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Post# A373276

As a foreigner, how can I ask a lawyer to help in China?

Posted On: Monday, 29 July, 2019
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There are several prerequisites for the issues we discuss here:
You are a foreigner holding a passport other than a Chinese passport.
You have encountered some things that need to be handled within the jurisdiction of Chinese law.
You are willing to pay a certain amount of money to exchange the professional services of Chinese lawyers.

In addition, we will not discuss here how to find a Chinese lawyer who can serve you. Although Chinese lawyers who can really serve you may not be easy to find: they can only be Chinese nationals, they need to first take one to two years to prepare and pass the legendary China’s top difficult judicial qualification test (as far as I know, the recent pass rate is 40,000 per 650,000 people), and then another one to two years full-time professional internships, which are not counting the four to seven years of study time they spent in law school. . . and they have the ability to serve a foreign client, in addition to the necessary legal English (not ordinary communicative English) ability, they also need to have the ability to understand and view things from your perspective and background and can give you feedback on his professional opinions from a way you can understand because these two points are the basis of communication. If you can't find a Chinese lawyer who is trustworthy and qualified for the commission you are encountering to, I suggest you to talk to me. My email address is ginwang@duanduan.com.

What we are discussing here includes a few pieces:
1. What you may need to ask a Chinese lawyer to help you for;
2. How to distinguish between middlemen who call themselves “lawyers” and real Chinese lawyers and why you should consider finding a Chinese lawyer without a middleman to help you;
3. The privileges and values ​​of Chinese lawyers within the jurisdiction of Chinese law;
4. Some other legal requirements you need to know about Chinese lawyers;

1. What you may need to ask a Chinese lawyer to help you for?
In fact, you may need a lawyer more than you think. Let me give you an example:
You signed a labor contract with a company, but the contract was written in Chinese. The employer kindly provided you with an English translation for your reference, but it clearly stated that if there is a difference between the two languages, the Chinese version shall prevail. You may think that you only need a qualified translator, but in fact a qualified Chinese lawyer is the right choice because:
1. Translator does not know whether the terms of the labor contract are legal. For example, for a labor contract with a three-year term, the probation period must not exceed two months, and the wages must be paid in these two months. The salary amout must not be lower than 80% of the payment of the same work in the company or local minimum wage.
2. Translator does not understand sufficient vocabulary and phrase at the legal level, such as competition restrictions, parachute clauses or the difference between labor compensation and reimbursement, letting along explaining the meaning of them to you.
3. The most troublesome thing is that many statements on labor contracts, such as job descriptions, compensatory rest and relocation, statutory dissolution and dismissal, labor arbitration, etc., are directly related to your work environment, income, loss and preparations before a dispute, such as obtaining evidence or resigning complying with a legal process, which often leads to a situation that many foreign workers start with getting a satisfactory job in China, but leaving with regrets. In order to protect your legitimate right of workers, a Chinese lawyer is required to provide you with contract review, consultation and legal advice. There are many other similar things. For example, if you bought fake and shoddy goods in China, if you are injured or have been illegally violated, if you have encountered divorce, property dividing or a child custody dispute with a Chinese citizen or a marriage concluded in China, or if because of certain behaviors, you have been investigated by the state's public authority or restricted freedom, or if you have to do house sales or financial planning, sign a service or purchase and sales contract, etc., a qualified China lawyer can provide advice or representation service from a Chinese legal perspective in a way that you can understand.

2. How to distinguish between middlemen who call themselves “lawyers” and real Chinese lawyers and why you should consider finding a Chinese lawyer to directly help you;
Chinese lawyers, or Chinese licensed lawyers, have the following characteristics: (a) must be Chinese citizens holding Chinese passports, (b) must hold the "People's Republic of China Lawyer License" issued by the Ministry of Justice of China. The license has a unique license number (such as the majority of Chinese lawyers in Shanghai are with numbers starting with 13101), (c) must rely on a law firm to practice, and he is not allowed to sign an engagement agreement with the client. The engagement must be signed with the law firm in which the lawyer is attached with, and the law firm will assign the lawyer afterwards to serve you.
For the following reasons, I suggest you to work with Chinese lawyers directly, rather than through intermediaries:
(a) Fees: Intermediaries usually charge an introduction fee, which is common in the legal profession. This fee is paid to the middleman by the lawyer introduced. Therefore, the final lawyer's fee will be higher, as the old saying in China: the wool is on the sheep;
(b) Errors and misunderstandings: Intermediaries are usually not Chinese legal professionals. Information through their translation, retelling, transmission, and interpretation is often biased. In many cases, errors and misunderstandings are fatal to things that touch the legal level.
(c) Omission or concealment: by language or space barriers, for some intentional or unintentional motives, intermediaries often have omissions or concealment when transmitting case information, which is often fatal.
(d) Disclosure: the lawyer will sign a confidentiality clause with you, and the middleman will not and for most of the time, you do not want your privacy or secret to be known and leaked by others.
(e) Assessment and responsibility: Lawyers found through intermediaries usually do not directly connect with you or are directly responsible to you. When they do not have to face you and your problems, pain, embarrassment, or sadness directly, you cannot expect these to be fully introduced and understand. Sometimes the lawyers introduced may be friends of the middlemen. More often, they may only be someone met for one time. You lack intuitive contact and evaluation so more often, your entrustment to the lawyers is based on friends' judgement, not your own.
(f) Risk: Lawyers have practising insurance and professional ethics to be responsible and compensated for you, while the middleman does not.

3. The privileges and values ​​of Chinese lawyers within the jurisdiction of Chinese law;
(a) When you are in a Chinese detention center or prison, Chinese lawyers can visit you unconditionally at soonest, while others cannot.
(b) Chinese lawyers will not be monitored during visiting you,
(c) Chinese lawyers have the privilege of investigating and obtaining evidence, even if the Public Security Bureau, the Bank, the Real Estate Trading Center, and Tencent need to cooperate,
(d) Chinese lawyers can witness certain special acts of yours, such as the making of wills or the signing of documents, and
(e) Chinese lawyers can issue legally binding warnings to your goals, and in many cases such letters can solve problems efficiently.

4. Some other legal requirements you need to know about Chinese lawyers;
(a) Chinese lawyers are not allowed to sign a lawyer engagement agreement with a client in their own name. Those engagement must be signed by the law firm where they are located with the client, and then the lawyer will be assigned to the client to provide services. Otherwise, the lawyer will be punished by fines and suspension of business,
(b) Complaints against the lawyers at the bar associations where the Chinese lawyers are located are generally effective,
(c) The fees for many lawyer services are legally restricted, especially for criminal cases, and
(d) The methods of collecting lawyers' fees in China mainly include: pre-agreed fees, rate-based fees, time-based fees, and risk agency fees.
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