prosper here is because few Chinese law firms have attorneys who are trained competently, except those who have lived abroad. I also dont think it makes much sense to give a buttered-up version of reality– we are writing blogs, after all, not classical literature.

  • Alex —
    Thanks, but it was Todd Platek, not me, who doled out that advice. Thanks also for your loyalty.

  • Romain —
    Je ne sais pas, moi.

  • Jeff —
    What makes you so sure that you can extrapolate from one firm to all Chinese lawyers? I have worked with some Chinese lawyers who do not analyze and I have worked with some Chinese lawyers who do. I can tell you that we go back to those who do. I can also tell you that this is true of lawyers everywhere.
    I agree that it does not make sense to give a “buttered-up” version of reality, but I also think we all have our own, differing realities.

  • Re: Jeffs blog.
    All the experiences accounted for in this blog are far from unique to China. My opinion is that greed, deceit, lying, and cheating are a part of life, especially so in corporate life. China (and Chinese Law) is no different, although there is not even a facade of the accountability and regulation that exists in the West.
    Working within this malaise involves fighting your corner, and to this end jeff has just screwed up. Well, you can always be a buddhist, a teacher, or a social activist of some sort. Otherwise, stick with the big lie and grab what you can.

  • Blimey, you lawyers don’t like that blog! I can see what Brad Luo was saying about the problem of talking about employers in a small world. But judging by what the blog says, Jeff doesn’t want to remain in the world of Chinese law firms much.
    And Dan, you say, “I also think we all have our own, differing realities,” but at the same time say Jeff’s reality is a car crash.
    The blog read to me as a nice counterpoint to your blog – which is in general very upbeat about Chinese law. Jeff is reminding us that while things are improving very fast, they’re starting from a very low base.
    I’m fascinated that three of you there reacted so strongly in the same way. I wouldn’t react like that to a blog bemoaning a bad experience in a translation firm. Why do the lawyers think this is such a sin?

  • zuraffo

    I have skimmed through Jeff’s blog. All I can say is that it doesn’t read like the writing of a professional lawyer to whom critical thinking and articulation should be second nature. It does, however, read like some adolescents trying to work in the real world and get hurt seriously.
    Two things come to mind: the internet has trivalized self expression, and this same device has also caused the reduced capabilities for human experience even in career essentially dealing with people.

  • Anon —
    Of course what you say is true about there being “greed, deceit, lying, and cheating” in China, but is it fair to take your own tenure (from your own perspective) at one law firm and to extrapolate it to the law firm as a whole and to all of China. I am not saying Jeff comes out and says this is true everywhere and all the time in China, but he does come pretty close. There is deceit, lying and cheating in China and anyone who believes otherwise is a naif. But there is also the opposite in China and it is just not accurate to act otherwise.

