General counsel make their predictions for 2013, and for most there is the potential for risk and reward in equal measures. John Church reports on a year of snakes and ladders

The Year of the Snake has arrived, one predicted to be characterised by steady progress and attention to detail, focus and discipline, which should be music to the ears of most in-house counsel.

In a year that promises so much, with a new leadership in China already flexing its policy muscles, many counsel – both domestic-oriented or working for multinational companies (MNCs) – have identified issues such as antitrust, compliance and corruption as key challenges, in keeping with the government’s intended focus. Regional stability is another worry for those doing business across jurisdictions, as issues of territorial sovereignty have made the headlines. For others, keeping pace with change remains a concern, as regulations and laws update with increasing frequency. Labour laws, anti-competition and intellectual property are areas singled out for attention. Keeping pace with hotshot external lawyers in an increasingly borderless world, and so re-establishing the worth of inhouse counsel, is also a fear.

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