China LLM


This is odd. This is my third reply to this post.

In summary of my other replies:
I thought about doing it, but after every practitioner and scholar I talked to told me not to, I decided against it. It might satisfy your pride to go to a well-known schoo, but it will hurt you financially and will be a waste of time professionally. Both the Tsinghua and NUS law departments have poor reputations, even if the campus in general has a good one. The students I know from those departments can't find jobs.

Contact me for more info, if you are interested: spetrini@u.washington.edu

Best,
zoticogrillo
This is odd. This is my third reply to this post.

In summary of my other replies:
I thought about doing it, but after every practitioner and scholar I talked to told me not to, I decided against it. It might satisfy your pride to go to a well-known schoo, but it will hurt you financially and will be a waste of time professionally. Both the Tsinghua and NUS law departments have poor reputations, even if the campus in general has a good one. The students I know from those departments can't find jobs.

Contact me for more info, if you are interested: spetrini@u.washington.edu

Best,
zoticogrillo
quote
smsbs
HI every one
My name is Saif , from Dubai , I am searching for Master in law program in one of the recognized University in Beijing , which i like to have it in English either by research or part time mode of study , if any one got an idea please help me , email : baba_saif@hotmail.com

HI every one
My name is Saif , from Dubai , I am searching for Master in law program in one of the recognized University in Beijing , which i like to have it in English either by research or part time mode of study , if any one got an idea please help me , email : baba_saif@hotmail.com

quote
jennyjunk
It seems that everyone has the same questions as I did, so here it goes.

I am an American so didnt really know where to begin my research on Chinese and Hong Kong LL.M. programs. I have a cousin who lives in Beijing and a friend who lives in Hong Kong (who is also an attorney working in a US firm).

As an American (or non-Mandarin speaking) person, Hong Kong is a better bet for many reasons:
1. The culture in Hong Kong is much easier to adapt to than in Beijing. Also, you MUST speak Mandarin to survive in Beijing.

2. The programs in Hong Kong are much more established and known in the area. Both programs in Hong Kong are good, but HKU is better regarded.

3. The program in Beijing has only been existance for, well, not even a year, as 2005 is the 1st year the program started.

4. In addition, the program in Beijing is geared towards Chinese doing business in the US (inbound transactions).
The Hong Kong programs are geared towards foreigners doing business with China (outbound transactions).

Hope that this helps!
It seems that everyone has the same questions as I did, so here it goes.

I am an American so didnt really know where to begin my research on Chinese and Hong Kong LL.M. programs. I have a cousin who lives in Beijing and a friend who lives in Hong Kong (who is also an attorney working in a US firm).

As an American (or non-Mandarin speaking) person, Hong Kong is a better bet for many reasons:
1. The culture in Hong Kong is much easier to adapt to than in Beijing. Also, you MUST speak Mandarin to survive in Beijing.

2. The programs in Hong Kong are much more established and known in the area. Both programs in Hong Kong are good, but HKU is better regarded.

3. The program in Beijing has only been existance for, well, not even a year, as 2005 is the 1st year the program started.

4. In addition, the program in Beijing is geared towards Chinese doing business in the US (inbound transactions).
The Hong Kong programs are geared towards foreigners doing business with China (outbound transactions).

Hope that this helps!
quote
john wang
The information of LL.M in Chinese Law for non-Chinese law students listed below.
http://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/docsn/fxy/english/llmPrgm.htm
LL.M. Program In Chinese Law: An Overview
The LL.M. Program In Chinese Law at Tsinghua is the first formal legal educational program ever offered in China for foreign law students and professionals.
As a country with a rich cultural heritage and the largest economic market in the world, China ranks first in Foreign Direct Investment for several years and is the fourth largest import/export country worldwide. To ensure sustainable social economic progress, the country has established a complex legal infrastructure by enacting the laws and regulations on a historic scale.
Under the newly formed framework of globalization, Chinese law becomes a necessary knowledge for those who have business, culture, academic and political encounters with China. To meet the increasing demand for understanding Chinese laws, Tsinghua Law School launches a LL.M. Program in Chinese law for non-Chinese speaking law students and legal professionals. The program is scheduled to commence in September 2005.
An applicant must meet the following requirements:
A J.D. or LL.B. or equivalent law degree;
Enrollment in a J.D. program; or
Qualification to practice law.
The information of LL.M in Chinese Law for non-Chinese law students listed below.
http://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/docsn/fxy/english/llmPrgm.htm
LL.M. Program In Chinese Law: An Overview
The LL.M. Program In Chinese Law at Tsinghua is the first formal legal educational program ever offered in China for foreign law students and professionals.
As a country with a rich cultural heritage and the largest economic market in the world, China ranks first in Foreign Direct Investment for several years and is the fourth largest import/export country worldwide. To ensure sustainable social economic progress, the country has established a complex legal infrastructure by enacting the laws and regulations on a historic scale.
Under the newly formed framework of globalization, Chinese law becomes a necessary knowledge for those who have business, culture, academic and political encounters with China. To meet the increasing demand for understanding Chinese laws, Tsinghua Law School launches a LL.M. Program in Chinese law for non-Chinese speaking law students and legal professionals. The program is scheduled to commence in September 2005.
An applicant must meet the following requirements:
• A J.D. or LL.B. or equivalent law degree;
• Enrollment in a J.D. program; or
• Qualification to practice law.
quote
Henri
Hello,
I am a law school graduate from Montreal (Canada) and I am interested in doing the LL.M. program in Chinese Law at Tsinghua University in Beijing next year.
Is there anyone who has already done the program or is currently doing it? I would like to know how it is? How are the classes? Is it well organized? Is it worth the money? Is it possible to learn mandarin at the same time? How is the class spirit?

Thank you in advance!
Henri
Hello,
I am a law school graduate from Montreal (Canada) and I am interested in doing the LL.M. program in Chinese Law at Tsinghua University in Beijing next year.
Is there anyone who has already done the program or is currently doing it? I would like to know how it is? How are the classes? Is it well organized? Is it worth the money? Is it possible to learn mandarin at the same time? How is the class spirit?

