In the latest edition of Asian-Counsel (and for some reason in the India special report) Wal-Mart (China) General Counsel, Gang Xu, discusses his experience working for an American company in China, as well his top tips for firms looking to secure work from companies operating in China. His top six criteria for measuring the performance of legal counsel:
Q: “What qualities does Walmart China look for in external counsel? Are there any criteria followed in choosing suitable practitioners?”
GX: “Walmart operates on the basis of “everyday low cost” (EDLC), so we always have a tight legal budget and demand value from our outside legal advisers.
First, we value firms that understand our corporate culture, by which I mean compliance. For example, their lawyers should have high ethical standards and will not violate FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) requirements; for another example, firms’ partners and associates must be willing to fly on economy class, and stay at three-star hotels, which is our company’s travel policy.
Secondly, we value firms that can provide high-quality legal advice on a consistent basis. For example, one major firm once sent us a memo which was reviewed by our business side who found a lack of depth and sophistication, so we decided to switch to another firm. We are loyal to firms that can produce quality work products.
Thirdly, we value firms that are flexible with their billing arrangements to be cost competitive. Depending on the nature and requirement of the project, the billing arrangements could be fixed fee, discounted hourly rate, volume discount, or down payment with success fees.
Fourthly, we value firms – big or small, international or domestic – that show core strength or expertise in certain areas, such as local law knowledge, cross-border tax planning, real estate, antitrust, or social insurance.
Fifth, we value firms and lawyers that can communicate in English directly with our senior regional or global management, if requested, and at the same time be sensitive enough to our internal process.
Finally, we value firms that can provide free continuing legal education (CLE) training to our in-house staff, for example through presentations to our in-house and business side on major legal developments, regular newsletters on legal topics, or organisation of joint training programs with us.”
So, in short, don’t break the law, know what you’re talking about and keep up to date. Sounds easy. And everyone always says I harp on CLE too much!
Download the full article here and visit us at Law Alliance for more tips for lawyers working in Asia.