By Sun Jin(Marlow), Chinese attorney at Law, republishing this article please indicate author and source of this article. March. 17, 2023


I. Who we are?

 A Standing Counselor, also known as ¡°a Standing Legal Advisor¡±, means some licensed lawyers who work as the long-term law consultants of Clients including but not limited to commercial enterprises or non-commercial organizations like government departments (¡°Clients¡±), with long-term engagement agreement of years and collect service charge by year, and offer Clients with all kinds of law services, which in normal circumstances do not include the jobs of main litigation or arbitration jobs. So, in details:

They are licensed lawyers.

  • They sign long-term engagement agreement with Clients, at least one year, sometimes two or three years or even more; they are not full-time employees of Clients, but Clients¡¯ long-term consultants.
  • They charge Clients annual fee, that is, Clients pay them each year.
  • Their job content is all sorts of law jobs including demand letter and negotiations with opponent with handle Clients¡¯ dispute cases but excluding litigation or arbitration cases. In another word, they can do out-of-court job for Clients on litigation or arbitration cases, but will no appear on court for Clients, which need another new engagement agreement with Clients.

II. What they can do for you?

And the typical jobs of the Standing Counselors (we also use ¡°Lawyers¡± instead below) should include below jobs in China or relating to China, when the governing law could be the laws of China:

1- Consultation Service -- In answering Clients¡¯ questions or problems occurred in Clients¡¯ daily business operations, Lawyers shall offer Clients with written law advisory opinions according to PRC laws and governmental regulations.

2- Contract Service -- Upon Clients¡¯ order Lawyers shall draft, look through, check and revise Clients¡¯ Agreements with third parties in Clients¡¯ daily business operations.

3- Demand Letter Service -- Lawyers shall draft Lawyer¡¯s letter (demand letter, including but not limited to notice of claim, final notice before legal actions) to third parties (in China) for and on behalf of Clients when Clients has law disputes with the third parties, and, to protect Clients¡¯ legal rights and benefits in China.

4- Public Notice Service -- Upon Clients¡¯ requests, Lawyers shall draft and publicize A¡¯s pronunciamentos in Chinese public medias for Clients.

5- Negotiation Service -- Upon Clients¡¯ requests, Lawyers shall take part in and assist Clients in negotiations and/or communications with Clients¡¯ business partners/cooperators, in Clients¡¯ daily business operations in China.

6- Company Verification Service 1 -- Lawyers shall provide Clients with investigation service on the party (the "Opponent") with whom Clients is going to sign contract, and offer Clients with feedback report of the investigations on the Opponent including their legal and actual status, company basic registration information, annual report the Opponent had publicized online, and whether the Opponent was ever involved in any litigation in the People¡¯s Republic of China.

7- Company Verification Service 2 -- Lawyers shall provide Clients with verification service on whether a Chinese Company with whom Clients is in contacting is a manufacturer or not, by methods of a) investigation on registration information of the Company including but not limited to Company name and business scope, and b) field visit on the Company¡¯s actual business site.

8- Other Law services ¨C Other non-litigation / non-arbitration law jobs in China upon Clients¡¯ request.

III. When you will need one Standing Counselor and our charge rate

If you have some quantity Chinese vendors (suppliers) in China, for example, more than five vendors in China or each year you placed more than five purchase orders in China, then a standing counselor (legal advisor) engagement agreement will be good choice for you, with affordable annual fee of several thousand USD only.

Our now present charge rate is annual fee USD3,500 for job content of 5 (five) projects each year, annual fee is USD6,000, and for 10 (ten) projects each year. Different opponent¡¯s name defines the difference of the cases; but different cases arise from one purchase order will be considered as one case. For example, you want to sign two contracts with two different forwarders, one is an inland forward company, another one is a sea forwarding company, then these are two different cases; another example, to sign one purchase order, you need to verify two companies, and sign one contract with them, and these jobs all together could be one case.

IV. Why you will need one Standing Counselor in China

Our team had about 20 years¡¯ experience of practicing transnational disputes, and a big part of our cases were disputes aroused from international sales/purchase agreement of cargos and services. Abstract from our before experiences, we think you will need one Standing Counselor for below reasons:

1. Some vendor is an obviously high-risk one, or even a scammer. You may ever hear of all kind of the scamming cases in international trade in China, for example, chemical product fraud cases in north China; Putian scammers who sell iPhone but send clients a pair of shoes finally; big-order scam cases in south China, and so on.

2. Some vendors are actually not a company registered in mainland China, but an off-shore company who looks like a Chinese company, when dispute arouse, sometimes you do not even know where to file a case. And most off-shore companies has no much properties in mainland China, so they are also high-risk business partners.

3. Some vendors are actually trading company, but they told you they are a manufacturer, and they play a good show to you. Of course you can get even better price from a manufacturer than a trading company.

4. You have dispute with your vendors, but you did not have a well-drafted agreement, then you will have to pay your own lawyer¡¯s charge. This seems to be unreasonable but this is the present laws in China, only in ten type of cases, the wining party can ask the losing party of a litigation case, to pay the winning party¡¯s lawyer¡¯s charge, for rest cases, the winning party has to pay their own lawyer¡¯ charge, even they win the litigation case.

And more¡­.

And you can resolve above problems with a Standing Counselor in China.




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All articles are for visitors' references only, but not official legal opinions on any cases alike, please talk with a Chinese lawyer if you have any issues on Chinese laws.