The main thing I have learned about the legal field during this internship has been the importance of networking. I always knew about it in the business world but I now realize it is just as important if not more important in law. On Thursday I attended a conference on arbitration in China compared to the rest of the world and people would walk up to me and just hand me their business cards. During the seminar, the speakers frequently cited a strong network as a key to success in arbitration, and although I personally do not want to be an arbitrator I can see how this importance stretches to all areas of law.
Jingsh as a firm has strengths in its size and capacity to handle cases. No matter what kind of lawyer a case requires Jingsh will have one. It is also an extremely international firm with 24 foreign branches. Jingsh’s weaknesses lie in the self-sufficiency of its lawyers. I think Jingsh would benefit greatly from allowing more lawyers to work together on cases because each lawyer has such vastly different experience that their combined knowledge would serve clients better than each lawyer working by themselves on each case. Jingsh’s opportunities are things it is already seizing on (evident on me being an intern there), which would be expanding its international presence further and reaching beyond being a Chinese law firm with foreign branch offices. A threat would be the competitive prestige of the larger law firms in Beijing. Although Jingsh is old and well-established, there are larger and more well-known firms in the city that could hinder their presence in the massive Beijing market.
Although it was less than congenial, something amazing happened in Beijing last week overnight. On the way to the subway station, I walk through a hutong for about half a mile. Every morning, the hutong is bustling with action and people frequenting the small shops that line its central road. I usually stop and buy a jian bing for breakfast from the same Chinese family in one of the stalls. But one morning I walked into the hutong and there were bulldozers excavating all the shops along one section of the street. The jian bing serving family’s stall was demolished and I haven’t seen them again. China is always changing and that to me is quite amazing.