Employment prospects for Foreigner with a Law degree in China

 Brief Introduction

Starting with the reforms and openness, China has increasingly enabled private enterprise, privatized government industries, and encouraged foreign investment. Along with increased foreign business, there is increasing demand for corporate legal services, leading many firms to establish offices in China and offering foreign lawyers the opportunity to work in China. China offers excellent opportunities for foreigners holding a Law degree. Employment market for foreigners in different area of Law is growing fast in China, and many new positions in most Chinese law firms and universities are becoming available. As China is emerging as a global financial force, these give a chance to many foreigners with different kind of skills in law an opportunity to work in China. Employment opportunities become more easily for those who earned their law degree from Chinese universities. Therefore, foreigners with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in Law may find employment in a wide range of law professions in China, often those emphasizing  in legal  research , financial services law, business law firms and commercial law. Beside of working in Law firm, some foreigners with law degree prefer to be Lecturers in the Universities. 

Beware that, as in the other country, a foreign law degree does not license one to practice law in China; only people who have passed country’s bar exam may practice law in China. Moreover, China does not allow non-citizens to sit the Chinese bar. This means that, without gaining Chinese citizenship (and the fluency required to pass the bar exam), a foreign lawyer will never practice Chinese law. However, a foreigner can use his/her legal training to work in Chinese of Foreign Law firm’s office in China.  Indeed, working with Chinese law firms cannot engage in legal practice that might involve the interpretation of Chinese law. Foreign law firms may, however, perform legal services that do not involve interpretation of Chinese law. For instance, a foreign law firm office could handle a Chinese company's legal affairs in any country, provide consulting services regarding international law, and entrust matters of Chinese law to Chinese law firms on behalf of foreign clients.

Services offered by Law firms in China

The law firms provide a broad range of legal services to their clients at home and abroad successfully. Chinese legal service teams have extensive experience of both domestic and international transactions. Chinese Law firms  involved in various commercial transactions such as foreign investments mergers and acquisitions, enterprise restructuring, construction and real estate, international trade, corporate affairs, taxation, intellectual property, e-commerce. The members of most Chinese firm laws include Chinese practice lawyers who were well educated at famous law schools at both home and abroad, and have long term practice experience, as well as foreign lawyers and investment consulting professionals as consultants who are particularly experienced in cross-border business transactions. The aim of the law firms in China is constructing a world and local Chinese law firm with strong international competition capacity by recruiting the foreigners with law degree and tangible experience in international law. The recruited foreigner with a law degree must have the spirit of diligence and creativity, prepared to go all out to offer services to domestic and overseas clients comprehensively, professionally and efficient legal services of the best quality. The above description shows the employment prospects for foreigners with a law degree in China.  

Working conditions

According to Chinese labor law, the standard working time is 40 hours per week. In theory, the standard work week in China runs from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 6pm, but in reality, overtime is the norm. All Foreigner workers in China are entitled to three national holidays, each stretching into a week of vacation: Chinese New Year (usually in late January or early February), International Labor Day (first week of May) and National Day (first week of October). 

While employees get the week off, the government mandates that workers "make up" for the holiday by working through the previous weekend (resulting in only three days off). In any case, you should ensure that your holidays are stated in your employment contract. Employment package for foreigner working any law firm in China depend on whether you are hired as an expat from abroad, your work experience, the standard of the institutions which hired you, and your specialized area. 

Employment benefits for a foreigner Law degree holder working in China

- Healthcare: When working in China, you will certainly want a foreign healthcare package and an evacuation service. This may be included in your employment contract.

- Vacations: Standard vacations in most Chinese institutions are 3-4 weeks of paid vacation per year. If you get lucky, your vacation package will also include a yearly return flight to your home country.

- Visas: Most of the law firm or University in China handle all tasks related to your visa. 

- Bonuses and raises: Standard bonuses are a month salary or less. Standard raises vary from year to year, but are normally between 5-15%.

In high-level positions, you will often get a mobile phone and a car and/or driver, or at least have travel to and from work reimbursed.

Qualifications for working China

A bachelor’s degree in Law is a major requirement and having higher education like masters or Doctoral degree increase your chance of getting a job not only easily but also in international recognized law firm or University. 

Employers in all law firms or universities are looking for foreign lawyers with different talents and approaches to the law. Possess striking similarities, starting with the ability to see creative solutions others might miss. The foreigners with a law degree who might not satisfied until they have met the highest standards of legal service. In every area of the law, law firm focus on achieving results that help their clients.  



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