  • Phil —
    Great points. Here goes.
    “I can see what Brad Luo was saying about the problem of talking about employers in a small world. But judging by what the blog says, Jeff doesn’t want to remain in the world of Chinese law firms much.” What Brad says applies to more than just the world of “Chinese law firms.” I have been practicing a long time and I have dealt with a whole host of lawyers who have really pissed me off and I am absolutely sure there are plenty of lawyers out there who cannot stand me. This is the nature of practicing law. We are in an adversary system and we are, to use the common vernacular, “hired guns.”
    But, of all the lawyers I have gone up against, there are really only two who I could (at least in my own mind) without equivication deem to be unethical scumbags. All of the rest, I would just chalk up to circumstance and keep my mouth shut. There is a sort of unwritten rule that you can call another lawyer an asshole and what that means is that you had a big problem with him or her. But questioning the ethics of another lawyer goes right to the core and to do this you sure as hell better have concrete proof.
    In this case, Jeff went after a former employer, so I truly do not know on which side of the line his comments belong.
    “And Dan, you say, “I also think we all have our own, differing realities,” but at the same time say Jeff’s reality is a car crash.” I think it was others who portrayed them this way, but my comment of “differing realities” was meant to convey that the perceptions in an employer-employee relationship are always going to be loaded and very subjective. We have all left jobs angry with our employer, but how many of us are so confident in our position that we can state with 100% confidence that it was all the fault of the employer? I am not saying this is what Jeff is stating, but it “feels” pretty close to that. Terminated employer-employee relationships can be a bit like marriages that end in divorce. Outsiders should be reluctant to take sides because they can never get all the facts.
    “The blog read to me as a nice counterpoint to your blog – which is in general very upbeat about Chinese law. Jeff is reminding us that while things are improving very fast, they’re starting from a very low base.” I have absolutely no problem with that. In fact, if anything, I welcome it. But, and I know this is difficult to avoid (and I am absolutely certain I have been guilty of this more than once), we need to be careful about making it seem as though our personal experiences apply to an entire country. Certainly not without more facts.
    “I’m fascinated that three of you there reacted so strongly in the same way. I wouldn’t react like that to a blog bemoaning a bad experience in a translation firm. Why do the lawyers think this is such a sin?” Good question, see above. Also, we lawyers are trained to deal in facts, not emotion. We are trained to analyze and to remain circumspect. We are trained to be conservative (and I don’t mean politically). It has always irritated me when lawyers say, “I do deals” and I sometimes respond by saying, “so you document the deals others do.” I think this is an important distinction. We are trained to maintain confidences. We are also trained to believe in giving people a fair hearing.
    I actually had a huge problem with the post where Jeff went after a particular person for being a lackey and then mentioned that person by name. If he had just written the post without naming anyone, I probably would not have had a problem with it, but is it fair to do that to someoene who really has no good opportunity to defend himself? Has this person been givin an opportunity to be heard and a fair hearing?
    Believe me, there are plenty of people I would love to go after on this blog but I have not, mostly because I do not think my personal vendettas make for terribly interesting reading and I do not think my going after people would make me look anything other than petty.
    People?

  • JMS

    Well said CLB. What bothers me the most about Jeff’s blog is its one-sidedness and its vindictiveness. He is naming names and yet he hides behind the screen of anonymity. Like CLB said, there are two sides to every story. Even if everything is true, there are more constructive ways to tell his story and to seek redress.

  • Thanks, Dan, that does make it clearer. I can see what you mean when you say that talking about other lawyers’ ethics crosses a big line.
    I’m not so sure about the anonymity thing, though. In every other field, blogs have already become *the way* in which information like this gets out. (cf. academic scandals, or a blog like Fangzhouzi – they’re nothing without the names.) It is personal, it is subjective, it is unreliable. That’s why blogs are different to newspapers. But it’s also fascinating, and you can build up an objective picture if you use the information in blogs in an intelligent way. I can see why lawyers would feel uncomfortable about this personalized reportage invading their world – but I think you’re fighting a losing battle.
    And Jeff isn’t really being anonymous. He says on the blog that he was the first US lawyer hired by Zhonglun. If you are close enough to care about this story, you could get a name instantly.

  • Jeff

    A difficulty of being a foreign attorney here in China working with Chinese attorneys is your helplessness to enforce contracts. The courts dont work here. As a result, what do you do? Take the loss of what people owe you, cry, or write about like I did?

  • JMS —
    Thanks for concurring. This whole thing is actually leaving a kind of bad taste in my mouth because I am now worried that I am coming across as thinking I am “holier than thou” and I don’t. In fact, I think what I am is just “older than thou,” as I wonder if I might not have done the same thing at Age 28 or so (I have no idea how old Jeff is, but I am guessing he is in his late 20s). I certainly grew up believing the best defense was always a strong offence and if someone thought to diss me, my job was to diss them back so bad they never even thought of dissing anyone else again. I am not opposed to that strategy today, by any means, but I am of the view that it is not always the best or most appropriate strategy and I do not think it was the best strategy here.

  • Phil —
    I am starting to tilt your way on “the anonymity thing” and so that is not really my big complaint. It’s that it just isn’t fair. I also agree with you that the smart reader is going to take this as just one side, but even so….
    There is actually a huge controversy brewing in the lawyer world that I find rather funny. A new website has gone up called Avvo (avvo.com) that rates lawyers. Two lawyers quickly sued it as plaintiffs in a class action. I find the whole thing funny because all of the lawyers from my firm who were ranked made it to the highest category (superb), but at the same time, it is somewhat of a joke in that a number of mighty fine lawyers were not rated at all or were rated poorly simply because they lacked objective measures of quality. It is truly the talk of the town and many are fit to be tied ….

