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The Law Society has always been supportive of identifying opportunities for young lawyers to gain exposure in the international arena and in mainland China. In October 2011, two young lawyers, Mr Tai Kam Cheung of Wilkinson & Grist and Mr Matthew Yim of Tanner de Witt, were awarded sponsorship by the Law Society to attend the 9th China Lawyers’ Forum held in Qingdao, Shangdong.
Both Mr Tai and Mr Yim found the experience rewarding, and below are their afterthoughts on the Forum:
Tai Kam Cheung
I attended the forum on Development of Young Lawyers after the opening ceremony of the Forum held in the morning of 19 October. I was particularly impressed by the sharing of a ‘post-80s’ PRC lawyer who established her own law firm before she reached the age of 30. According to the speaker, her firm has around 30 lawyers. And among them, more than 80% are from the ‘post-80s generation’. She believes that a young lawyers should never limit himself or herself in the comfortzone. Instead, young lawyers should keep exploring opportunities for career development and should be ready for challenges.
Throughout the forum, there were many occasions where we exchanged our views on various aspects of thePRC’s development with delegates from other provinces or cities in the PRC. Apart from the legal system, substantive laws, procedural laws, local practices and customs, professional and ethical issues were also being discussed. These exchanges have definitely helped in promoting legal education and advancing the learning of the law, not only for the participants from Hong Kong, but also for the participants from all other parts of the PRC.
The interaction between the participants is not a one-off exercise. In fact, I keep contact with some delegates from Guangzhou even after the closing of the forum. From the on-going interaction, I got to know more about the culture of the legal profession in the PRC, in particular Guangzhou. It would certainly help when I work with PRC lawyers if I know more about their educational background, their career path and their mentality. It is particularly invaluable because you cannot learn about these aspects from law courses or from textbooks.
With the knowledge young lawyers acquired and the network built at the forum, they are now in a better position to help organise activities involving participants from other jurisdictions. In this regard, I would volunteer to help if the Young Solicitors’ Group or any other committee of the Law Society, such as the International Legal Affairs Committee or the Mainland Legal Affairs Committee is going to organise activities with international elements or PRC elements in the future.
Further, there are various means by which young lawyers can share what they have learned and what they have seen at the forum with other members. Apart from writing reports and articles, sharing sessions can also be conducted for that purpose.
Under the theme of ‘The 12th Five Year Plan and the Development of Law Practice’, the 9th China Lawyers’ Forum undoubtedly provided a unique platform for Hong Kong lawyers to develop and strengthen cooperation and collaboration arrangements with our mainland counterparts. Through developing a closer relationship with other provincial and municipal lawyers associations across mainland China, legal professionals in Hong Kong can leverage on these networks in the development of relevant legal practices to serve the needs and secure business by entering into long term entrustments or association relationships directly with mainland practitioners.
At the Ceremonial Opening of the 9th China Lawyers’ Forum, the Secretary for Justice, Mr Wong Yan Lung SC, highlighted the importance of the legal profession in Hong Kong to contribute and participate in the reform and modernization of the economic and financial system in China. It was emphasised that the Hong Kong legal profession will continue to play an active role in trade and investment links with China with an aim to facilitate China’s inward and outward investments.
Setting against the spectrum of the reform and liberalization over the past three decades in China, the legal profession in Hong Kong was said to be able to continuously support the foreign investment in China and recently promote the use of Hong Kong’s renminbi (RMB) financial platform by the foreign corporate and financial institutions in conducting their offshore RMB businesses.
It was reiterated that the legal profession in Hong Kong will continue to develop the legal business in the mainland particularly in the Pearl River Delta Region, and to work hand-in-hand with lawyers from the mainland by assisting mainland enterprises to ‘reach out’ and diversify their business in the international arena under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).
I attended the international law seminar session of which President Junius Ho of the Law Society of Hong Kong delivered a presentation addressing the increasing demand for legal services in China and the role of the legal profession in supporting Hong Kong to serve as a ‘springboard’ for mainland enterprises to reach out to the global market and accelerate the mainland’s full integration with the global economy. In addition, it was stressed that Hong Kong and mainland law firms should further expand and reinforce their existing alliance arrangement to combine their expertise to strengthen their networking and business cooperation, resulting ultimately in more business and referral opportunities.
In terms of the contribution from young members of the Law Society at international conferences, there are various aspects in which young members can facilitate and support the promotion and operation of the Law Society delegation at international conferences.
First, young members of the Law Society should familiarise themselves with the schedule of various events, seminars and working group sessions held at the conferences and maintain effective communication with organisers of the conferences for any updated information.
Second, young members of the Law Society can promote the work undertaken by the Law Society at international conferences and facilitate the interaction of the Law Society with other legal or non-legal professional bodies from around the world in exploring the potential cooperation opportunities for organising projects or courses of common interests.
Third, young members of the Law Society can share their work experience and exposure at the Law Society so as to enable lawyers who are practising in other jurisdictions gain an insight into the daily work of the Law Society.
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