16 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS CHINA • 亚洲法律杂志-中国版 NOVEMBER 2023 COVER STORY Yingke Law Firm, despite its remarkable growth in size, has not limited itself to quantitative expansion. In 2021, the firm unveiled a new stage of high-quality development featuring “internationalization, specialization, digital transformation, and carbon neutrality.” According to Li Zheng, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yingke China and Executive Chairman of Yingke China, scale remains the foundation for Yingke’s development. The firm will continue to leverage its size advantages to expand its international presence, focus on professional capacitybuilding, and participate actively in market competition. Simultaneously, the firm aims to accelerate digital transformation, create an integrated digital platform, and strive to become a “global leading firm.” IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES In the past year, many large firms in China have faced downward pressure on total revenue. In the midst of various uncertainties, it is crucial for these firms to address and resolve key issues as they navigate expansion. According to Zhang Haijun, Senior Partner and Director of the Executive Committee at Zhonglun W&D Law Firm, China’s large firms are currently grappling with the challenge of maintaining overall stability amidst factors like economic downturn and complex international political and economic dynamics. Zhang emphasizes the importance of promptly responding to changes in market demand, swiftly adjusting business lines, and ensuring regulatory compliance. “Given the significant increase in debt problems resulting from corporate difficulties over the past two years, there has been a surge in demand for legal services, such as dispute resolution, bankruptcy reorganization, and nonperforming asset disposal. Conversely, non-contentious services like general legal advisory, investment, M&A, and fund services have seen a decline. Large firms can leverage their extensive teams and comprehensive service offerings to increase investment in professionals and platform resources in areas with heightened demand, while strategically reallocating resources away from departments with reduced business demand. Additionally, internal job transfers through training can be implemented to minimize layoffs as much as possible.” Zhang also provides insights into Zhonglun W&D’s approach, highlighting increased investment in teams and platform resources in areas of growing demand, such as bankruptcy reorganization, non-performing asset disposal, and dispute resolution. For departments experiencing significantly reduced business needs, the firm has streamlined excess human resources and platform resources to control costs. Furthermore, Zhonglun W&D has invested in and researched new fields like ESG, compliance, new energy, and new infrastructure to stay at the forefront of emerging practice areas. The firm is committed to industry regulation and compliance to provide a stable platform for partners and associates. In addressing internal risks, Song points out that large firms, with an expanding headcount, often face higher operating costs and more frequent conflict of interest scenarios. These challenges underscore the need for standardized internal management practices within law firms. Zhang from TianTai Law Firm emphasizes the importance of formulating management strategies and establishing proper platforms before embarking on expansion. TianTai’s Management Committee focuses on supporting lawyers by building effective communication platforms, strengthening professional skills training, and enhancing the professional standards of the shared services team to improve service capabilities in finance, human resources, and business support, ultimately boosting work efficiency. Li from Yingke Law Firm advocates dealing with challenges through unity, innovation, openness, and execution. Emphasizing innovation and execution, he states, “Yingke’s development relies on continuous system and model innovation, including exploring a professional manager responsibility system under the guidance of Party building, the leadership of the Management Committee, and the supervision of the Board of Supervisors. The professional manager is tasked with executing the firm’s strategies, overseeing daily operations, and ensuring client and lawyer satisfaction, forming the foundation of Yingke’s growth.” Li of Tahota Law Firm acknowledges challenges in complex management, business innovation, and talent attraction, highlighting the fierce competition for cross-border legal services in the era of internationalization. He proposes several strategies, including clarifying strategic positioning based on actual conditions, designing a scientific talent structure and promotion mechanism to boost revenue generation and improve profit margins, strengthening digital capabilities through initiatives like the Tahota Cloud 3.0 system, and fostering cross-domain integration to create a comprehensive one-stop service platform for clients that extends beyond traditional legal services. NEW OPPORTUNITIES As previously mentioned, upscaling is not the sole development strategy for firms, and there is a considerable journey ahead in any case. Nonetheless, all the interviewed firms express their METHODOLOGY — Firms were contacted in July 2023 and asked to provide partner and lawyer numbers across their Asian offices. — Only lawyers and partners based in Asia were counted. In the instance where two firms had the same number of total lawyers, the firm with the greater number of partners was ranked higher. — ‘Total No. of Qualified Lawyers’ refers to the total number of partners, associates, counsel, consultants and foreign counsel. Paralegals, trainees and pupils were not included in this figure. 评选方法 — ALB于2023年7月联系各中国本土律师 事务所,请律所提供截止2023年7月的 亚洲办事处合伙人和律师人数。 — 只有在常驻亚洲执业的律师和合伙人 纳入本次调查。在两家律所的律师总人 数相同的情况下,合伙人数量较多的一 家排名靠前。 — “律师总人数”是指合伙人、律师、法律 顾问、咨询顾问和外籍法律顾问的总人 数。法律助理、实习生和实习律师不包 括在总人数内。