In 2023, the landscape of the private practice market in China experienced significant shifts, which our China team has captured in SSQ’s latest comprehensive analysis¬†of global legal recruitment.


The data reveals a surge in lateral partner moves, totalling 171, with Beijing and Shanghai emerging as the most dynamic markets, representing 78% of the country’s lateral hires. Notably, lateral activity spiked compared to 2022, reflecting the heightened uncertainty in the market that drove many senior legal professionals to seek change. Chinese law firms dominated these moves, constituting 77% of the lateral market, showcasing their central role in both attracting and losing talent.


Dispute Resolution emerged as the leading practice area for lateral hires in the region, making up a third of activity and signalling a transformative shift from the previous focus on transactional practice areas to dispute-focused services.


Our analysis also delves into associate hires, office openings and closures, and notable mergers and alliances, providing a comprehensive overview of the evolving dynamics within China’s legal landscape in 2023. Read more here: Overview of Major Law Firm Movements in China 2023

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Shawn Chen


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