In-house counsel are increasingly looking at how the country’s policy reforms and the rule of law will affect their work. China Business Law Journal conducted a survey to find out what they believe the Year of the Goat holds in store, and how to keep a step ahead. Joanna Law reports

The year 2015 has barely begun and already a swathe of new and updated regulation foreshadows a frenetic year for in-house counsel in staying on top of their game. As China continues to tackle corruption, ongoing anti-monopoly investigations will almost certainly continue to target multinationals. Labour laws and company restructuring are likely to register an uptick in dispute resolution, while intellectual property (IP) is always on the radar for big foreign companies. And further increases in cross-border M&A and overseas IPOs as China “goes global” will have smart in-house counsel studying up on risk management and gaining a better understanding of foreign law.

With all this and the year ahead firmly in mind, China Business Law Journal conducted a survey of in-house counsel in China and posed a set of questions primarily focusing on areas they believe will be priorities for 2015. Other highlights in the survey include major legal developments counsel expect to feature in their work this year, the identification of trends affecting the legal profession in China, as well as levels of satisfaction with legal services available. Respondents include in-house counsel working for foreign and domestic companies, and these were in some cases categorised to monitor differences in views.

The results and feedback are fascinating. While areas of concern from in-house counsel working for foreign companies differ somewhat to those representing domestic companies, the responses underscored one area in particular that most believe will be critical for legal practitioners this year – compliance.

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