Thank you in advance!
Henri
quote
There are two programs in Beijing that offer LLMs in English.
Beijing University
Tsinghua University

BeiDa's is 2 years and Tsinghua's is 1. But before you choose the shorter one, be advised that the Ministry of Education requires that all LLM programs be two years long, therefore, there is a strong question regarding Tsinghua's program's credibility. However, it may be accredited, I'm not sure. Do not rely on my opinion.

I would also have to respectfully disagree with Zoticogrillo. What you say is true in the past. That is no longer the case. Firms are on the search for new, young attorneys with a handle on Chinese law and Chinese culture. Obviously, being fluent is excellent, but being proficient will also be good enough. Firms have changed their position b/c China is growing and outbound Chinese deals are up. Therefore, a lot of U.S. firms in U.S. offices that are now finding they are in need of young attorneys who can both handle domestic transactional practice and also be of service when the firm lands a Chinese client looking to do an outbound deal.

As for working in China, the firms are growing their China offices faster than they can stock them. Therefore, what you say about having to have worked 5-10 yrs in a large international firm is no longer the case. The firms want first year, second year, etc. associates to do due diligence, to keep up with the grind work, and also to be able to handle themselves around Chinese clients. Before, when the satellite offices were 3-4 attorneys, yes, you need to be partner status with 10 years of transactional under your belt. But, now the firms are 15+ and growing and they need junior associates with Chinese culture/language skills because there is just so much work to be done. For example, OMM is expanding its China offices and K&E opened a new China office. And not just work in China, but, as I mentioned, work in the U.S. b/c of the outbound deals. Firms are now willing to train you in transactional work b/c you will not only be a great transactional attorney, you'll be a great one who knows Chinese and Chinese law.

However, the same rules apply even if you have an LLM in Chinese law for these BigLaw firms. You still need to be from a top law school (meaning top 25) and top of your class (meaning 10-25%, or at the very least top third + journal experience--probably law review). You need to demonstrate that you can handle all the work they throw at you and that means domestic transactional work and Chinese transactional work. If you don't have the "pedigree" they will doubt that you can handle the basic transactional work regardless of your added bells/whistles of Chinese culture/language skills.

I highly recommend getting your LLM in Chinese law. You will learn so much about the ins and outs of Chinese law, business wo/men, culture, etc. If you want to decide between Tsinghua and BeiDa, I suggest you do some research on the schools (although if you ask me, people in China and in the U.S. BeiDa's name recognition for law far surpasses Tsinghua's).
There are two programs in Beijing that offer LLMs in English.
Beijing University
Tsinghua University

BeiDa's is 2 years and Tsinghua's is 1. But before you choose the shorter one, be advised that the Ministry of Education requires that all LLM programs be two years long, therefore, there is a strong question regarding Tsinghua's program's credibility. However, it may be accredited, I'm not sure. Do not rely on my opinion.

I would also have to respectfully disagree with Zoticogrillo. What you say is true in the past. That is no longer the case. Firms are on the search for new, young attorneys with a handle on Chinese law and Chinese culture. Obviously, being fluent is excellent, but being proficient will also be good enough. Firms have changed their position b/c China is growing and outbound Chinese deals are up. Therefore, a lot of U.S. firms in U.S. offices that are now finding they are in need of young attorneys who can both handle domestic transactional practice and also be of service when the firm lands a Chinese client looking to do an outbound deal.

As for working in China, the firms are growing their China offices faster than they can stock them. Therefore, what you say about having to have worked 5-10 yrs in a large international firm is no longer the case. The firms want first year, second year, etc. associates to do due diligence, to keep up with the grind work, and also to be able to handle themselves around Chinese clients. Before, when the satellite offices were 3-4 attorneys, yes, you need to be partner status with 10 years of transactional under your belt. But, now the firms are 15+ and growing and they need junior associates with Chinese culture/language skills because there is just so much work to be done. For example, OMM is expanding its China offices and K&E opened a new China office. And not just work in China, but, as I mentioned, work in the U.S. b/c of the outbound deals. Firms are now willing to train you in transactional work b/c you will not only be a great transactional attorney, you'll be a great one who knows Chinese and Chinese law.

However, the same rules apply even if you have an LLM in Chinese law for these BigLaw firms. You still need to be from a top law school (meaning top 25) and top of your class (meaning 10-25%, or at the very least top third + journal experience--probably law review). You need to demonstrate that you can handle all the work they throw at you and that means domestic transactional work and Chinese transactional work. If you don't have the "pedigree" they will doubt that you can handle the basic transactional work regardless of your added bells/whistles of Chinese culture/language skills.

I highly recommend getting your LLM in Chinese law. You will learn so much about the ins and outs of Chinese law, business wo/men, culture, etc. If you want to decide between Tsinghua and BeiDa, I suggest you do some research on the schools (although if you ask me, people in China and in the U.S. BeiDa's name recognition for law far surpasses Tsinghua's).
quote
Hello,
I am a law school graduate from Montreal (Canada) and I am interested in doing the LL.M. program in Chinese Law at Tsinghua University in Beijing next year.
Is there anyone who has already done the program or is currently doing it? I would like to know how it is? How are the classes? Is it well organized? Is it worth the money? Is it possible to learn mandarin at the same time? How is the class spirit?

Thank you in advance!
Henri


I think it depends on what goal do you wanna achieve. Learning Mandarin at Tsinghua is a piece of cake. Maybe, many local Chinese students wanna learn English or French from you at the same time. But pls never assume the quality of the Tsinghua LLM based on your Quebec legal education experience. The Mainland China LLM programs are less established than those in H.K.
<blockquote>Hello,
I am a law school graduate from Montreal (Canada) and I am interested in doing the LL.M. program in Chinese Law at Tsinghua University in Beijing next year.
Is there anyone who has already done the program or is currently doing it? I would like to know how it is? How are the classes? Is it well organized? Is it worth the money? Is it possible to learn mandarin at the same time? How is the class spirit?

