City government appoints legal advisers
Twelve experts to help with variety of govt work, law-related matters
Five veteran professors from prestigious local universities and seven lawyers who are leading figures in their respective specializations have recently been appointed as the first batch of parttime advisers to Shanghai’s municipal government. These 12 experts, who are on threeyear contracts, will provide practical suggestions for the city’s development and add a scientific element to decisionmaking processes.
According to the contracts, their job scope includes participating in the formulation and review of government regulations and documents, aiding response to administrative lawsuits, providing risk analysis and assessment of major social issues, as well as offering advice for major issues including the establishment of a more law-based government. These experts will each earn 50,000 yuan ($7,855) every year.
“This is the first time such a legal counseling system, which is common in Western countries, is being adopted in a Chinese city. It is an innovation to introduce an external team of professionals who can help authorities better administer law and enhance its credibility,” said Liu Hua, director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the Shanghai municipal government.
The 12 legal advisers were selected from among nearly 100 people after the city government published a recruitment notice in May. Applicants had to fulfill strict requirements — university professors must have a senior professional title and lawyers should have at least 10 consecutive years of experience in Shanghai. Those who are aged below 50 and play important social roles, such as members of the regional People’s Congress, are prioritized.
“I’m delighted to serve the government with my legal knowledge and capabilities. It’s an honorable social responsibility,” said Chen Zhidong, a law professor at Fudan University, who is one of the part-time legal advisers.
Sheng Leiming, who is the director of Zhongmao Law Firm, said the skills of part-time advisers will complement those of full-time ones, who are part of the city’s legislative affairs office.
“The full-time advisors are familiar with internal operating procedures of the government and the part-time ones are more neutral and have extensive hands-on experience. Such a combination will jointly propel the legal work of the government,” Sheng said.
Each of the advisors has received a personalized list of duties for the first year on board with reference to their professional area.
Sheng, whose expertise lies in civil and commercial affairs, has eight assignments for the first year. They include drawing up, revising and reviewing some regulation documents and working on a research project focused on controlling the city’s vehicle numbers and the auction system of vehicle licenses.
“Sometimes a company or an organization hires a parttime legal adviser who only attends one or two meetings a year, but this job has concrete and specific duties. The contract also elaborates the confidentiality obligation and liability for breach of contract,” Sheng added.