Dig­i­tal dis­cov­ery le­gal ser­vices unit could fight crime

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG HONGYI in Shang­hai wanghongyi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

An in­ter­na­tional dig­i­tal dis­cov­ery le­gal ser­vices plat­form has been in­tro­duced in China.

The plat­form is ex­pected to help meet the grow­ing needs among multi­na­tional com­pa­nies for greater, more de­tailed reg­u­la­tory, lit­i­ga­tion and trans­ac­tion data as a re­sult of the coun­try’s in­ten­si­fied ef­forts against non­com­pli­ance.

This month, Shang­haibased MWE China Law Of­fices, in con­junc­tion with its strate­gic ally, the US- based law firm McDer­mott Wi l l and Emery, launched this le­gal and tech­ni­cal dis­cov­ery data cen­ter to clients do­ing business in the re­gion.

The data cen­ter, first of its kind in China, will re­spond to chal­lenges fac­ing multi­na­tional com­pa­nies in China for cross-bor­der data trans­fers, proac­tive com­pli­ance au­dits, gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tions, whistle­blower in­quiries and other projects that de­mand rapid reviews of large amounts of elec­tron­i­cally stored in­for­ma­tion. This dig­i­tal plat­form will be op­er­ated and staffed by lawyers.

“Our clients have his­tor­i­cally re­lied on mul­ti­ple, non-law firm en­ti­ties for doc­u­ment re­view work at ex­or­bi­tant costs,” said Leon Liu, part­ner at MWE China Law Of­fices, who is also re­spon­si­ble for open­ing and over­see­ing the cen­ter. “The data cen­ter changes that by con­sol­i­dat­ing doc­u­ment re­view un­der one roof and mak­ing it eco­nom­i­cal for clients with China-re­lated op­er­a­tions.”

“The de­mand for th­ese ser­vices is in­creas­ing ex­po­nen­tially, yet, un­til now, the clients in need of those ser­vices had nowhere to turn,” said Ge­of­frey A. Vance, part­ner and head of McDer­mott Dis­cov­ery, the firm’s in-house man­aged re­view ser­vices provider.

My US and Chi­nese part­ners are ea­ger to ex­pand the con­cept to the Chi­nese le­gal mar­ket and are con­fi­dent it will achieve the same level of suc­cess we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in the US.” GE­OF­FREY A. VANCE PART­NER AND HEAD OF MCDER­MOTT DIS­COV­ERY

“My US and Chi­nese part­ners are ea­ger to ex­pand the con­cept to the Chi­nese le­gal mar­ket and are con­fi­dent it will achieve the same level of suc­cess we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in the US,” he said.

Sources in the le­gal ser­vices in­dus­try said the de­mands for le­gal ser­vices on com­pli­ance from multi­na­tional com­pa­nies in China have sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased in re­cent years with the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­si­fied ef­forts against cor­rup­tion, along with en­hanced mar­ket su­per­vi­sion.

One typ­i­cal case is the scan­dal of Bri­tish phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant Glax­oSmithK­line. The China branch of the company bribed med­i­cal staff in or­der to boost sales of its prod­ucts.

It was fined 3 bil­lion yuan by Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties this year.

The multi­na­tional com­pa­nies in China have be­gun to watch their con­duct in the mar­ket and look for more ways to man­age the po­ten­tial com­pli­ance risks, such as in­crease com­pli­ance staff and con­duct more fre­quent in­ter­nal au­dits.

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