Thank you in advance!
Henri</blockquote>

I think it depends on what goal do you wanna achieve. Learning Mandarin at Tsinghua is a piece of cake. Maybe, many local Chinese students wanna learn English or French from you at the same time. But pls never assume the quality of the Tsinghua LLM based on your Quebec legal education experience. The Mainland China LLM programs are less established than those in H.K.
quote
There are two programs in Beijing that offer LLMs in English.
Beijing University
Tsinghua University

BeiDa's is 2 years and Tsinghua's is 1. But before you choose the shorter one, be advised that the Ministry of Education requires that all LLM programs be two years long, therefore, there is a strong question regarding Tsinghua's program's credibility. However, it may be accredited, I'm not sure. Do not rely on my opinion.

I would also have to respectfully disagree with Zoticogrillo. What you say is true in the past. That is no longer the case. Firms are on the search for new, young attorneys with a handle on Chinese law and Chinese culture. Obviously, being fluent is excellent, but being proficient will also be good enough. Firms have changed their position b/c China is growing and outbound Chinese deals are up. Therefore, a lot of U.S. firms in U.S. offices that are now finding they are in need of young attorneys who can both handle domestic transactional practice and also be of service when the firm lands a Chinese client looking to do an outbound deal.

As for working in China, the firms are growing their China offices faster than they can stock them. Therefore, what you say about having to have worked 5-10 yrs in a large international firm is no longer the case. The firms want first year, second year, etc. associates to do due diligence, to keep up with the grind work, and also to be able to handle themselves around Chinese clients. Before, when the satellite offices were 3-4 attorneys, yes, you need to be partner status with 10 years of transactional under your belt. But, now the firms are 15+ and growing and they need junior associates with Chinese culture/language skills because there is just so much work to be done. For example, OMM is expanding its China offices and K&E opened a new China office. And not just work in China, but, as I mentioned, work in the U.S. b/c of the outbound deals. Firms are now willing to train you in transactional work b/c you will not only be a great transactional attorney, you'll be a great one who knows Chinese and Chinese law.

However, the same rules apply even if you have an LLM in Chinese law for these BigLaw firms. You still need to be from a top law school (meaning top 25) and top of your class (meaning 10-25%, or at the very least top third + journal experience--probably law review). You need to demonstrate that you can handle all the work they throw at you and that means domestic transactional work and Chinese transactional work. If you don't have the "pedigree" they will doubt that you can handle the basic transactional work regardless of your added bells/whistles of Chinese culture/language skills.
I highly recommend getting your LLM in Chinese law. You will learn so much about the ins and outs of Chinese law, business wo/men, culture, etc. If you want to decide between Tsinghua and BeiDa, I suggest you do some research on the schools (although if you ask me, people in China and in the U.S. BeiDa's name recognition for law far surpasses Tsinghua's).


I think you're not wrong. But on the outound side, a big issue is the Chinese preference of flat fee structure for its overseas transactions and on the inbound side, a big issue is that the more you understand Chinese law the more frustrated you could be when acting for foreign clients doing business in China.
There are two programs in Beijing that offer LLMs in English.
Beijing University
Tsinghua University

BeiDa's is 2 years and Tsinghua's is 1. But before you choose the shorter one, be advised that the Ministry of Education requires that all LLM programs be two years long, therefore, there is a strong question regarding Tsinghua's program's credibility. However, it may be accredited, I'm not sure. Do not rely on my opinion.

I would also have to respectfully disagree with Zoticogrillo. What you say is true in the past. That is no longer the case. Firms are on the search for new, young attorneys with a handle on Chinese law and Chinese culture. Obviously, being fluent is excellent, but being proficient will also be good enough. Firms have changed their position b/c China is growing and outbound Chinese deals are up. Therefore, a lot of U.S. firms in U.S. offices that are now finding they are in need of young attorneys who can both handle domestic transactional practice and also be of service when the firm lands a Chinese client looking to do an outbound deal.

As for working in China, the firms are growing their China offices faster than they can stock them. Therefore, what you say about having to have worked 5-10 yrs in a large international firm is no longer the case. The firms want first year, second year, etc. associates to do due diligence, to keep up with the grind work, and also to be able to handle themselves around Chinese clients. Before, when the satellite offices were 3-4 attorneys, yes, you need to be partner status with 10 years of transactional under your belt. But, now the firms are 15+ and growing and they need junior associates with Chinese culture/language skills because there is just so much work to be done. For example, OMM is expanding its China offices and K&E opened a new China office. And not just work in China, but, as I mentioned, work in the U.S. b/c of the outbound deals. Firms are now willing to train you in transactional work b/c you will not only be a great transactional attorney, you'll be a great one who knows Chinese and Chinese law.

However, the same rules apply even if you have an LLM in Chinese law for these BigLaw firms. You still need to be from a top law school (meaning top 25) and top of your class (meaning 10-25%, or at the very least top third + journal experience--probably law review). You need to demonstrate that you can handle all the work they throw at you and that means domestic transactional work and Chinese transactional work. If you don't have the "pedigree" they will doubt that you can handle the basic transactional work regardless of your added bells/whistles of Chinese culture/language skills.
I highly recommend getting your LLM in Chinese law. You will learn so much about the ins and outs of Chinese law, business wo/men, culture, etc. If you want to decide between Tsinghua and BeiDa, I suggest you do some research on the schools (although if you ask me, people in China and in the U.S. BeiDa's name recognition for law far surpasses Tsinghua's).


I think you're not wrong. But on the outound side, a big issue is the Chinese preference of flat fee structure for its overseas transactions and on the inbound side, a big issue is that the more you understand Chinese law the more frustrated you could be when acting for foreign clients doing business in China.
quote
well, chinese companies' resistance to paying high fees are well known. However, they still need attorneys and they're acknowledging that slowly. I've spoken with several large firms in the U.S. who have Chinese clients and they've affirmed this notion. I wouldn't be surprised if the fees Chinese clients are willing to pay start increasing as the business starts increasing. Also, if you work for a BigLaw firm, your salary is going to be the same whether you have Chinese clients or U.S. clients.

