The legal profession is undergoing fundamental changes; and this is the case not just in those established legal markets. Based on a state-of-the-art sketch of China’s legal profession, this paper identifies and analyzes the latest innovation initiatives and alternative business models, which happen simultaneously at the levels of the law firms as incumbents, and the other legal service providers, especially the rapidly rising online legal service providers. Propelled by the market demands and benefiting from technological advancements, the provision of legal services has become so versatile today, going far beyond the office of lawyers. In the meantime, although deeply entrenched in the system, some leading big corporate law firms in China have also creatively incorporated key corporate features in running their business and compensating their partners, effectively deviating from the partnership pure legal services regulation. Such market reality questions the necessity and effect of the regulatory restrictions on law firm legal form and ownership structure, and sets out an agenda for related research in the future.

Citation: Li, Jing, Legal Profession of China in a Globalized World: Innovations and New Challenges (November 13, 2017).

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