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Emerging Legal Markets In Asia By Todd Schultz According to Europe’s largest tax and legal publisher, Wolters Kluwer N.V., China is experiencing ‘’explosive’’ growth in the legal sector.

The CEO of Wolters, Nancy McKinstry, projects that by 2020, China will have more than ten times the amount of lawyers it currently has. Today, there are around 170,000 lawyers in the country. In ten years time, McKinstry predicts there will be around 2 million lawyers. ‘’China is a very important market for us,’’ McKinstry said. ‘’If you look at the projections in the growth of professionals, it’s just explosive. Wolters is China’s largest bilingual legal publisher. Over the past couple years, the company has seen its profits take a dip as its sales stagnates. Now, the publisher is setting its sights toward China for growth. McKinstry claims that sales in China will increase by 10 percent every year for the ‘’foreseeable future.’’ Wolters Kluwer NV is the result of the 1987 merger between Kluwer Publishing and Wolters Samson. The merger was the successful attempt on Kluwer’s part to avoid a hostile takeover from medical and science publishers, Elsevier. Wolters Kluwer employs over 18,000 people worldwide.

Another growing legal market in Asia is Singapore. Singapore’s Law Minister, K Shanmugam, recently addressed his country’s legal sector, saying that Singapore can expand it’s legal services outside of it’s domestic market. ‘’Singapore has been consistently ranked now for some time as one of the top centers, if not the top center, for international arbitration,’’ Shanmugam said. ‘’And for a variety of reasons like its natural advantages, its rule of law, location and a good judicial system.’’ The country will take a more obligatory approach to its study of the legal market. Starting next year, the Singapore Institute of Legal Education will oversee a compulsory study of the continuing professional development scheme of the country’s students. ‘’After you graduate as a lawyer and you start practising, there are continuing developments in the law which are necessary for every lawyer to keep up with,’’ Shanmugam said. ‘’In the past, we had very much left it to individual lawyers to use their own initiative to keep up.’’

Currently, the Asia Pacific region creates around $174.7 million in business for the publisher and China amounted to about a quarter of that on its own. As of now, China makes up around 1 percent of Wolsters’ business.

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Emerging Legal Markets In Asia