Lawyers taste fruits of success

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 September, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 September, 1994, 12:00am

LAWYERS have joined the new rich in booming Guangzhou.

The China News Service (CNS) reported that each of the 30 lawyers in the Guangzhou Lawyer Company, the longest-estalished law firm in the municipality, could earn an average 200,000 yuan (HK$181,000) this year.

Most of them had been able to buy their own houses, CNS said. Key staff had been able to have their own telephone lines or even mobile phones.

The province's fast-growing economy was one of the reasons behind the profession's improved standing, CNS reported.

More enterprises were seekinglegal advice because they had come to realise there was a 'legal risk' on top of investment uncertainties, it said.

But unlike other businesses, which respond to demand, Chinese lawyers are subject to strict qualifying requirements and restrictive government policies.

China's authorities had been reluctant to allow more legal professionals onto the market, the report said.

And all lawyers should first be law majors in universities or graduates from professional legal institutions.

With these certificates, they can sit in the annual nationwide qualifying examination.

Even when they passed the examination, they had to go through another assessment before they were allowed to practise, the agency said.

CNS said this explained why there were only 800 practising lawyers in Guangzhou, lagging far behind the increasing demand in the municipality.

But lawyers argued that they had been 'too late' in the country's 'getting-rich' drive.

'The illiterate farmers and food dealers have all become very rich. Our turn only comes now. It's too late,' the CNS quoted one lawyer as saying.