China’s legal market in 2019: 473,000 practicing lawyers and 32,000 law firms

As of the end of 2019, there were more than 473,000 practicing lawyers nationwide. 18 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) with more than 10,000 lawyers, including 4 provinces (municipalities) with more than 30,000 lawyers, namely Beijing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shandong.

On June 22, the Ministry of Justice issued statistics of China’s legal sector in 2019.

The statistics are as follows:

1. The number of Chinese Lawyers: 473,000 practicing lawyers

As of the end of 2019, there were more than 473,000 practicing lawyers nationwide. 18 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) with more than 10,000 lawyers, including 4 provinces (municipalities) with more than 30,000 lawyers, namely Beijing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shandong.

More than 15,000 party and government organs, people’s organizations and more than 3,000 enterprises have carried out the work of public lawyers and corporate lawyers.

China's legal market in 2019: 473,000 practicing lawyers and 32,000 law firms

From the types of lawyers, there are more than 397,300 full-time lawyers, accounting for 84%, more than 12,500 part-time lawyers, accounting for 2.66%, more than 43,300 public lawyers, accounting for 9.17%, more than 10,900 company lawyers, accounting for 2.31%, the army 1500 lawyers, accounting for 0.32%.

In terms of ages, there are more than 80,500 lawyers under the age of 30, accounting for 17.03%. There are more than 302,700 lawyers between the ages of 30 and 49, accounting for 64.00%.

There were 76,600 lawyers aged 50 to 64, accounting for 16.07%, and more than 13,000 lawyers aged 65, accounting for 2.90%.

China's legal market in 2019: 473,000 practicing lawyers and 32,000 law firms

In terms of education, there are more than 353,300 lawyers with bachelor degree, accounting for 74.71%, more than 93,900 lawyers with master degree, accounting for 19.86%, and more than 6,600 lawyers with doctor degree, accounting for 1.40%. There are more than 19,000 lawyers with undergraduate degree, accounting for 4.03%.

China's legal market in 2019: 473,000 practicing lawyers and 32,000 law firms

There are 7,735 lawyers who have received education and obtained a degree in foreign countries or regions, accounting for 1.48%.

2. The number of Chinese law firms: 32,000 law firms

As of the end of 2019, there were more than 32,000 law firms nationwide. Among them, there are more than 19,400 partnership law firms, accounting for 59.55%, more than 970 state-owned firms, accounting for 2.98%, and more than 9,200 individual firms, accounting for 28.47%.

China's legal market in 2019: 473,000 practicing lawyers and 32,000 law firms

Judging from the scale of law firms, there are more than 21,000 law firms with 10 or fewer lawyers, accounting for 65.57%, and more than 6,860 law firms with 11 to 20 lawyers, accounting for 21.06%. There are more than 3,420 law firms with 21 to 50 lawyers, accounting for 10.48%.

There are 620 law firms with 51 to 100 lawyers, accounting for 1.90%, and more than 320 law firms with 100 or more lawyers, accounting for 0.99%.

3. China’s legal market

In 2019, lawyers across the country handled more than 11.19 million cases of various legal affairs. Among them, lawyers handled more than 6.108 million litigation cases, handled more than 1.336 million non-litigation transactions, and served as legal counsel for more than 730,000 party and government organs, organizations, enterprises and institutions.

Of the more than 6.108 million litigation cases handled by lawyers, more than 1.094 million were criminal cases, accounting for 17.91% of litigation cases; more than 4.792 million were civil litigations, accounting for 78.45% of litigation cases; and more than 189,000 were administrative litigation cases, accounting for 3.1% of litigation cases.

Lawyers represented more than 33,000 complaints, accounting for 0.54% of litigation cases.

In 2019, lawyers provided more than 1.348 million public welfare legal services (pro bono), of which more than 904,000 legal aid cases were handled, and more than 250,000 cases were handled for the public.

Lawyers have mediated more than 175,000 cases and participated in the handling of more than 17,000 cases on urban management law enforcement. Lawyers have provided more than 1.096 million times of free legal services for vulnerable groups, served as legal advisers for more than 600,000 villages (residents), and established more than 260,000 village (resident) legal advisers WeChat groups.

4. Opening up of Chinese legal industry

As of the end of 2019, law firms from 23 countries and regions have established 303 representative offices in China.

Among them, there are 225 representative offices of foreign law firms in China, 64 representative offices of Hong Kong law firms in the mainland, and 14 representative offices of Taiwan law firms in the mainland.

There are 12 Hong Kong and Macao law firms that have established partnership-type joint-venture law firms with mainland law firms, and 7 foreign law firms that have established representative offices in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone have established joint ventures with Chinese law firms.

Chinese law firms have established a total of 154 branches overseas, handling more than 60,000 various legal affairs.

4. Grassroots legal services

The developments of grassroots legal services in China are as follows:

1. Grassroots legal services workers

As of the end of 2019, there were more than 15,000 grassroots legal service institutions nationwide, including more than 9,400 township offices, accounting for 61%; and more than 5,900 street offices, accounting for 39%.

There are 67,000 grassroots legal service workers in the country, among which there are more than 33,000 grassroots legal service workers practicing in towns and rural areas, accounting for 51%.

There are more than 34,000 grassroots legal service workers practicing in the street-level administration areas, accounting for 49%.

2. Grassroots legal services

In 2019, grassroots legal service workers across the country handled more than 771,000 litigation cases; handled more than 194,000 non-litigation legal affairs.

They served as legal advisors to more than 91,000 party and government organs, people’s organizations, enterprises and institutions, and participated in more than 82,000 arbitration cases.

In 2019, grassroots legal service workers provided a total of more than 530,000 public welfare legal services, including handling more than 173,400 legal aid cases, participating in more than 295,000 people’s mediation, and receiving and handling more than 70,000 complaint cases.

Grassroots legal service workers served as legal advisors for more than 35,000 villages (residents) and provided more than 514,000 free legal services to the weak and the needed.

Disclaimer: This is an article created by Michael Liang for Chinasdg.org. You can find the original article here: https://chinasdg.org/2020/06/24/china-s-legal-market-in-2019-473000-practicing-lawyers-and-32000-law-firms/.

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