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King & Wood’s principal founder and chairman Wang Junfeng has been elected to the role of president of All China Lawyers Association (ACLA), the nation’s bar association in charge of the professional administration of lawyers.
Wang will succeed six-year incumbent president Yu Ning at the helm of the 250,000-member association. He has been serving as vice-president of ACLA since 2008.
With 25 years of practice experience, the 49-year-old is a veteran in China’s nascent legal industry. In 1993, he established King & Wood, which is the largest top-tier law firm in China with 200 partners and 650 associates across 15 offices. At the end of 2011, the firm raised its global profile significantly by striking a tie-up deal with Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques (15 December 2011).
The combined firm, which will be branded King & Wood Mallesons, will go live on 1 March this year. At the same time Wang will take up the role of chairman of the new firm.
Wang is well known as a pioneer in the internationalisation of the Chinese legal profession. Prior to the first-of-its-kind merger with Mallesons, Wang led King & Wood’s overseas expansion with office openings in Tokyo, Silicon Valley and New York.
As the new leader of the country’s legal industry, Wang will put in considerable effort to move the profession towards further internationalisation.
“Our clients are increasingly going ’global’, so should the Chinese law firms,” said Wang. “The association will facilitate members to extend their international reach to better service their domestic clients and enhance their competitiveness on the global stage.”
Increasing the number of lawyers in rural China, helping law firms move up the value chain and improving the practice environment for lawyers and better protection of lawyers’ rights are also top of Wang’s agenda items for his three-year term.
Currently, there are more than 250,000 lawyers and almost 20,000 law firms in China. The total income of the nation’s legal industry in 2011 reached Rmb40bn(£4bn).