  • Jeff–
    If it had been me, and with the benefit of objectivity because it was not me, I would have either sued or just moved on. Probably just moved on.

  • Chris D-E —
    I disagree. There is tons of China legal work out there. Just tons of it and, at least for us, most of it is in Shanghai. It’s hard enough for firms to find qualified people for Shanghai and Beijing. I think it would be nerely impossible for Harbin. Just saying “Harbin” makes me cold. Any lawyers interested in going to Harbin?
    There will always be lawyers and law firms without sufficient work but that does not mean the work is not out there, it just means it is going to those who already have plenty. What I agree with you on is that far too many foreign mid-sized firms are opening up shope in Shanghai and Beijing with people who should not be heading up an office. These firms seem to be doing it more in an effort to prevent their long-term clients from going to other firms than in an effort to really develop a top-flight China practice.
    We are so busy that we are referring certain kinds of work out that we used to take on and I also know that the top firms like O’Melveny, DLA Piper, Paul Hastings, Jones Day, etc. are constantly looking for more good lawyers. The work is most definitely there, it just is not, nor will it ever be, evenly distributed.
    I am hoping my “loyal reader from foreign mega-firm” will check in on this issue.

  • Chris D-E —
    Not been to Jean Georges in Shanghai, but having been in NYC, I am dubious. They served me the tiniest portion of fish, so small that by the time the sauce guy had come by with its sauce, I had already eaten it in two bites. They had a dessert(sp?) that had four pieces and cost around $20, so I figured my two kids could split it. The four pieces were less than bite sized. I ain’t fat and I ain’t on enough of a gravy train to be adding Jean Georges to my regular repetoire.

  • Jeremy

    Dear Dan:
    I don’t know if I would be the only one, but I would gladly volunteer to go to Harbin. At least three reasons for that :
    1/ Harbin can certainly be a tough place to live and work in, but I am convinced it can also give a good picture of how China REALLY works. How many foreigners did I hear claiming to have a comprehensive vision of China without having ever set a foot outside of Shanghai’s inner elevated road ? Shanghai is Shanghai, it has its good and bad sides, but it most certainly does not give a reliable image of China as a whole.
    I live and work in a small city (small by Chinese standards, that is – several hundred thousands inhabitants) in North Zhejiang. I insist that it is not in the middle of nowhere : this is a rich city within a rich province, less than one hour drive from Shanghai. And still the contrast with the nearby metropolis is stunning… We are only three westerners living here (the two others having actually set up their own businesses – kudos to them, really – while I am employed in a foreign company’s subsidiary) and believe me you’d better forget your western habits if you want to hold on there – not to mention doing business… I would not pretend that this city is representative of China in any way, but I tend to think that when it comes to understanding the Chinese way of working, having spent time in a little city, where the average man’s knowledge of law is more or less limited to “Thou shalt not kill”, definitely gives you a little advantage. And I am pretty sure that Harbin, bigger in scale but smaller in ‘westernization’ than my little town, is no exception to this principle.
    2/ From my understanding, SMCs (Small & Medium-sized Cities) are where things are moving now. Shanghai and Beijing keep growing, sure, but the competition is so harsh that it has become pretty much impossible for newcomers to make money there, unless occupying a very specific niche.
    So the way I see things, huge international companies will stay in BJ & SH, where they will keep on being served by huge international firms (magic circle, big fives, call them as you like), while, on the other hand, SMEs will more and more aim their investments toward SMCs where the manpower is cheap and abundant, the authorities welcoming (although in many cases officials too friendly should raise the potential investors’ suspicion) and, more importantly, where the competition is still open. Therefore I have no doubt that, even though the big legal centers will remain in BJ & SH, those humble cities such as Harbin will soon become legal markets of their own… And a golden goose for the guy who had the guts to get dirty and set up his firm there.
    3/ The weather in Harbin might be cold, but at least it’s breathable ; am I the only one feeling like a fish out of his tank in the Yangtze delta’s 38 degrees and 95% humidity ?
    P.S. : That is my first comment on this blog, which I discovered a few weeks ago. I am sure you already received plenty of praises about it, so I will make it short : Beau Travail !
    P.P.S. : Yes, I am French. So please overlook the mistakes…

  • Chris D-E —
    Perhaps you are taking me too literally. American humour is to take something literally (as a joke) and then run for it. A bit more subtle than Monty P, but that’s what we do.

