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  • 2 Post By TigerSun
  • 3 Post By jonastainine
  • 1 Post By shri

Foreign Lawyers 'Loophole'

  1. #1

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    Foreign Lawyers 'Loophole'

    Interesting plans to plug a 'loophole' - wonder who is driving this and why.

    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...oreign-lawyers


  2. #2

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    Sounds like the Law Society is protecting locally qualified lawyers from foreign competition. Maybe there hasn’t been enough conveyancing work for the locals. Larger companies with bigger budgets tend to go for big firms and British solicitors. But more and more local companies with Chinese offices need lawyers versed in Chinese labour and tax law. That may be another reason but then why not just hire a Beijing firm?


  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonastainine
    Sounds like the Law Society is protecting locally qualified lawyers from foreign competition.
    That would make sense but as I understand it, foreign lawyers are already not allowed to practice (compete).
    The loophole is foreign lawyers provide in-house other-jurisdiction law expertise in the financial sector. A skill for which most local lawyers are not really qualified.
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  4. #4

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    Yep .. the competition from foreign lawyers is so intense!


    There are 1,500 registered foreign lawyers from 34 jurisdictions working in Hong Kong, accounting for 15 per cent of practising lawyers in the competitive legal market.

    Aside from 906 local firms, there are 85 pure foreign firms completely practising non-Hong Kong law and 30 joint associations between Hong Kong and foreign firms. The practices range from business transactions, litigations, to offshore wealth management.
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  5. #5

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    The Law Society has some funny rules that don’t make sense. This one I looked into recently:

    I am associated with a Dutch based legal organisation with many European firms referring cases to each other so clients get seemless advice across jurisdictions. So a US company using one of our member firms in the UK and has an issue in Russia then the UK firm can refer its Russian counterpart to the US client. Fees are shared according to an agreed upon formula. I tried setting this up in HK but the Law Society forbids a 3rd party benefiting from a referral. So in the above example if the UK firm refers the matter to a HK firm it is against the rules for the HK firm to pay a referral fee to the UK firm. But since HK is a major financial hub foreign firms need to be able to access HK firms profitably and the only way to that would be to open a HK branch or partner up with a local firm in the process having foreign lawyers on HK soil managing or working. So this no fee sharing rule actually takes work away from HK lawyers.

    TigerSun, HK_Katherine and spode like this.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by shri
    Yep .. the competition from foreign lawyers is so intense!

    Yes but those are the most lucrative kind of work. And don’t forget about the barristers. Go ask a firm for a list of top barristers and you will find a lot of WASPs.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonastainine
    Yes but those are the most lucrative kind of work. And don’t forget about the barristers. Go ask a firm for a list of top barristers and you will find a lot of WASPs.
    Same can be said for schools/tutors in HK.
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  8. #8

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    Also, for the record, the last time I looked at the list about 10-15 years ago... Martin Lee was the most expensive barrister in town.

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