Saturday, October 22, 2005
It won't surprise most readers to discover that legal talent, whether on the bench or at the bar, is distributed unevenly around China. Zhu Suli (朱蘇力), among others, has discussed the problems of staffing rural courts in Song Fa Xia Xiang (送法下鄉) (a very fine review of which has been published by Frank Upham in the Yale Law Journal).
The June 8th edition of the People's Daily (人民日報) carried an article on the distribution of lawyers with some interesting information. According to the article, China now has 114,000 lawyers and 11,691 law firms. China's lawyers annually handle over 1.5 million court cases and over 800,000 non-litigious matters. However, lawyers are still thin on the ground in the central and western parts of China. In 206 counties, there are no lawyers at all. (As of Feb. 2004, China had 2,861 county-level divisions. [Source])