  • Jeremy —
    Are you an attorney? The thing you have to recognize about most attorneys is that we love the cushy life. What I love about Steve (our guy in China) is that he does not mind bus rides, out of the way towns, food I would not touch, etc.
    When I graduated college, I swore to myself I’d never take a bus between cities again. Well, about a year ago, I had an important meeting set for Qingdao one day and Yantai the next and the only remotely sensible way to get between those two cities was by bus. I was flying into Qingdao from Korea and on the stupid plane I took out my glasses and noticed (for the first time) that though my visa was easily good through the time I would be staying in China, it was a one time visa (not by usual three) and I had already used that one time. So I landed in Qingdao and had to fly right back to Seoul. It was a Friday and I spent a most pleasant weekend at the Westin Chosun and then got my new visa on Monday. However, this meant rescheduling my various meetings and I ended up flying from Seoul to Yantai on Monday, then to Dalian for more meetings, and then to Qingdao, for the rescheduled Qingdao meetings. This whole fiasco cost me around $1500 but I avoided the bus trip and helped grow my legend. With the exception of Steve, most lawyers are the same way.
    On top of the cushiness factor, young lawyers are not going to want to go to Harbin because where are they going to find the senior lawyers there to train them?
    Also, and I know this is somewhat heretical, but I think that the opportunities in second tier cities are somewhat overrated for SMEs. They definitely make sense for the big companies with many employees or who have already “done” the first tier cities, but so many of the second tier cities come with complications that only increase costs for SMEs that the savings they think they will realize just are not there. Many of our SME clients are going into China to service foreign companies in China, just as they service them in the US or in Europe and the benefits of being near the key people far outweigh the cost savings they might realize by going off into the hinterlands.
    I am definitely not saying no to the second tier (because, for instance, I am a huge fan of some of them like Dalian, Qingdao, Tianjin, Suzhou, just to name a few), but the best foreign lawyering (I am aware of excellent Chinese law firms in at least some of those cities) for those cities is in Shanghai and Beijing and it is likely to remain that way for some time.
    Look at Japan. All the really good lawyers are in Tokyo. In Korea, they are all in Seoul. China is actually somewhat unusual in that there are really good Chinese firms outside its biggest/most developed cities and so someday foreign lawyers might follow. But for now, there just is not that much need nor desire.
    Merci beaucoup pour vos compliments gentils. Votre anglais est absolument parfait et je suis tout fait sur que c’est mieux que mon francais.

  • Anon.

    As I am a Beijing resident I have decided on writing this comment anonymously and with good reason.
    Chinese society is a consensual reality. It only rumbles along because those involved accept it as bona fide. To see it as it truly is as “Jeff” may be doing and to comment on it in public is the ultimate form of dissent and I would urge caution here.
    That said, “Jeff” mentions nothing that I have not seen myself on a daily basis with any aspect of life here, business or private. His comments are completely believable…And to infer that his comments are libelous are to completely miss the point that he is making.

  • Jonathan

    Harbin IS the best place to actually learn good Mandarin, for sure it’s not Shanghai.
    As someone based in a second-second tier, CLB is definitely right about SME setting-up around here. At the end of the day, there is a very high over head and a potential loss of clients/market because of this. Better to just try to tighten your belt and setup around Shanghai if possible. Depending on industry of course.
    CLB is also right about the “senior” position lawyers. 5 years ago, starting my second career I worked for a very low salary for a very talented and successful boss in his field. It was priceless. If one starting out has to choose between a fantastic boss or a higher salary, choose the first.

  • Dane

    I love the slag on this un-named lawyer though. He really is that bad. The repeated lapses in judgment are to be expected.
    I searched your archive, and found some evidence, no?

