Switching up the winning formula


We have been reminded all too often in recent years that prosperity cannot be taken at face value, nor for granted, and nothing is truly “too big to fail”. Just because an engine has been running for a long time does not mean it is not overdue for refuelling, nor can we rule out the possibility of a flaw in its mechanical design that may one day lead to catastrophe.


The swift and notorious collapse of FTX, mere weeks ago a bona fide crypto juggernaut, serves as the latest example.

It is therefore important, or rather imperative, to keep even the most long-standing winning formula under scrutiny. Even more crucial is to have the wisdom and courage, when the time is right, to improve on perfection.

For the seventh consecutive year, China Business Law Journal has conducted an extensive market survey to determine the most highly recommended lawyer in China’s legal market.

We reached out to thousands of in-house counsel, corporate executives and legal professionals, asking them to recommend lawyers whom they believe to be the most deserving of recognition.

The market response has exceeded our expectations. We received a record number of nominations, which is an encouraging reminder that, even in times of economic slowdown, China’s legal market remains a robust scene of growth. In view of these new heights, we felt the time ripe for an expansion. The A-List 2022 includes 150 practitioners of Chinese law and 120 international lawyers committed to China-related business.

On the topic of a robust legal market, Guangdong province, home to China’s first modern-day law firm, provincial bar association and legal partnership, has been an epitome of growth.

However, homegrown firms are feeling the Success stress, outgunned in the battle for the richest veins of legal advice by bigger, better-known brands that have set up shop in the increasingly competitive neighbourhood, exacerbated by the general economic downturn.

Meanwhile, outsiders are finding it no easy task to overcome the barriers of local firms, with branches of national-scale firms failing to dominate.

They are not alone in the struggle, as disruption brought by global uncertainty pervades the dynamics of the legal workforce. Burnout, pandemic and work-life imbalance have caused lawyers across Asia to consider a career outside the same old fish bowl.

In Taking the plunge, we zoom onto what has been dubbed the “great resignation”, the high attrition and talent exodus plaguing Asian law firms, which has seen a migration of many transactional lawyers to the in-house side of legal practice, where there is better workload, certainty and stability, as well as career development taking full advantage of their expertise.