Lawinnsight Graphs Downturn In China’s Legal Market

We’ve just received the latest edition of the Law innsight newsletter in our inbox and they have an interesting  piece detailing..

the downturn at major international firms operating in China.

They write:

Have we reached BOTTOM?

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Continued reports of layoffs chilled lawyers and staff of law firms in China during the late autumn and winter.  With the coming of spring is the chill gone?  Maybe.  Layoff statistics for April indicate a pause…..maybe an end to the layoffs.

The LawInn research team gathered information tracking firm downsizing and layoffs of lawyers and legal staff by law firms in China since early autumn.  We documented 167 employees laid off by 13 foreign law firms from their offices in Shanghai and Beijing in the last 6 months.  The monthly layoffs ranged from 4 to 79.  An average of 13 employees was laid off by each firm.  December (’08) and March (’09) were the peak months.  We know of only one layoff in April.

This data comes from these US and UK international law firms—Akin Gump, Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, DLA Piper, Herbert Smith, Jones Day, Linklaters, O’Melveny & Myers, Orrick, Paul Hastings, White & Case, Pillsbury and Mayor Brown.