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Lawyers Urged to Fit Into Bigger Suit
Lawyers were encouraged yesterday to enhance their role in the political, economic and social arenas in China. "With the development in politics, the economy, culture and the legal system, the role of lawyers in society should be given full play," said Minister of Justice Zhang Fusen at a national conference of lawyers which closed yesterday.

Lawyer Gao Zongze was re-elected president of the All-China Lawyers Association at the conference.

Zhang urged the nation's lawyers to actively provide legal advice in major decision-making processes.

In addition, lawyers should explore new service possibilities against the backdrop of China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), Zhang said.

He added that the legislative and judicial sectors are also open for more active participation by lawyers, but stressed they still need to pay attention to providing legal assistance to those in difficulty.

Statistics from the Ministry of Justice indicate China has more than 120,000 lawyers, working in more than 10,000 law firms. Following China's entry into the WTO, more overseas law firms are expected to join the 144 representative offices which have already been established on the Chinese mainland.

The profession of lawyers, now one of the most lucrative and prestigious in China, has caught on with the Chinese in recent years. According to Zhang, among the 360,000 candidates for the national judicial examination held in March, most have their eyes on becoming lawyers.

He also hoped the profession's administrative rules will be inked in three years' time and a rule-violation recording system will be set up for lawyers and law firms.

(China Daily May 23, 2002)

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