China Justice Observer

中国司法观察

Big Data on Chinese Lawyers

Fri, 01 Jun 2018
Categories: Insights
Editor: C. J. Observer

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By Meng Yu &  Guodong Du 


The Ministry of Justice of China recently released a series of data on Chinese lawyers as of the end of 2017, including the number of lawyers, the number of lawsuits in which they acted as agents, and the number of clients they provided services for. According to Law of the People's Republic of China on Lawyers, the Ministry of Justice supervises and guides lawyers, law firms as well as lawyers associations. Therefore, it has held these data. Through these data, we are able to gain an overview of the current situation of Chinese lawyers. 

These data are as follows: 

There are more than 365 thousand lawyers in China, an increase of 11.5 percent over 2016. 

There are more than 30 thousand lawyers in Guangdong, more than 20 thousand lawyers in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu or Shandong, and more than 10 thousand lawyers in another nine provinces. 

Among all practicing lawyers, there are 335 thousand people in law firms,18 thousand people in the government, and 3,800 people in the company. Besides, 1,500 lawyers work for the military and over 6,600 lawyers dedicate themselves to legal aid. 

The lawyers under the age of 30, the number of which is 66 thousand, account for 18.2 percent. With the number being more than 233 thousand, those aged 30 (included) to 50 make up 63.9 percent. And those aged 50 (included) to 80, whose number is more than 61 thousand, represent 16.7 percent. 

A total of 5,100 lawyers in China have received education abroad and have obtained academic qualifications. 

There are more than 28 thousand law firms in China, an increase of 8.3 percent from 2016. 

The number of partnership law firms is 18 thousand, accounting for 66.5 percent of all law firms. State-owned law firms, whose number is 1,200, make up 4.3 percent. Individual law firms are more than 8,200, 29.2 percent of the total. 

There are more than 17 thousand law firms with fewer than 10 lawyers, accounting for 61.8 percent of all law firms. More than 8,900 law firms with 10 (included) to 30 lawyers account for 31.5 percent; more than 1,100 law firms with 30 (included) to 50 lawyers account for 4.1 percent; and more than 500 law firms with 50 (included) to 100 lawyers account for 1.8 percent. Moreover, there are more than 200 law firms with 100 lawyers or more, accounting for 0.8 percent. 

There are 242 law firms from 23 countries and regions that have set up 308 representative offices in Mainland China, including 244 representative offices of foreign law firms in China, and 64 representative offices of Hong Kong law firms in the Mainland. 

The associations, in the form of partnership, have been formed by eleven Hong Kong law firms and Mainland law firms. Four foreign law firms that have set up representative offices in Shanghai Free Trade Zone have joined up with Chinese law firms. 

In 2017, Chinese lawyers acted as agents in more than 4.65 million lawsuits, including over 684 thousand criminal cases, 3.817 million civil cases and 153 thousand administrative cases. 

In 2017, Chinese lawyers provided legal services for clients in more than 894 thousand non-litigation businesses. 

In 2017, Chinese lawyers served as legal counsels for more than 617 thousand enterprises, government offices, social groups and political parties. 

In 2017, Chinese lawyers provided pro bono (free) legal services for clients in 3,228 thousand cases. 

There are 7,827 Chinese lawyers who are representatives of People's Congresses or members of Political Consultative Conferences at different levels, 1939 or 32.9 percent more than the previous period. The People's Congress and the Political Consultative Conference can be regarded as the parliaments of China. 

More than 11.7 million lawyers are members of the Communist Party of China (CPC), accounting for 32 percent of China's 36.5 thousand lawyers. 

At the end of 2017, the member of CPC in lawyers increased by 18.2 percent compared to the end of 2016. 

In 2017, China's local judicial administrative organs punished 48 law firms and 194 lawyers, a growth of 200 percent and 125.6 percent respectively over 2016. Local lawyers associations disciplined 95 law firms and 417 lawyers, a growth of 39.7 percent and 52.2 percent respectively over 2016.


You may download this document: Big Data on Chinese Lawyers-CJO.pdf



If you would like to discuss with us about the post, or share your views and suggestions, please contact Ms. Meng Yu (meng.yu@chinajusticeobserver.com ).

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Huang Yanling also contributes to the post.

Contributors: Guodong Du 杜国栋

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