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China Business Law Journal is proud to present the inaugural CBLJ In-house Counsel Awards in this issue. For the past 10 years, we have been reporting on the crucial role played by in-house counsel in crafting deals and managing the complex legal structures that underpin the success of their organizations. During this time, the prominence of China-based in-house legal teams has increased markedly, yet the recognition they receive is still not commensurate with the immense contribution they make.

cbljThe award project is therefore initiated to meet the strong demand for an independent and impartial assessment of the work undertaken by in-house legal teams. We conducted an extensive survey of our readers in China and beyond, asking them to nominate the teams and individuals that deserve recognition. We received more than 1,000 nominations from private practice lawyers, in-house counsel and senior business executives. After scrutinizing the nominations, we reached out to the shortlisted in-house counsel with a detailed questionnaire about their responsibilities and professional achievements in the past year.

Unlike lawyers in private practice, in-house counsel are required not only to have first-rate legal acumen, but also to fully understand the operation of their companies. We hope these awards will encourage the continued development of in-house legal teams and promote awareness of the tremendous value they bring to their organizations.

Apart from prominent in-house counsel, this issue also presents our A-List of the top private practice lawyers for the China market, including 100 lawyers working in PRC law firms and 100 lawyers in international firms. Our editorial team compiled this list mainly based on the large number of recommendations and comments we received from corporate counsel, senior executives and senior lawyers. We would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to all the winning lawyers.

In the hot seat features our interview with Milton Cheng, Baker McKenzie’s newly-elected global chair and the firm’s first Asian chair. Cheng shares his vision for Baker McKenzie, and the firm’s current developments in China. He does not believe the world is closing on an era of deglobalization. Although China and the US have embarked on a trade war, the trade will not stop – it will just flow elsewhere, he says.

Last not but least, we recently held another successful CBLJ Forum in Shanghai, following the first one held in Beijing in April this year. The theme of the Shanghai forum was “Seizing Cross-Border Opportunities · Managing Global Risks”. The conference was again attended by lawyers and corporate counsel from leading law firms and companies in the market. The key highlights of the series of panel discussions have been summarized in our news feature.