Your statement that the more you understand Chines law, the more frustrated you could be when acting for foreign clients doing business in China is an age old issue. Do you counsel your client regarding guanxi? do you tell them what the statutory laws state? do you tell them about the trade custom? all of these are problems that attorneys are encountering in China. If there is a law that says you can only build your building 10 stories high but all the buildings are 15 stories high and the officials haven't stopped anyone--how do you counsel your client? These are definitely concrete issues, but as far as getting a job--I think an LLM from mainland China is going to be worth its weight in gold--especially when you make the contacts you do who can tell you the ins and outs of the workings of chinese law. An outside attorney is going to be at a great disadvantage.
well, chinese companies' resistance to paying high fees are well known. However, they still need attorneys and they're acknowledging that slowly. I've spoken with several large firms in the U.S. who have Chinese clients and they've affirmed this notion. I wouldn't be surprised if the fees Chinese clients are willing to pay start increasing as the business starts increasing. Also, if you work for a BigLaw firm, your salary is going to be the same whether you have Chinese clients or U.S. clients.

Your statement that the more you understand Chines law, the more frustrated you could be when acting for foreign clients doing business in China is an age old issue. Do you counsel your client regarding guanxi? do you tell them what the statutory laws state? do you tell them about the trade custom? all of these are problems that attorneys are encountering in China. If there is a law that says you can only build your building 10 stories high but all the buildings are 15 stories high and the officials haven't stopped anyone--how do you counsel your client? These are definitely concrete issues, but as far as getting a job--I think an LLM from mainland China is going to be worth its weight in gold--especially when you make the contacts you do who can tell you the ins and outs of the workings of chinese law. An outside attorney is going to be at a great disadvantage.
quote
Thanks for these very interesting comments!

But if I say that more and more US-trained Chinese lawyers (or dual qualified lawyers) will be able to take over and handle overseas transactions for Chinese companies (sometimes in conjunction with small/medium local firms in the particular jurisdictions), on a low flat fee basis, do you believe it or not?

And if I say that many insiders really understand the ins and outs of the workings of Chinese law do not reside in mainland China, do you believe it or not?

I only advise my clients how to get their deals through and how to achieve their commerical objectives in China, of course on a concrete project basis. They all know the importance of guanxi and the limitations of blackletter laws in China.
Thanks for these very interesting comments!

But if I say that more and more US-trained Chinese lawyers (or dual qualified lawyers) will be able to take over and handle overseas transactions for Chinese companies (sometimes in conjunction with small/medium local firms in the particular jurisdictions), on a low flat fee basis, do you believe it or not?

And if I say that many insiders really understand the ins and outs of the workings of Chinese law do not reside in mainland China, do you believe it or not?

I only advise my clients how to get their deals through and how to achieve their commerical objectives in China, of course on a concrete project basis. They all know the importance of guanxi and the limitations of blackletter laws in China.
quote
Tom says that firms are looking for people with only a general knowledge of Chinese and Chinese law. The contradicts what I have found by surveying attorneys and China law experts on the issue. You can find my survey in the Chinalaw archive (search Tsinghua LLM). http://hermes.gwu.edu/archives/chinalaw.html

Such a comment also contradicts common reason. If one were to observe the large, and increasing, number of Chinese licensed attorneys coming to the US to earn JDs and LLMs at top institutions, one would guess that these attorneys are pushing many foreign attorneys out of the market. This is consistent with my survey findings.

Attorneys compete with each other on the basis of professional competence. Why would any firm choose an American with a JD and an elementary level of Chinese, when they can get a Chinese attorney with all the knowledge of a JD graduate and a NY license. Doesn't make sense.

Your musing are interesting, but show us the money. Why do you believe the way you do?
Tom says that firms are looking for people with only a general knowledge of Chinese and Chinese law. The contradicts what I have found by surveying attorneys and China law experts on the issue. You can find my survey in the Chinalaw archive (search Tsinghua LLM). http://hermes.gwu.edu/archives/chinalaw.html

Such a comment also contradicts common reason. If one were to observe the large, and increasing, number of Chinese licensed attorneys coming to the US to earn JDs and LLMs at top institutions, one would guess that these attorneys are pushing many foreign attorneys out of the market. This is consistent with my survey findings.

Attorneys compete with each other on the basis of professional competence. Why would any firm choose an American with a JD and an elementary level of Chinese, when they can get a Chinese attorney with all the knowledge of a JD graduate and a NY license. Doesn't make sense.

Your musing are interesting, but show us the money. Why do you believe the way you do?
quote
I think that your argument that firms would choose a foreign attorney with Chinese knowledge over an American J.D. with less Chinese knowledge has some merit, but I don't believe this to be the case.

First off, I have spoken to several hiring partners (both Chinese and American) at U.S. firms. Both have told me they prefer an American J.D. because of the analytical abilities that come from a common law country. I've heard this from some Chinese attorneys as well.

Second, a Chinese hiring partner working at a U.S. Vault10 law firm said that has problems with having to always re-edit work from Chinese attorneys (in terms of English) and he found it great that a U.S. attorney (with native fluency in English) and analytic skills will be spending time in China. He also expressed that the fact I will be living in China for two years to really experience Beijing was invaluable (he also offered me an interview, which I have coming up). He also told me that it was really difficult for him to get a job, but he was in the top 3% of his class so that's how he got his foot in the door. I think there are several forums that speak to how hard it is for a foreign attorney with an LLM to get a job in a U.S. firm. I think those are worth checking out.

Third, I have landed several interviews at Vault100 firms (and just got a job offer today via email) because what set me apart from tons of qualified applicants was because I also am getting an LLM in Chinese law. I think that's the proof you were looking for right there. I have two more interviews set up at firms that rank in the top 10 (according to Vault) for the very same reason I'm telling you.

As a U.S. attorney, graduating from a top 20 law school even with honors and law review, I still didn't cut it when I want to work at some of the top 10 Vault firms. Not when they have people from the #1, #2, #3, etc. schools wanting the same exact jobs with honors and law review. I know that for one of these interviews, I probably wouldn't had qualified just based on my U.S. degree without the LLM (in fact, I was pretty much told this outright).