  • I’m sorry, is it just me or does the bitterness emminating from Jeff’s blog make anyone else think that he was probably fired and is thus very, very bitter? It also appears sort of strange that he is still in China considering how bitter he is toward the country as a whole…Anyways, thanks CLB for pointing this blog out to me, me and the colleagues at the office have enjoyed reading it…Perhaps someone could set their target on King and Wood next?

  • PRC lawyer

    As a Chinese lawyer, I know most of the bitterness the guys suffers as mentioned in its blog and I am not suprised at his feelings toward Chinese law firms and lawyers. Chinese legal system is developing, but it still has a long way to go. There are many times when we are also frustrated by corrupted officials, absurd rulings and unethical conducts. The rule of law is yet to be strengthened. But I can ensure you that there are also many ethical lawyers who are committed to changing something in China. Most Chinese lawyers are friendly and eager to learn. I am sure lawyers will play an even greater role in China.

  • Dane

    Oh Jeff is bitter all right. A lot of people get that way.
    I took a good look at his blog, he is really going for broke. Fun for us to watch but perhaps not the best decision. He has got name recognition now, that’s for sure!
    At some level I think Jeff is unhappy because there just is no career path for foreigners to break in and work together with Chinese firms. Its a problem in the industry, although firms are always developing new models.
    PRC lawyer, yes it still needs time for sure, as the legal profession should have the highest ethical standards within the society. I say should because it never quite works out that way, as we see in the US these days.
    Jeff points out the problem with these big Chinese firms. They do not have unity of management or ownership, and are actually partnerships. Each individual partner will have his clients, and each will protect their autonomy in client matters.
    Therefore, no centralization of resources, no (scalable) concentration of knowledge and no databases of briefs. No standardized processes, no oversight, no careful allocation of resources according to skill set, and no quality checks.
    I would love to hear about King & Wood next, I found some ‘articles’ online that were clearly never reviewed or edited.

  • Law Office of Todd L. Platek

    PRC lawyer says it straight. Change in basic attitudes, customs and practices takes time, and when there’s 5,000 years behind it, that ain’t easy. But it will happen, in its own meandering way. If Jeff doesn’t learn patience and have faith, he’ll be one unhappy and unpopular guy sipping beers with other equally unhappy expats in the pubs those characters frequent, and just be wasting time trying to add some lines to his c.v. If your heart isn’t in it, then move along, Jeff.

  • Builderjim

    After reading the various comments on the issues that were raised by all including the regular post – I am convinced more than ever about the ability of lawyers to complicate, obfuscate and eviscerate even the simplest of issues.
    Obviously our author has personal issues that go way beyond the abilities of Chinese lawyers to analyze and apply the laws present in their system. I think any Psych 101 student could discern this.
    As to whether he paints an accurate picture of the current state of the system – well, generally speaking his limited experience with one particular firm would seem to suggest that the his view would be slightly skewed.
    I agree with several of the other posts that the Chinese law system and its’ attendant practitioners should not be painted with the broad brush that the author is using.
    Personally, I have just suffered a loss of several thousand dollars to an American operating out of China and am currently exploring the Chinese System to see if I can recover my money and exact some type of retribution – I admit, the prospect seems daunting and the chances slim that recovery will be effected, but that’s what the system is for – isn’t it?
    Builder Jim

  • M. Dujon Johnson

    There are two sides to every story but it’s quite apparent to me that the positive comments (and there should be positive comments), are clearly made in mind that this is a public forum where Chinese law firms and lawyers, i.e., potential employers, are reading this blog too.
    I am an African-American lawyer who has lived in both Taiwan and Mainland China (University of Iowa, B.A., J.D., University of Michigan, M.A., National Sun Yat-sen University, Ph.D. ’08) and Chinese firms wouldn’t touch me because of my race. Why isn’t there any discussions about this among the American law expats in China?

  • I love the slag on this un-named lawyer though. He really is that bad. The repeated lapses in judgment are to be expected.
    I searched your archive, and found some evidence, no?

  • Heir Jordan

    Very funny. I tried finding out what happened to him but came up empty. Do you know?