The road ahead

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When the world is on a careering vehicle of economic and political caprice, would you prefer to be the driver or passenger? Being in the driver’s seat requires intelligence, perspective, experience and determination. In this issue, we discuss change and permanence, and share with our readers the best aids and practices to help us secure stability and success amid the various external impediments we face.

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.

In our cover story, we present China Business Law Awards 2023, our annual selection of top-performing Chinese and international law firms, showcasing how best-in-class legal advisers steer their clients through every transaction.

As always, we conducted extensive research and evaluation to accurately identify the top-performing firms in each field for 2022. From months of collecting law firm submissions and soliciting industry feedback, we received hundreds of submissions and thousands of comments from corporate executives, in-house counsel and senior practitioners. The selection process was entirely fee-free.

Dire times often require fundamental changes and proactive responses that tackle tough issues head on. In Call to action, Judith Xu, chief compliance officer and legal director at Junzheng Logistics, and Vicky Wang, a Shanghai-based partner at Wintell & Co, share their real experience in removing their company from the US sanctions list, and advocate that Chinese companies should take note of all available options to fight back, rather than offer passive acceptance.

In the tech sphere, regaining control is now all the more crucial for the legal industry, as artificial intelligence sweeps through almost every walk of life. There are concerns alongside the excitement, and we all need to start thinking about how best to leverage this new technology while discouraging misuse. In ChatGPT and Legal, expert Shalini Saxena, the head of legal at crypto firm CoinDCX, takes a look down the rabbit hole and navigates us through what we know so far.

Taking a long-term view, the ability to upend the prevailing order is often nurtured by unrelated inspiration. Based on our survey of the annual A-List selection of top legal talent for China-related business, including 150 lawyers working in PRC law firms and 120 from international firms, Law imitates art reveals some of this inspiration – the favourite books, films or music of our legal elites, from which they expand their knowledge and appreciate different cultures, perspectives and experiences. Sometimes, inspiration can also be fun.

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