Why would you hire a Chinese attorney who can only work on your Chinese deals when you can hire a U.S. attorney who can work on both your domestic and Chinese deals? There are pros and cons from each side of the table, but honestly, if the U.S. attorney speaks/reads Mandarin and undertsands Chinese culture (whether it be because he/she is an ABC or equivalent or has spent much time in China), I think the gap closes quite a bit and the U.S. attorney starts to look pretty attractive.

A U.S. attorney has knowledge of both Chinese and American law (albeit the Chinese law is not as strong as a Chinese attorney), whereas a Chinese attorney only has knowledge of Chinese law (and a one year LLM in the states teaches you nothing--it's basically a prereq to sit for the NY bar).

Also, a Chinese attorney who receives a J.D. at a top U.S. school is not part of this comparison. I would assume that a Chinese attorney who spent three years for a J.D. developing analytical abilities at a top U.S. law school would be more valuable than 1) a Chinese attorney with a U.S. LLM or 2) a U.S. attorney with an LLM in Chinese law. I am only comparing the latter two. While it is true that there is an increasing amount of Chinese attorneys coming to get their J.D., there aren't very many right now that have graduated. The point is folks, get your foot in the door and be one of the few and offer something others don't before everyone has what you have.

p.s. I agree that a U.S. attorney needs more than an "elementary" knowledge of Chinese.
I think that your argument that firms would choose a foreign attorney with Chinese knowledge over an American J.D. with less Chinese knowledge has some merit, but I don't believe this to be the case.

First off, I have spoken to several hiring partners (both Chinese and American) at U.S. firms. Both have told me they prefer an American J.D. because of the analytical abilities that come from a common law country. I've heard this from some Chinese attorneys as well.

Second, a Chinese hiring partner working at a U.S. Vault10 law firm said that has problems with having to always re-edit work from Chinese attorneys (in terms of English) and he found it great that a U.S. attorney (with native fluency in English) and analytic skills will be spending time in China. He also expressed that the fact I will be living in China for two years to really experience Beijing was invaluable (he also offered me an interview, which I have coming up). He also told me that it was really difficult for him to get a job, but he was in the top 3% of his class so that's how he got his foot in the door. I think there are several forums that speak to how hard it is for a foreign attorney with an LLM to get a job in a U.S. firm. I think those are worth checking out.

Third, I have landed several interviews at Vault100 firms (and just got a job offer today via email) because what set me apart from tons of qualified applicants was because I also am getting an LLM in Chinese law. I think that's the proof you were looking for right there. I have two more interviews set up at firms that rank in the top 10 (according to Vault) for the very same reason I'm telling you.

As a U.S. attorney, graduating from a top 20 law school even with honors and law review, I still didn't cut it when I want to work at some of the top 10 Vault firms. Not when they have people from the #1, #2, #3, etc. schools wanting the same exact jobs with honors and law review. I know that for one of these interviews, I probably wouldn't had qualified just based on my U.S. degree without the LLM (in fact, I was pretty much told this outright).

Why would you hire a Chinese attorney who can only work on your Chinese deals when you can hire a U.S. attorney who can work on both your domestic and Chinese deals? There are pros and cons from each side of the table, but honestly, if the U.S. attorney speaks/reads Mandarin and undertsands Chinese culture (whether it be because he/she is an ABC or equivalent or has spent much time in China), I think the gap closes quite a bit and the U.S. attorney starts to look pretty attractive.

A U.S. attorney has knowledge of both Chinese and American law (albeit the Chinese law is not as strong as a Chinese attorney), whereas a Chinese attorney only has knowledge of Chinese law (and a one year LLM in the states teaches you nothing--it's basically a prereq to sit for the NY bar).

Also, a Chinese attorney who receives a J.D. at a top U.S. school is not part of this comparison. I would assume that a Chinese attorney who spent three years for a J.D. developing analytical abilities at a top U.S. law school would be more valuable than 1) a Chinese attorney with a U.S. LLM or 2) a U.S. attorney with an LLM in Chinese law. I am only comparing the latter two. While it is true that there is an increasing amount of Chinese attorneys coming to get their J.D., there aren't very many right now that have graduated. The point is folks, get your foot in the door and be one of the few and offer something others don't before everyone has what you have.

p.s. I agree that a U.S. attorney needs more than an "elementary" knowledge of Chinese.
quote
Thanks for your thorough reply. One thing I have heard during my own interviews, and seen from my own experience, is that working with a firm that already had a branch in mainland China is the best way to land a job in China. Most of those firms are big Vault 100s. Sounds like you are well on your way.

I have heard some of the same things about Chinese attorneys. Reliable English writing can be an issue. Professional quality is indeed a very serious issue in Chinese law firms as well. However, considering the large number of quality attorneys from China, and the hightening level of competition for legal jobs in China, generalizations are not that helpful.

Unless you a fluent (reading and writing) in legal Chinese (which is quite a strange beast at times), I think you'll find yourself relying on your Chinese speaking legal assistants a great deal. Can you imagine what would happen if that assistant were to get an American JD (perhaps at a top 5 law school, or a top 100), become fluent in English writing, and had some time as a corporate/transactional associate in the US? I think you'll understand me more once you have experience working in mainland China with such an assistant.

You place a great deal of importance on the ranking of a school, and that assumes that "ranking" (done by whomever) measures a clear difference in educational quality in most cases. You also state that many Chinese JDs have not yet graduated, which makes me wonder whether you are relying on anecdotal experience or outside data.

That's great that you will be spending two years in China. I assume that's where you'll be earning your LLM. I caution you to do some thorough research on the program you are pursuing before sinking the money and time into it. I assume you already have done a fair amount of this, but based on my personal experience, I wouldn't feel right without cautioning you.

What I have not yet learned is what the situation is in Taiwan. I wonder why it is that there are not more foreign attorneys practicing there. And I wonder what shortcomings arise from assuming that the legal environment in mainland might follow the same trajectory.
Thanks for your thorough reply. One thing I have heard during my own interviews, and seen from my own experience, is that working with a firm that already had a branch in mainland China is the best way to land a job in China. Most of those firms are big Vault 100s. Sounds like you are well on your way.

