China lawyers
Because of this blog, our China lawyers get a fairly steady stream of China law questions from readers, mostly via emails but occasionally via blog comments or phone calls as well. If we were to conduct research on all the questions we get asked and then comprehensively answer them, we would become overwhelmed. So we usually provide a quick general answer and, when it is easy to do so, a link or two to a blog post that provides some additional guidance. We figure we might as well post some of these on here as well, which we generally do on Fridays, like today.

A mainstream media reporter called me yesterday for my ideas on  the long-form piece he is writing, tentatively titled “The End of China.”  This reporter plans to write about how China’s own actions are causing it — deliberately or not — to rather quickly decouple from the United States and will more slowly lead to its decoupling from Europe, as well. His big ask of me was to give me whatever evidence I had of this decoupling and he wanted more than the usual “Western companies are moving their manufacturing out of China” stuff.

I thought and I thought and then it hit me. “Litigation and arbitration,” I said.  “Disputes.” Whenever times are hard companies are much quicker to sue and much less reticent to do so. Times are hard right now as between foreign companies and China, and foreign companies that a year ago would not have sued because they were either (a) making money by selling their products or services to China or (b) saving money by having their products made in China are calling our international dispute resolution lawyers to ask about bringing lawsuits against Chinese companies. And I know for a fact it is not just our law firm and it is not just lawyers in the United States that are getting these calls. Our firm’s Spain lawyers are seeing an increase in companies wanting to sue, and I keep hearing from other lawyers in Europe about an increase in lawsuits.

Most tellingly, I am hearing this exact thing from Chinese law firms that focus on litigation and arbitration. A few weeks back I had a really good conversation with an expert litigation lawyer at a great Chinese law firm on the other side of a lawsuit. I asked this Chinese lawyer whether his firm had been seeing a decrease in international work from its Chinese clients and he said that they were. I then asked him if this concerned him and he said that it did not. He proceeded to tell me that his law firm’s decreased international transactional work had already been greatly surpassed by its increase in international litigation and arbitration, to the point that he wasn’t even sure they could take on much more litigation/arbitration without bringing on more lawyers experienced in handling international disputes. He then talked about how there is a huge demand for such lawyers in China these days and he expects disputes to keep increasing for the next 2-3 years. I thought for a moment and then agreed with him.

So buckle up everyone and get ready for many more lawsuits between Chinese and foreign companies because they are most definitely coming and fast. And that is yet another sign of “The end of China.”

What are you seeing out there?

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Dan Harris

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

I mostly represent companies doing business in emerging market countries. It has taken me many years to build my network and it takes constant communication and travel to maintain it. My 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.

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

I am a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and I constantly travel between the United States and Asia. I most commonly speak on China law issues and I am the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog (www.chinalawblog.com). 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 me regarding various aspects of my international law practice.

I am licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at my firm, I focus 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.