Category: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

11/12/07

Permalink 10:43:50 am, by chinajob Email , 241 words, 241 views   English (US)
Categories: Candidates, Labor and Worker, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Huawei will suspend 'resignation' plan

HUAWEI Technologies Co Ltd has agreed to suspend its controversial "voluntary resignation" scheme after talks with trade unions, the All China Federation of Trade Unions said on Saturday.

The federation said it called on China's biggest maker of telecommunications network equipment to protect workers' interests after its plan sparked fears that the company was trying to sidestep a new labor law.

The federation and union organizations in Guangdong Province and Shenzhen City, where Huawei is headquartered, called on Huawei to solicit workers' opinions and respect their rights while making regulations related to their benefits.

Huawei would soon hold a workers' conference to review the interim regulations, sources with the ACFTU said. A company source confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that they had reached a consensus with the trade unions.

He said the company agreed to suspend the plan, but the exact date to implement it will be decided after workers' opinions were solicited at the conference since the plan was launched with their consent.

Huawei initiated a plan, calling for its staff who have worked for eight consecutive years to hand in "voluntary resignations," according to Nanfang Daily.

The staff would have to compete for their posts, and sign new labor contracts with the firm once they were re-employed, while those who lost out would receive compensation.

On Friday, officials with the Shenzhen Federation of Trade Unions met with a Huawei vice president and they reached a consensus on three issues.

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09/18/07

Permalink 02:55:53 pm, by chinajob Email , 205 words, 175 views   English (US)
Categories: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Probation Period Should Be Included In Chinese Labor Contracts

China's Labor and Social Security Department has issued a reminder in local media to new college graduates that their probation period should be included in labor contracts with employers as part of their employment term and the trial use period must not be more than six months.

Specifically, the Tianjin Municipal labor and Social Security Department has said that the probationary period is for the employer and the employee to mutually understand each other and make a mutual decision. According to relevant laws, a probationary period shall be set between an employer and its employee, but the period should be included in the formal labor contract.

According to China's new Labor Contract Law which is going to take effect on January 1, 2008, the probationary period must not be more than 1 month if the labor contract term is less than one year, and the probation period should not be over two months when the contract period is less than three years. The probation period for a labor contract whose term is more than three years should be less than six months.

In addition, the employer should only set one probation term with the employees, and during the probation period, the employer must offer social insurance for employees.

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08/23/07

Permalink 10:59:04 am, by dacare, 862 words, 290 views   English (US)
Categories: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

U.S. legal firms send work overseas to cut client bills

NEW YORK: Bruce Masterson, the chief operating officer of Socrates Media, asked his outside counsel to customize a residential lease for all 50 U.S. states in 2003. The firm's estimate: about $400,000. He rejected that price tag and hired QuisLex, in Hyderabad, India, which did it for $45,000.

"It was good quality," said Masterson, whose Chicago-based company publishes legal forms on the Internet. "We've been working together ever since."

Clients are pushing law firms like Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis to send basic legal tasks to India, where lawyers tag documents and investigate takeover targets for as little as $20 an hour. The firms are reacting to a trend that will move about 50,000 U.S. legal jobs overseas by 2015, according to Boston-based Forrester Research.

"The objective is to have only the most valuable people in London or New York, and the others in India, China or Columbus, Ohio," said Robert Profusek, co-head of the mergers and acquisitions practice at Jones Day in New York, who sends low-end work to the cheapest locations and plans to open a document center in India. "Lawyers are service providers. We are not gods."

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Companies with in-house legal departments in India include DuPont, Cisco Systems, and Morgan Stanley, according to ValueNotes Database.

The Indian legal-services industry will more than quadruple to $640 million by 2010 from $146 million in 2006, ValueNotes, of Maharashtra, India, said.

General Electric sends about $3 million a year in routine legal work to its Indian affiliate, said Janine Dascenzo, the GE managing counsel for legal operations.

"India has very talented lawyers," she said. "But it's a misconception that you can just send work there and it gets done. You need proper supervision and security."

Kirkland & Ellis, the seventh-largest U.S. law firm, works with offshore attorneys at the client's request, said Gregg Kirchhoefer, a senior partner in the firm's outsourcing and technology transaction practice.

"I'm not an advocate of offshoring legal services, but having worked in this area for so long, I understand the value of the model," he said. Typically, clients hire a provider and Chicago-based Kirkland helps manage the attorneys, Kirchhoefer said.

One incentive for corporations to send legal work overseas is that ethics rules compel law firms to disclose their profit margins. Traditionally, law firms charge clients markups of as much as three times what they pay associates and contract attorneys.

"Law firms can earn more by using labor they can mark up without disclosure," said Stephen Gillers, professor of legal ethics at New York University School of Law. "Clients are knowledgeable about costs, and they want to negotiate the markup on these charges."

Not every law firm has accepted the trend.

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"Some firms are spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt," says David Perla, co-chief executive of Pangea3, an offshore legal-services company based in New York and Mumbai. "They see any competition as bad and they'll raise any issues as to why you shouldn't go offshore."

Of the 10 highest-grossing U.S. law firms, seven declined to comment on outsourcing. Only one, Chicago-based Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, said it does not use the practice.

"I don't think law firms are ashamed of offshoring," Perla said. "The firms that are having success with it aren't talking, because they view it as a competitive advantage."

Of about 100 third-party legal services providers in India, clients give top marks to Pangea3 and New York-based Integreon Managed Solutions, according to The Black Book of Outsourcing, a survey published in July by Brown-Wilson Group, which is based in Clearwater, Florida.

About 80 percent of Pangea3's clients are corporations and 20 percent are law firms, Perla said.

"Some firms are coming to us because in-house clients suggested it or pressured them," Perla said. "Others want to come to the client first and offer a solution."

Integreon, which provides legal services in India, the Philippines and Fargo, North Dakota, has long-term contracts with about 45 companies and 15 law firms, said Liam Brown, the company's chief executive.

Law firms contribute 45 percent to offshore revenue, while corporate law departments contribute 36 percent, ValueNotes said.

Integreon recruits lawyers from second-tier law schools in India and managers from the litigation practices of firms such as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, said Brown. After training in India, managers relocate to New York or Los Angeles.

In India, legal education is based on common law and conducted in English, requiring two or three years of classes. The country produces about 80,000 law school graduates a year, according to ValueNotes, compared with about 44,000 in the United States.

Offshore companies charge $10 to $25 an hour on low-end work and $25 to $90 an hour on advanced jobs. Junior Indian lawyers might earn as much as $8,160 a year, according to ValueNotes, compared with the $160,000 average salary for associates in major U.S. cities.

Janice D'souza, a 26-year-old lawyer in Pangea3's litigation and research department in Mumbai, said she makes three times as much as she would at an Indian law firm.

"At an Indian law firm, generally your potential is not recognized at an early stage," D'souza said. "Here it's talent-based. In the near future, I think I will be a department manager."

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08/17/07

Permalink 10:23:50 am, by dacare, 347 words, 198 views   English (US)
Categories: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Baker & McKenzie's Profits per Partner Top $1 Million Mark

Baker & McKenzie, the world's largest law firm, has announced a 20 percent increase in its revenue this year.

The Chicago-based firm is set to announce today that it grossed $1.83 billion in its 2007 fiscal year, which ended June 30. That compared with $1.52 billion in 2006.

The firm will also report that, for the first time, its profits per partner were over the $1 million mark. The firm said it had profits per partner in 2007 of $1.06 million, up 22 percent from the year before.

Chairman John Conroy said Wednesday that he was pleased with the results, which he attributed to a strategic plan the firm adopted three years ago.

Since then, the firm has whittled its practices down to 11 core groups and has focused on deepening its relationships with the types of large multinational clients who can best utilize Baker & McKenzie's global network. The firm has 3,600 lawyers in 70 offices in 38 countries.

Conroy said the firm was focusing particularly on four key markets: New York, London, China and Japan. "We want to leverage the international positions we've had into these prioritized markets," he said.

He noted that Baker & McKenzie was the largest foreign law firm in China, including Hong Kong, with a total of 240 lawyers.

For such a large firm, Baker & McKenzie has long had a notably modest presence in New York. The firm made a major push into the market in 2005 when it hired most of the New York office of Coudert Brothers. Conroy said the firm had continued to expand through lateral hiring.

"We always knew if we had more critical mass in New York, we could take it to another level," he said. "This is the year we kicked it into gear."

Baker & McKenzie's results come in the wake of earnings announcements by the firms of London's Magic Circle, which it most resembles in terms of size and geographic sprawl. But those firms, with their strong London-based corporate practices, have generally been more profitable. This year was no exception, with firms like Linklaters and Clifford Chance mostly surpassing $2 billion in revenue and $2 million in profits per partner.