I have heard some of the same things about Chinese attorneys. Reliable English writing can be an issue. Professional quality is indeed a very serious issue in Chinese law firms as well. However, considering the large number of quality attorneys from China, and the hightening level of competition for legal jobs in China, generalizations are not that helpful.

Unless you a fluent (reading and writing) in legal Chinese (which is quite a strange beast at times), I think you'll find yourself relying on your Chinese speaking legal assistants a great deal. Can you imagine what would happen if that assistant were to get an American JD (perhaps at a top 5 law school, or a top 100), become fluent in English writing, and had some time as a corporate/transactional associate in the US? I think you'll understand me more once you have experience working in mainland China with such an assistant.

You place a great deal of importance on the ranking of a school, and that assumes that "ranking" (done by whomever) measures a clear difference in educational quality in most cases. You also state that many Chinese JDs have not yet graduated, which makes me wonder whether you are relying on anecdotal experience or outside data.

That's great that you will be spending two years in China. I assume that's where you'll be earning your LLM. I caution you to do some thorough research on the program you are pursuing before sinking the money and time into it. I assume you already have done a fair amount of this, but based on my personal experience, I wouldn't feel right without cautioning you.

What I have not yet learned is what the situation is in Taiwan. I wonder why it is that there are not more foreign attorneys practicing there. And I wonder what shortcomings arise from assuming that the legal environment in mainland might follow the same trajectory.
quote
You know, from reading everything and thinking about this situation, we are non-traditional attorneys and it's always going to be tough for us to break the mold. The path into a BigLaw firm has always been--> good grades --> summer assosicate --> get offer --> entry level. So, unfortunately for us coming outside of that path, there isn't an equation that says U.S. J.D. + China LLM = BigLaw Firm Job. I think it depends on the person and what angles you can market yourself at. But I do disagree that firms want someone with 5-10 years under their belt. (I saw your post before going to BeiDa and that seemed to be the general consensus. For some reason, things changed in the past year and firms that weren't interseted in talking to me for an informational interview when I told them I was going to get my BeiDa LLM are interested in talking to me about a job just one semester in... strange, isn't it? M&A and private equity have gone through the roof in China and Chinese outbound deals have doubled...I think this has the most to do with it).

Yes, it would be scary if your legal assistant went and got a J.D. But by that time, you'll be a fourth year associate and they would have just graduated. My point is, get in early while you can. When Chinese attorneys are getting J.D.s and tons of U.S. attorneys are getting Chinese LLMs, you'll already be a senior associate if not a junior partner. People have made a fortune in business ventures or inventions on the pure fact that they were first. You think the paper clip is that ingenious of an idea? or a magnet paper weight to hold those paper clips? but these people were probably shitting in tall cotton when the inventions were patented. There are senior partners at firms who have been with the firm for 25 years and, since the competition has gotten so hot and the firms have grown so much, they probably wouldn't be called in for a screening interview based on their old law school rankings/grades.

I place a lot of emphasis on rankings, not because I buy into them (I honestly think that ranking a school 50% based on reputation/prestige is a crock of shit. There are many schools in the midwest that would be ranked much much higher if they were in cities like NY, LA, etc.) but because firms do. And the reason firms buy into them is because clients do. Clients want to see Harvard, Stanford, Columbia on the website of a firm they shell out $400/hour for. And believe me, I know plenty of students from Berekely, UCLA, etc. that make horrible attorneys. And good students don't make good attorneys. But bad students don't always make good attorneys either. So, who are you going to pay $160K a year to? the student that is more likely to be a better attorney, and firms use the ranking of the school and the GPA to figure that out.

I have no idea what's going on in Taiwan! It would be interesting if you posted on here to update us!
You know, from reading everything and thinking about this situation, we are non-traditional attorneys and it's always going to be tough for us to break the mold. The path into a BigLaw firm has always been--> good grades --> summer assosicate --> get offer --> entry level. So, unfortunately for us coming outside of that path, there isn't an equation that says U.S. J.D. + China LLM = BigLaw Firm Job. I think it depends on the person and what angles you can market yourself at. But I do disagree that firms want someone with 5-10 years under their belt. (I saw your post before going to BeiDa and that seemed to be the general consensus. For some reason, things changed in the past year and firms that weren't interseted in talking to me for an informational interview when I told them I was going to get my BeiDa LLM are interested in talking to me about a job just one semester in... strange, isn't it? M&A and private equity have gone through the roof in China and Chinese outbound deals have doubled...I think this has the most to do with it).

Yes, it would be scary if your legal assistant went and got a J.D. But by that time, you'll be a fourth year associate and they would have just graduated. My point is, get in early while you can. When Chinese attorneys are getting J.D.s and tons of U.S. attorneys are getting Chinese LLMs, you'll already be a senior associate if not a junior partner. People have made a fortune in business ventures or inventions on the pure fact that they were first. You think the paper clip is that ingenious of an idea? or a magnet paper weight to hold those paper clips? but these people were probably shitting in tall cotton when the inventions were patented. There are senior partners at firms who have been with the firm for 25 years and, since the competition has gotten so hot and the firms have grown so much, they probably wouldn't be called in for a screening interview based on their old law school rankings/grades.

I place a lot of emphasis on rankings, not because I buy into them (I honestly think that ranking a school 50% based on reputation/prestige is a crock of shit. There are many schools in the midwest that would be ranked much much higher if they were in cities like NY, LA, etc.) but because firms do. And the reason firms buy into them is because clients do. Clients want to see Harvard, Stanford, Columbia on the website of a firm they shell out $400/hour for. And believe me, I know plenty of students from Berekely, UCLA, etc. that make horrible attorneys. And good students don't make good attorneys. But bad students don't always make good attorneys either. So, who are you going to pay $160K a year to? the student that is more likely to be a better attorney, and firms use the ranking of the school and the GPA to figure that out.

