Chinese law association first to admit foreigners

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