As China’s economy grows, the role of attorney is becoming more important. United States-based law firms are responding to this demand by expanding into Asia. However, the move can come with many social, economical and cultural barriers that need to be met with a well-focused business strategy.
“It helps to arrive there with a well-focused business strategy,” said David Patrick Eich, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Hong Kong. “We don’t flock shoot. We’re coming to China with a rifle. We decided in advance that we’re not going to just put up a bunch of lead and see which bird drops. Here the practice that was most immediately affected, and the practice to which we could add the most value in Asia was the private equity practice of our large buyout clients.”
“The competitiveness is due to the fact that China is a huge market.” explains Eich. “There is a vast amount of money coming into China from the Western world, and there is a very limited supply of lawyers who are bilingual, and have Western training, but a good understanding of the way the Chinese system works as well.”
This article appeared in its entirety in the March 30, 2007 edition of Chicago Lawyer.