I have no idea what's going on in Taiwan! It would be interesting if you posted on here to update us!
quote
Job security is always an issue.

Not being able to go to the source law (much of the most important regulations are passed on the provincial, administrative and local level, which are often never translated) or being able to read the only valid version of the contract (in Chinese according to Chinese law) pretty much cuts your competence down to almost zero in China.

Since even in the US a huge number of associates never make partner, such a huge gap in one's professional skills such as not knowing the language fluently makes one's professional prospects extremely unpredictable.

The reason why you need US experience first is otherwise you can't practice law in China as a foreign advisor, according to Chinese law.

The good thing about being flexible and not overly invested in one country is that you can easily move to another Asian jurisdiction should something come up. A LLM in a unique system such as that of China's might counter that.

You mentioned ranking as an element of your argument. I'm not sure how your reply addresses that previous argument and its assumptions.

I'm sure that you are already a member of Don Clark's Chinalaw listserv. It's a great resource for addressing some of the issues you bring up.
Job security is always an issue.

Not being able to go to the source law (much of the most important regulations are passed on the provincial, administrative and local level, which are often never translated) or being able to read the only valid version of the contract (in Chinese according to Chinese law) pretty much cuts your competence down to almost zero in China.

Since even in the US a huge number of associates never make partner, such a huge gap in one's professional skills such as not knowing the language fluently makes one's professional prospects extremely unpredictable.

The reason why you need US experience first is otherwise you can't practice law in China as a foreign advisor, according to Chinese law.

The good thing about being flexible and not overly invested in one country is that you can easily move to another Asian jurisdiction should something come up. A LLM in a unique system such as that of China's might counter that.

You mentioned ranking as an element of your argument. I'm not sure how your reply addresses that previous argument and its assumptions.

I'm sure that you are already a member of Don Clark's Chinalaw listserv. It's a great resource for addressing some of the issues you bring up.
quote
I believe my reply squarely addressed my previous argument and "its assumptions" regarding rankings. I guess my response question is: how have your arguments addressed your own assumptions?

You seem to have your theory and I have mine, although I disagree with your view point, I do so respectfully as you have seemingly put in a lot of thought and effort into it. However, I suspect that most of your opinion is based on what others have said on the survey you sent out a while ago on the CLNET and not based on your own professional experiences. Believe me, I was rather apprehensive (just like you) but my gut told me to go and it worked out for me.

I just wanted to point out to others that might read this board that what you claim firms are looking for is not necessarily true for all firms. Your comments were rather disparaging of the marketability of a Chinese LLM and yet couched in a very black and white manner.

The proof for me is that I landed a job at a BigLaw firm and have interviews from firms that weren't interested in talking to me when I was a 2L or 3L. And I've spoken to hiring partners who weren't on CLNET and didn't answer your survey who think much differently and work for global firms with 3 Chinese offices.

I think the fact that not all associates make partners does not in any way, shape or form strengthen your argument. What does that have to do with getting or not getting an LLM in China? Chinese attorneys don't make partners at U.S. firms any more than U.S. attorneys--that's why we're called COGS for the first 6-7 years of our career.

What "gap" are you taling about? Is it just lacking language fluency? An attorney's "professional skills" are not limited to second language fluency--although it is undoubtedly important, what makes you think a Chinese attorney or a U.S. attorney who is fluent in Chinese is going to have a better chance at making partner? What makes you think that a Chinese attorney who was not educated in a common law country doesn't have a "huge gap" in his or her "professional skills"? Do you really think having language fluency will make up this gap for the Chinese attorneys so that he or she will then be made partner?

It's going to be a case by case basis and your blanket statement that law firms don't want U.S. attorneys with Chinese LLMs unless they also have 5-10 years of transactional experience at a BigLaw firm is not true for many BigLaw firms.
I believe my reply squarely addressed my previous argument and "its assumptions" regarding rankings. I guess my response question is: how have your arguments addressed your own assumptions?

You seem to have your theory and I have mine, although I disagree with your view point, I do so respectfully as you have seemingly put in a lot of thought and effort into it. However, I suspect that most of your opinion is based on what others have said on the survey you sent out a while ago on the CLNET and not based on your own professional experiences. Believe me, I was rather apprehensive (just like you) but my gut told me to go and it worked out for me.

I just wanted to point out to others that might read this board that what you claim firms are looking for is not necessarily true for all firms. Your comments were rather disparaging of the marketability of a Chinese LLM and yet couched in a very black and white manner.

The proof for me is that I landed a job at a BigLaw firm and have interviews from firms that weren't interested in talking to me when I was a 2L or 3L. And I've spoken to hiring partners who weren't on CLNET and didn't answer your survey who think much differently and work for global firms with 3 Chinese offices.

I think the fact that not all associates make partners does not in any way, shape or form strengthen your argument. What does that have to do with getting or not getting an LLM in China? Chinese attorneys don't make partners at U.S. firms any more than U.S. attorneys--that's why we're called COGS for the first 6-7 years of our career.

What "gap" are you taling about? Is it just lacking language fluency? An attorney's "professional skills" are not limited to second language fluency--although it is undoubtedly important, what makes you think a Chinese attorney or a U.S. attorney who is fluent in Chinese is going to have a better chance at making partner? What makes you think that a Chinese attorney who was not educated in a common law country doesn't have a "huge gap" in his or her "professional skills"? Do you really think having language fluency will make up this gap for the Chinese attorneys so that he or she will then be made partner?

It's going to be a case by case basis and your blanket statement that law firms don't want U.S. attorneys with Chinese LLMs unless they also have 5-10 years of transactional experience at a BigLaw firm is not true for many BigLaw firms.
quote
The key point is that you need to speak the language to be effective.

It sounds like you've got things pretty well mapped out. That's great. Best of luck to you.
The key point is that you need to speak the language to be effective.

