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Foreign lawyers based in Shanghai are to be offered membership of a local association for the first time, as the Shanghai Lawyers Association extends a welcome to ’specially invited members’.
It is understood that the main benefits of being a specially invited member include the right to attend legal training programmes, representative meetings, seminars and conferences. Until now no membership group in China has opened its doors to foreign lawyers.
The proposal was init-iated in 2010 and a draft has now entered the final stage of revision and review with the organisation and the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Justice. On 7 November the committee working on the measure met representatives from the Shanghai offices of various foreign firms.
A source close to the association said the Shanghai bar hopes to create a more supportive and friendly environment for non-Chinese-qualified lawyers working in Shanghai.
While foreign lawyers and Chinese nationals working in foreign firms will remain barred from practising Chinese law, the move is expected to foster knowledge exchange and collaboration within the city’s fast-growing