Over the last 7 days Asian Legal Business (ALB) released a 2010 China Watchlist – a list of firms that it predicts will be the big movers in 2010. I am pleased to note that Hwuason has made the 2010 list. Obviously, few lawyers do their work to achieve awards and we are more interested in pleasing our clients than receiving such recognition. However, this recognition is still pleasing for a firm like Hwuason that is not the biggest firm in China nor the most typical. Whereas the overwhelming majority of firms in China eschew specialisation, Hwuason has chosen to specialise in a very discrete and techical area – tax. This very much goes against the grain in China – there is a tendency here for firms, and lawyers themselves, to do any work that comes their way irrespective of their knowledge and ability in that particular area. This is actually one of the few frustrations I have about working in the legal field in China.
I very much admire Liu Tianyong, the Managing Partner of Hwuason, who four years ago recognised that the tendency in China of catchall firms was not appropriate for the practice of law in a more sophisticated legal environment and sought to focus his and his firms skills. Tianyong has also invested considerable recources into developing the tax law profession, Hwuason is the only specialist tax law firm in China, amongst graduates of China’s universities. For these reasons, and many others, there are days where I very much feel this firm is a pioneer and for this reason I am pleased Tianyong has received the recognition that he and the firm deserves.