The number of American law students who speak Chinese is increasing.  The number of American law students who can read Chinese is increasing as well, though that number is considerably less than those who can speak it.  The number of American law students who can read Chinese legal documents with anything approaching their ability to read those documents in English is exceedingly small.

So how does someone make the leap from being able to read general interest publications in Chinese to being able to read legal documents in Chinese?  I am constantly being asked this question and my answer is usually that they should try to take a legal Chinese course at their law school if it has one or otherwise, just learn Chinese legal terminology on the job.  They invariably then ask me if I can recommend a book to them and I would invariably say no.

Until now. Until China Law Reader.  China Law Reader is written by Lawrence Foster, a Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii, Tiffany Yajima a licensed lawyer who was formerly with AmCham in Shanghai, and Yan Lin, a Professor of Law at Jiaotong University in Shanghai. In its introduction, China Law Reader describes its purpose and its ideal reader as follows:

The primary purpose of the CLR is to introduce you to the language of Chinese law.  The ideal user is someone who has completed at least two years of Chinese language study and is now ready to read actual law-related Chinese language texts in order to learn the specialized language of Chinese law.

I completely agree.  If you already are able to read Chinese fairly well and you are going to be working with legal text, get the book.  Now.

 

 

 

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Photo of Dan Harris Dan Harris

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network. 

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network.  His work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

He was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), is rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (also its highest rating), and is a recognized SuperLawyer.

Dan is a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and constantly travels between the United States and Asia. He most commonly speaks on China law issues and is the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog. Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed Dan regarding various aspects of his international law practice.

Dan is licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at his firm, Dan focuses on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.