I. What are the conditions for law firms to apply to employ foreign lawyers?

1. A partnership law firm founded for more than three years (excluding its branches).

2. With more than 50 full-time practicing lawyers.

3. With relatively strong foreign-related legal service capability and standardized internal management.

(IV) With no record of any administrative penalty or industry disciplinary action within the last three years.

The law firms shall not allow or accept any form of investment or financial aid from foreign natural persons or foreign organizations.

II. What are the conditions for a foreign lawyer to be employed as a foreign legal consultant?

1. A natural person not having Chinese nationality.

2. A practicing lawyer with minimum two-year experience as a lawyer outside China.

3. With relatively strong capability to handle local and international legal affairs.

4. With no record of any criminal penalty, administrative penalty, or industry disciplinary action for violating professional ethics and practice discipline of lawyers.

5. Complying with corresponding permit regulations for foreigners to work in China.

III. What materials are required to employ a foreign lawyer as a foreign legal consultant?

(I) An application for filing of the foreign legal consultant to be employed by the law firm.

(II) Basic information form of the foreign legal consultant to be employed.

(III) A photocopy of the passport of the foreign lawyer to be employed.

(IV) A letter of commitment stating that the law firm has no foreign investment.

(V) Original and photocopy of the duplicate of the law firm's practicing license.

(VI) Reports on foreign-related business in the past three years, including the basic information on foreign-related legal talent, income from foreign-related business, business-related countries, and specific matters.

(VII) Employment contract signed by the law firm and the foreign lawyer. The employment contract shall meet the requirements of the Regulations on the Management of Employment of Foreigners in China, and cover such content as the employment period, salary, the scope of practice and methods, rights and obligations, and the ways for a foreign legal consultant to undertake fault liabilities, etc..

(VIII) Certification documents of the foreign lawyer's practice outside China, covering a minimum period of two years.

(IX) Certification documents proving that the foreign lawyer has no record of any criminal penalty and no record of any punishment due to violations of professional ethics or the practicing discipline of lawyers. A foreign lawyer previously serving as the chief representative or representative of the representative office of a foreign law firm in China is also required to provide his/her certification of no punishment record issued by the local department (bureau) of justice of the province (autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government) where the representative office is located.

The documents and materials listed in subparagraphs (VIII) and (IX) shall be subject to notarization of the notarization institution or public notary of the foreign lawyer's home country, the certification of the authority of foreign affairs of the country or the body authorized by the authority of foreign affairs, and the certification procedure of the Chinese embassy (consulate) in that country, with Chinese translations thereof provided.

IV. What is the application procedure to employ a foreign lawyer as a foreign legal consultant?

A law firm that has prepared the materials shall file an online application in the lawyer management system of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice, enter the relevant information as required, and submit the written materials to Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice for examination. Where the law firm meets the conditions of the pilot program, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice shall handle filing formalities within six months after accepting the application, issue a notice of filing and make registration on the duplicate of the law firm's practice license; where it fails to meet the prescribed conditions, the filing shall not be allowed and the reasons shall be made known to the applicant in writing.

V. How to implement the public notification on the employment of foreign legal consultants?

A foreign legal consultant completing the filing formalities according to the law shall be subject to the public notification on the lawyer management system of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice. The law firm employing the foreign legal consultant shall also complete the public notification on such employment on its official website.

VI. How to deregister the employment of foreign legal consultants?

To apply to deregister the employment of foreign legal consultants, a law firm shall file an online application in the lawyer management system of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice and submit a cancellation application. Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice shall, within 30 days after accepting the application materials, review the application, and cancel the filing registration before the public notification of the information thereon.

VII. Is annual assessment required for foreign legal consultants?

Yes. Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice shall be responsible for annual assessment of the foreign legal consultants on record. For a law firm that fails to participate in the annual assessment as required or has no conditions to employ any foreign legal consultant or for a foreign lawyer who fails to meet the conditions for such employment, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice shall disqualify the law firm from participating in the pilot program, or deregister the employment of the foreign legal consultant on record before the public notification of the information thereon.

VIII. What are the legal obligations foreign legal consultants shall comply with?

Law firms and their employed foreign lawyers shall comply with the provisions of the Lawyers Law of the People's Republic of China, Measures for the Administration of Law Firms, and other laws, regulations, and regulatory documents. The employment of foreign legal consultants by law firms shall be supervised and administered by judicial administrative organs. Judicial administrative organs shall include the employment of foreign legal consultants by law firms in the scope of regular inspection.  

(All information in this document is authentic in Chinese. English is provided for reference only. In case of any discrepancy, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

(Source: Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice)