Category: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

01/15/10

Permalink 07:13:21 am, by dacare, 402 words, 737 views   English (US)
Categories: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

EMPLOYMENT LAW ALLIANCE EXPANDS PRESENCE IN CHINA

San Francisco -
Partners from the Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Shenzhen and Haikou offices of Jun Le Law Office Join ELA

SAN FRANCISCO – The Employment Law Alliance (ELA) has added five new member offices across China, giving the network an on-the-ground presence in 30 member offices in Asia. The ELA is the world's largest network of more than 3,000 specialized labor and employment lawyers dedicated to assisting employers with legal needs in the U.S. and internationally.

The recent additions are partners from the China-based Jun Le Law Office and include: Dongpeng Wang in the Beijing office, Jianjun Ma in the Shanghai office, Jie Li in the Dalian Office, Xueyong Jiang in the Shenzhen office, and Ruhai Xia in the Haikou office.

“International corporations have long been attracted to China’s extraordinary economic growth and are rapidly opening facilities throughout the country. Ensuring the companies’ policies are compliant with Chinese labor and employment laws is difficult as the laws often vary from city to city,” said Stephen J. Hirschfeld, Esq., CEO of the ELA. “The ELA gives multi-national companies comprehensive, efficient and cost-effective assistance on the ground in each city, region and jurisdiction via truly local experts. We are thrilled to be working with partners at Jun Le as these highly regarded attorneys have intimate knowledge of China’s business practices and employment regulations.”

The ELA offers in-house counsel and human resource executives comprehensive legal guidance in every U.S. state and internationally. Its Global Employer Handbook allows free, 24/7 access to updated legal reference materials and information. The ELA also serves as a resource for trends and issues in employment via its America At Work polls on matters impacting daily business operations around the globe.

“We are pleased to be working collaboratively with our fellow ELA members around the globe. Not only will we be offering our employment law expertise here in China, but our clients with international operations will benefit tremendously from our ability to tap a wealth of reputable legal resources in the vast majority of the world. Not even a global law firm is able to provide such comprehensive experience and coverage,” said Wang.

About The Employment Law Alliance:
The Employment Law Alliance is the world's largest network of labor and employment lawyers. With specialists in all 50 states and more than 100 countries, the ELA provides multi-state and multi-national companies with seamless and cost-effective services worldwide. On the net at: www.employmentlawalliance.com.

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03/04/09

Permalink 01:03:51 pm, by dacare, 207 words, 665 views   English (US)
Categories: Candidates, Labor and Worker, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

China: Labor disputes up 95 percent last year

BEIJING: Labor-related lawsuits nearly doubled in China last year mainly due to mass factory shutdowns, a senior official with the Supreme Court said.

A manufacturing powerhouse, China's factories were hard hit when overseas demand for their exports evaporated in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Shen Deyong, vice president of the Supreme People's Court, said at a news conference Monday that the number of labor-related lawsuits filed in 2008 jumped 95 percent, marking the biggest on-year increase of any type of suit.

He said most of the cases were filed in the country's coastal southeast, home to a string of factory hubs. In some areas, labor suits increased about 200 percent compared to 2007, he said, without giving specific figures.

The spike in labor lawsuits was "closely connected to businesses slumping and factories being shut down," he said.

"When they face difficulties, these businesses often reduce their costs by cutting the labor force and salaries," he said.

He said a new labor contract law that came into effect at the start of last year and rising public awareness of worker's rights also contributed to the rise in cases.

Unemployment is a major concern for China's communist leadership because of fears it could trigger social unrest and demands for political reform.

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12/21/08

Permalink 04:04:51 pm, by dacare, 587 words, 167 views   English (US)
Categories: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Legal job market tightens in China 2009

The outlook provided by both employers and legal recruitment agencies is not so positive for legal job seekers in China. Unlike in the past few years, when employment opportunities for legal professionals was plentiful, 2009 will see a continuing reduction in legal recruiting opportunities as the global economy slows.

“Except for a few newcomers to the market from the US and the UK, existing foreign and even local law firms will continue cost-cutting measures to avoid redundancies and trim their teams in China to the right size,” said Xia, founder and managing director of DaCare Legal Career.

According to Xia, a wait-and-see mentality will characterise the job market, at least for the first quarter of 2009. Capital markets and real estate attorneys will either be let go or redeployed to working on M&A or even FDI deals. Attorneys in the M&A and private equity practice areas should not worry too much about losing jobs, although PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest report has revealed that the number of M&A deals in the Mainland have almost halved compared to the same period in 2007. The safest practice areas are expected to include employment, litigation, distressed assets, restructuring and bankruptcy.

A managing partner of a well-established international firm in Beijing, who did not wish to be identified, confirmed Xia’s prediction. He noted that a number of international firms in China have laid off legal staff in the past few months and around 80% of the international law firms here are currently experiencing a relatively quite time.

One of the reasons for the rising number of job casualties was the aggressive expansion of some firms who hired a large number of lawyers from local law firms earlier this year. Many leading local firms told ALB that they would slow down on recruitment plans, but would not stop taking on good talent.

Nevertheless, there remains some good news for employers with a budget and partners who are looking to move.

“Some clients are taking advantage of this special market situation to upgrade their team so with the same budget they can now put a better team together,” said Xia. “Another interesting phenomenon is that partner search, contrary to common understanding, is thought to become more active, especially for those who carry a book of business.”

The in-house side will also see a similar pattern and outlook. The financial crisis will trickle along the ‘food chain’, slowing down many industries including auto, shipping and hi-tech. Some in-house openings will become available, especially for mid- to senior-level counsels with a high degree of independence. The market will further concentrate on hiring more local talent, partly as a cost reduction effort, partly for being more effective.

One uncertainty, though, is to what extent multinational companies will turn to the China market for a solution when their home markets are experiencing serious trouble. “It’s very likely that many MNCs will come to this market, as a better option. General counsel will need to be better prepared for more hands-on work when application for headcount in 2009 will be frustrating and excruciating,” said Xia.

In the light of salary trends in 2009, it will be unrealistic to expect any salary hike. Xia suggested that job candidates will set their eyes more on guaranteed payment, rather on ‘target bonus’ or long-term incentives where the company performance part of salaries is a big question mark.

“Candidates will be more cautious when switching jobs, though some will actively look for a change if they are in a precarious industry,” Xia said.

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09/13/08

Permalink 07:35:42 pm, by dacare, 778 words, 252 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Investing in China, Candidates, Labor and Worker, Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms, HR News Express

China's visa rule to make hiring expats tough

China has begun tightening its work visa application process for foreigners to keep out people with a criminal record, but critics say the implementation of the provision is "ill-conceived" and will impede even Fortune 500 companies' ability to hire expatriate talent.

Under the amended rules, foreigners applying for - or renewing - work visas (Z visas) must additionally submit a certificate from a police station in their home country - and authenticated by the Chinese embassy in that country - declaring that the applicant does not have a criminal record.

Initially, the additional paperwork requirement will apply only for foreign workers in Guangdong, the booming province in southern China that's better known as the "world's factory floor". But given that Guangdong has always been a "laboratory" for China's economic and administrative reforms, the provision is certain to be implemented nationwide, reckon immigration lawyers and business consultants.

The new regulation may have been inspired by some recent instances of Chinese businesses being defrauded by foreign-national employees who (it was later revealed) had previous criminal records in their home countries, say lawyers.

In itself, the 'no criminal record' certification isn't an unreasonable requirement. "The motive (for the introduction of the new provision) is to put in place reasonable criteria for people to obtain a work permit," says Chris Devonshire-Ellis, senior partner at Dezan Shira & Associates, a professional services firm providing FDI, legal, tax, accounting and due diligence services for multinational corporations.

But there are "serious shortcomings" in the manner in which it has been implemented, he adds. "It will have a negative impact on the ability of foreign-invested enterprises in China to be properly managed, and a negative impact in the way foreign business people view China as being a reasonable place to work."

As a result of this provision, "it's going to be very frustrating for well-meaning businessmen and employers to get the right quality of senior executives and expatriate personnel into position in China," says Devonshire-Ellis.

Indians face 'discrimination'. In particular, notes Devonshire-Ellis, "certain nationalities, among them Indians, face discrimination in obtaining China visas purely on the basis of their passport."

Although this appears to be a haphazard situation, implemented differently across the country, China's administrative infrastructure appears unable to determine whether an individual is "undesirable" or a senior executive in a multinational. "This is becoming an area of concern and is damaging China's foreign direct investment environment," he adds.

There appears to have been "little or no dialogue" between Chinese immigration authorities and the international community about the implications of putting in place the 'no criminal record' regulation, says Devonshire-Ellis.

In some countries, like New Zealand, there is no such certification process in the first place. In others, such as the US, "there is no formal or well-defined procedure to obtain such a document."

In effect, China has invoked its domestic administrative system, which is based on the restrictive hukou (household registry) system, and imposed it on foreign nationals who apply for a work visa. Under the hukou system, a Chinese national's personal records are stored in their hometown, which is their place of birth. All requests to relocate in China or to engage in business are serviced by the local police station in the hometown, notes Devonshire-Ellis. "But such a procedure simply cannot be assumed to be in place in other countries, and in fact it largely isn't," he observes.

Complying with the new regulation is also fraught with logistical nightmares for those who are already working in China and need to renew their visas. "The request for a certificate from a police station in the applicant's country of origin ignores the fact many expats have worked overseas for years and may not have any contacts with their local police station in their home country," points out Devonshire-Ellis. "Second, it requires an expensive trip back home to secure such documentation."

In any case, in many countries, the administrative procedure to supply such a document does not exist. Even if it does, it's unlikely to be issued by "the local police station" in countries such as the United Kingdom, most European nations, and the US and Canada, where the registry of criminal offenders is maintained at a national, not local, level.

The latest work visa measure comes barely five months after China tightened the provision for securing business (F) visas and tourism (L) visas. In the run-up to the Olympics, and following the riots in Tibet in March, China introduced stringent provisions that still remain in place. Immigration lawyers in Shenzhen expect the F visa and L visa provisions to be relaxed a bit after the Paralympics in Beijing, but with greater monitoring to prevent their abuse.

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04/01/08

Permalink 01:03:18 pm, by dacare, 334 words, 196 views   English (US)
Categories: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

Rochester Nixon Peabody Opens Office in Shangai, China

By Elizabeth Stull

The law firm of Nixon Peabody LLP on Monday announced the opening of its Shanghai office, the firm's first office in Asia and its second office overseas.

Scott Turner, managing partner of Nixon Peabody's Rochester office, said the Shanghai location will benefit Upstate companies interested in China, and Chinese companies interested in coming to Upstate New York

"For Upstate clients it means a whole lot, because we've found a huge interest in our Chinese marketplace," particularly among optics companies," Turner said.

The new office is located on the 18th floor of the Bund Center, a distinctive luxury commercial skyscraper completed in 2002 and flanked by Westin luxury hotels on Yan An East Road, near Shanghai's historic commercial Bund area.

Nixon Peabody plans to staff the office with a rotating team of two West Coast U.S. partners, James C. Chapman and Daniel Deshon. Chapman is a partner in the firm's Silicon Valley office who represents companies conducting business in China. Deshon, of San Francisco, was managing partner of O'Melveny & Myers LLP's Hong Kong office from 1999 to 2003. Nixon Peabody plans to add permanent legal staff in Shanghai in the near future.

Lori Green, a corporate transactional partner in Rochester, said a dozen U.S. attorneys regularly work with the China group, either on "inbound or outbound work" for companies looking to work inside or outside of China. Partners Harry P. Trueheart III (Nixon Peabody LLP chairman), Peter H. Durant, Jean H. McCreary and Richard A. McGuirk are among this group.

"China has one of the most dynamic economies in the world today," Truehart said. "Our new Shanghai office offers unique opportunities for our clients' growing business needs as we help U.S. companies understand and navigate the complexities of doing business in China."

Nixon & Peabody's China group advises clients on how to structure venture capital and private equity investments in China, resolve business and trade disputes, protect and enforce intellectual property rights, and structure and document acquisitions of Chinese domestic companies.

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12/07/07

Permalink 12:59:32 pm, by chinajob Email , 345 words, 298 views   English (US)
Categories: Lawyer, Attorney & Law Firms

New law to protect rights of workers under contract

THE Shanghai Labor and Social Security Bureau yesterday issued guidance for workers and employers when the new Labor Contract Law comes into effect on January 1 next year.

The bureau has issued a pamphlet to explain the new law to business to avoid breaching regulations when signing contracts with employees.

Adopted on June 29 by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, the Labor Contract Law aims to improve workers' rights and establish a stable and harmonious relationship between them and their employers.

The new law splits contracts into three types - fixed-term, open-term and job-based.

An open-term contract should be signed after workers have been employed by the same unit for 10 years.

Wang Yang, director of the labor relation department of the bureau, said: "Previously when laborers worked for 10 years for the same enterprise, the company would discuss whether to sign an open-term contract with the worker, so it depended on the employer. But after the Labor Contract Law takes effect, it will depend on the employees, if they meet the circumstances."

Wang also said the rights of laborers on probation were often infringed upon. The new law stipulates that the probation period should not exceed one month if the period of the labor contract is less than one year, and not be more than six months if the contract period is more than three years.

It also requires the salary of the probationer should not be less than 80 percent of the lowest salary for the same post.

According to the new law, businesses should set up a collective consultation system under which, when the employers make important decisions on issues such as salary, vacation, training and discipline, they should put their plans to a meeting attended by representatives of workers for discussion.
The law also has specific stipulations on the implementation and termination of contracts, with the aim of establishing a stable relationship with workers.

China's current labor contract system was set up in the Labor Law enacted in 1995. The Labor Contract Law is the country's first law governing contracts.

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