Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Australia's dominant role in Asia's legal services market

At drinks one evening in Shanghai, I was struck by the Australian legal presence in China. The following table illustrates in a fairly dramatic way just how big the Australian legal sector is in Asian terms.

Table: Asia's Top Fifty Law Firms by Country of Origin

CountryTop TenTop Fifty
New Zealand-2
Hong Kong-1

Source: The ALB 50. Joint country firms allocated to main country.

The Australian dominance in both the top ten and top fifty is quite striking. Equally striking is the dominance of common law countries.

Looking forward, it will be interesting to see how Chinese and Indian firms perform. China is already number two.

The view over drinks in Shanghai was that China was using administrative action to tighten up on the grant of required visas to expatriate professionals.

From an Australian perspective, access to the Chinese market for legal services is a key issue in the current negotiations on a China-Australia free trade agreement.