The globalised legal profession - what are the barriers?

July 30, 2010 Interesting article from The Economist about the globalized legal profession. The article looks at some of the remaining barriers to professional mobility inside various countries, and examines the restrictions upon foreign competition.

In China and Brazil foreign firms offer advice on international law, but they are not permitted to provide legal representation in local courts. (An exception is Hong Kong, where foreign lawyers may take the local bar exam.) A Chinese lawyer working in a foreign law office in Beijing will temporarily forfeit the right to practise Chinese law.

South Korea has agreed to open up its legal market to foreign competition under a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union that should be ratified later this year. And in 2008 Singapore became more foreign-friendly; certain firms from other countries can practise domestic law in some areas, as long as the lawyers they use have local qualifications. Japan opened up its legal-services market in 1999, despite great nervousness from its own lawyers. Since 2005, foreign firms have been able to set up partnerships employing Japanese lawyers, who (in contrast with Singapore) need not give up their national licence.

Read more at www.economist.com.

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