Sailors have a saying: weather the storm you cannot avoid and avoid the storm you cannot weather. The key is to be tough, tenacious and indomitable, but also smart enough to pick the fights that can be won, and only those that are worth winning. Wielding balance sheets instead of barometers, businesses, along with their legal shepherds, have taken this lesson to heart in more ways than one.
“Smartification” may be debatable as a real word, but it captures the spirit of China’s technological revamp of its justice and dispute resolution systems. The world experienced a collective leap to modernisation in terms of trial and hearing procedures during the pandemic, but for China, the process began long before any lockdown, and even today shows no signs of stopping.
Rising to the challenges, the best legal advisers demonstrate a reliable and steadfast level of service, with gratefully received assurance for companies. As we witness, law firms keep maximising their potential to expand business scope and depth, optimising management structures and enhancing service capabilities, all while operating in the fiercely competitive environment of China’s legal market.
Our cover story, A battle of wits, invites a panel of dispute-focused lawyers from Chinese and international law firms to break down the latest tech-related reforms – including a mandate to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) in judicial practice – and what they mean. Also addressed is the rise and future of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in China, as digital and systematic shifts offer a greater than ever variety of options.
This is, however, merely the beginning of our forage into China’s latest judicial and arbitration hustle. In the follow-up series, Evenly matched, lawyers hailing from 11 law firms highlight the key issues in legislative updates, offer advice to ward off risk, and tackle some of the most complicated and debated subjects both in the field and in the courtroom.
For corporations, the significance of proper governance cannot be overstated. While there is little doubt about its importance, success in this aspect can be hard to come by due to the sheer complexity and magnitude of the task. In The corporate straight and narrow, Hang Dongxia, vice chairman of Juneyao Medical, elaborates on the key elements to effective governance, as well as classic scenarios of missteps.
Career development is another topic that turns out to be far more complicated than meets the eye. In Moving with purpose, winners of our Rising Stars 2023 reflect on their diverse beginnings and key considerations that factored into their choice of practice areas. Tips are further shared on their working ethoses and strategies, lending insight into their remarkable success and market recognition despite being at a relatively early stage of their career.
Finally, after months of deliberate survey and research, we reveal the winners of China Business Law Awards (Regional Awards) 2023. The annual awards celebrate leading law firms, both homegrown firms and branch offices, across 18 regions in China. We applaud all winners for their exceptional performance.