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07/07/07

Permalink 04:03:41 pm, by dacare, 266 words, 176 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Lehman, Lee & Xu and Italian Partner Carone & Partners Launch Italian Desk

Beijing, China, July 06, 2007 --(PR.com)-- Miss Valentina Salmoiraghi, an associate of the Italian law firm Carone & Partners will be working in Lehman, Lee & Xu’s Beijing Office, managing the firms' Italian Desk in China.

Starting on June 15th, she will be in charge of supporting the team of Italian and Chinese attorneys put together by Carone & Partners and Lehman, Lee & Xu to represent Italian Clients in China.

Italian companies can now rely on an Italian-speaking lawyer in China which will improve communication among the attorneys involved on the relevant projects. The decision to start the Italian Desk at Lehman, Lee and Xu has been taken in order to fulfill and satisfy the increasing number and complexity of requests of engagement that the allied firms are facing. Moreover, through the Italian Desk the firms will be in the best position to provide outstanding legal assistance to Chinese clients wishing to invest in Italy.

To learn more about the firms, please visit Carone & Partners at www.cplex.it and Lehman, Lee & Xu at www.lehmanlaw.com.

Carone & Partners is an innovative and dynamic Italian firm which combines the expertise of Italian and Chinese lawyers to assist clients in international transactions related to China and Italy/EU. The firm has offices in Milan and Rome.

Lehman, Lee & Xu is a prominent Chinese corporate law firm and trademark and patent agency. The firm has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macau, and Mongolia and is managed by Mr. Edward Lehman, who has two decades of legal experience in China.

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07/02/07

Permalink 11:07:35 am, by dacare, 628 words, 125 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Opinion and View, Candidates, Labor and Worker, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Key issue for China's new labor law: enforcement

By Jude Blanchette | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

Shanghai, CHINA - The comprehensive labor law that China's top legislative body passed Friday includes provisions that have appeared in previous legislation. But what may be different this time, some observers say, is the government's willingness to enforce mandates protecting workers' rights.

Scheduled to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, the law stipulates that employment contracts must be put in writing within one month of employment. It also says that employers must fully inform the worker of the nature of the job and of their working conditions and compensation. Furthermore, it limits the ability of employers to use temporary laborers.

But the law's impact lies in how the government interprets and enforces it. "As is always the case with China's laws, the real question will be in whether the new laws are enforced, how they are enforced, and against whom they are enforced," says Dan Harris, an expert at the law firm Harris & Moure.

But, he adds, "there is a feeling the new labor law is more likely to be enforced than the old and, in particular, will be enforced against foreign companies."

Indeed, organizations representing firms doing business in China have objected to certain provisions they say are unclear. In comments last year, the US-China Business Council warned, "The Draft Law may … reduce employment opportunities for PRC workers and negatively impact PRC's competitiveness and appeal as a destination for foreign investment."

On Friday, Xin Chunying, the deputy chairwoman of the National People's Congress Law Committee, tried to allay the fears of foreign companies. "If there were some bias," she said, "it would be in favor of foreign investors because local governments have great tolerance for them in order to attract and retain investment."

The law gives oversight power to labor unions for collective agreements and the implementation of new employment regulations, but because independent labor unions are illegal in China, this duty will fall to the government-sponsored All China Federation of Trade Unions, an organization with deep ties to the Communist Party and local government officials.

Since the first draft of the law was made public in 2005, it has gone through three drafts and elicited more than 190,000 comments from the public.

In a statement issued Sunday, the European Chamber of Commerce welcomed the law's passage, in part because it moved the labor market in the direction that many European countries have gone. According to a statement posted on their website, "After the comprehensive drafting process, the European Chamber is not concerned about the effect of the law on European investment in China."

Since its emergence as an economic powerhouse more than 20 years ago, China has been dogged by criticisms of poor working conditions, the use of child labor, and willingness to placate multinational corporations.

Friday's law comes as the government tries to deal with these complaints and dampen social unrest in rural areas. Indeed, the government is in the midst of a campaign to reduce the impact of the recent discovery of slavery-like conditions in Shanxi Province's brick factories.

Early last month, more than 400 parents from Henan Province whose children had been abducted posted an open letter on the Internet. Their children, it came out, had been sold to work in brick factories in Shanxi Province.

It has since been revealed that thousands of others have met similar fates at brick kilns, many of which are unlicensed After Chinese journalists picked up the story, it rapidly spread around the world, causing outrage and shame in China.

Last week the draft law was amended to punish officials who ignore labor abuses with prison time or other penalties. Ms. Xin said that "The labor contract law makes detailed provision concerning this issue following the exposure of the forced labor scandals."

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