Doing Business with the People’s Republic of China: The Role of Foreign Lawyers

This article describes the nature of a legal practice involving business transactions with entities in the P.R.C. and the role of the foreign, or non-national, lawyer in such transactions. Part I focuses on the increasing volume of Chinese legislation and international agreements affecting foreign trade and investment in the P.R.C., and the difficulties of keeping abreast of and interpreting this recent legislation. Part II examines the role of foreign lawyers in Chinese business transactions. It also discusses the need for competence in the Chinese language, practical problems encountered in practicing in the P.R.C., and the use of local Chinese counsel. Finally, in part III, this article examines the working relationship that has developed between foreign and Chinese lawyers.