It sounds like you've got things pretty well mapped out. That's great. Best of luck to you.
quote
Off topic, one of the many concerns regarding U.S. or foreign offices in China is that Chinese clients don't want to pay as much as foreign clients. Here's a little blurb from New York Lawyer (the original story is from a California journal)

"Over the past decade, scores of U.S. firms have planted flags in China, but many quickly discovered that while work was abundant, profits were more elusive. Fierce competition drove down billing rates, leading to wide-scale discounting as firms sought to gain market share.

While discounting is still common, law firm leaders say it's easing, especially for more complex work. That's partly because the Chinese economy has been on a tear, with a flood of foreign investment and related capital markets work, and a spike in the number of Chinese-based companies going public on the Shanghai exchange. The value of Chinese stocks has more than doubled in the last year alone."

Good news for us! I know many China offices are now expanding--hopefully it will continue this way.
Off topic, one of the many concerns regarding U.S. or foreign offices in China is that Chinese clients don't want to pay as much as foreign clients. Here's a little blurb from New York Lawyer (the original story is from a California journal)

"Over the past decade, scores of U.S. firms have planted flags in China, but many quickly discovered that while work was abundant, profits were more elusive. Fierce competition drove down billing rates, leading to wide-scale discounting as firms sought to gain market share.

While discounting is still common, law firm leaders say it's easing, especially for more complex work. That's partly because the Chinese economy has been on a tear, with a flood of foreign investment and related capital markets work, and a spike in the number of Chinese-based companies going public on the Shanghai exchange. The value of Chinese stocks has more than doubled in the last year alone."

Good news for us! I know many China offices are now expanding--hopefully it will continue this way.
quote
york
In case you didn't know, some of the best LAW schools in China include, as I understand them to be (in ranking): Beijing (Peking) U, Renmin U, Fudan, East China, Nanjing, and Xiamen and Zhongshan follow somewhere not far from this stratum.


I got this from a friend:

"For the benefit of those on the list who do not read Chinese, below is a complete translation of the 2007 rankings:

http://edu.sina.com.cn/focus/utop.html
Top Universities: 2007:
1. Tsinghua University
2. Beijing University
3. Zhejiang University
4. Shanghai Jiaotong University
5. Nanjing University
6. Fudan University (Shanghai)
7. Huazhong University of Science and Technology
8. Wuhan University
9. Jilin University (Changchun)
10. Xi'an Jiaotong University

http://edu.sina.com.cn/l/2007-01-08/1747136912.html
Top Law Schools:
2007:
1. A++ Beijing University
2. A++ People's University (Beijing)
3. A++ Wuhan University
4. A++ Tsinghua University
5. A+ China University of Political Science and Law (Zhengfa Daxue)
6. A+ Jilin University
7. A+ Fudan University
8. A+ Southwest University of Political Science and Law (Xinan Zhengfa Daxue)(Chongqing)
9. A Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (Zhongnan Caijing Zhengfa Daxue)
10. A Zhejiang University
11. A Xiamen University
12. A Zhongshan University
13. A East China University of Politics and Law
14. A Nanjing University
15. A Nankai University (Tianjin)
16. A Huazhong Normal University
17. A Suzhou University
18. A East China Normal University
19. A Shandong University"
<blockquote>In case you didn't know, some of the best LAW schools in China include, as I understand them to be (in ranking): Beijing (Peking) U, Renmin U, Fudan, East China, Nanjing, and Xiamen and Zhongshan follow somewhere not far from this stratum.</blockquote>

I got this from a friend:

"For the benefit of those on the list who do not read Chinese, below is a complete translation of the 2007 rankings:

http://edu.sina.com.cn/focus/utop.html
Top Universities: 2007:
1. Tsinghua University
2. Beijing University
3. Zhejiang University
4. Shanghai Jiaotong University
5. Nanjing University
6. Fudan University (Shanghai)
7. Huazhong University of Science and Technology
8. Wuhan University
9. Jilin University (Changchun)
10. Xi'an Jiaotong University

http://edu.sina.com.cn/l/2007-01-08/1747136912.html
Top Law Schools:
2007:
1. A++ Beijing University
2. A++ People's University (Beijing)
3. A++ Wuhan University
4. A++ Tsinghua University
5. A+ China University of Political Science and Law (Zhengfa Daxue)
6. A+ Jilin University
7. A+ Fudan University
8. A+ Southwest University of Political Science and Law (Xinan Zhengfa Daxue)(Chongqing)
9. A Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (Zhongnan Caijing Zhengfa Daxue)
10. A Zhejiang University
11. A Xiamen University
12. A Zhongshan University
13. A East China University of Politics and Law
14. A Nanjing University
15. A Nankai University (Tianjin)
16. A Huazhong Normal University
17. A Suzhou University
18. A East China Normal University
19. A Shandong University"
quote
The ranking posting above is an email that was posted to the Chinalaw listserv. Anyone who is interested in China should be on the listserv. Caution: It is a professional listserv, not a social one. http://hermes.gwu.edu/archives/chinalaw.html
The ranking posting above is an email that was posted to the Chinalaw listserv. Anyone who is interested in China should be on the listserv. Caution: It is a professional listserv, not a social one. http://hermes.gwu.edu/archives/chinalaw.html
quote

Reply to Post

Related Law Schools

Beijing, China 15 Followers 18 Discussions
Hong Kong, Hong Kong (PRC) 73 Followers 53 Discussions
Singapore 239 Followers 218 Discussions
Shenzhen, China 21 Followers 23 Discussions
Hong Kong, Hong Kong (PRC) 17 Followers 13 Discussions
Beijing, China 40 Followers 12 Discussions
Beijing, China 2 Followers 7 Discussions
Shanghai, China 10 Followers 5 Discussions

Related Articles

An In-depth Look at LL.M.s in China

May 18, 2018

A look at the LL.M. landscape in China, and some employment opportunities for graduates.

LL.M.s in China: Studying Law in a Whirlwind Economy

Sep 06, 2016

Western students can use an LL.M. to learn more about China’s evolving legal system. But for lawyers who want to work in the country, there are a few things to keep in mind.

A Gateway to the East? Asia-Focused LL.M. Programs

Dec 10, 2007

Can an LL.M. in Asia open doors for local and foreign lawyers in hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai?

More Articles