How are international law firms faring in China? Drawing on 2013 data, this article presents the first comprehensive overview of the field, including information about the global mix of players and variation in market niche. Three variables—years present in China, global strategy, and level of localization—help explain why some China practices grow bigger than others. Overall, however, there is a great deal of convergence on one business model: an outpost office with a median size of eleven lawyers responsible for under 5 percent of worldwide revenue. The common experience of stagnation following market entry illustrates the strength of hype, the constraints of partnership, and the persistent power of the Chinese state to shape the legal services market. At the same time, the rarity of market exit reflects perceptions that a China presence is a valuable symbol of global commitment and a worthwhile bet on future growth.

Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.