Clients, potential clients and the press are always asking our China lawyers what foreign companies doing business in or with China need to know to stay out of legal trouble.

Since a client recently asked me to speak remotely to their company about the legal issues of which the company and its employees should be aware, I formulated the below checklist. This list is meant as a starting point and is in no way meant to be exhaustive. But seeing as how at least 80 percent of the problems we see among those companies that do business in or with China stem from one of the below, this list should be pretty helpful. Heck, if you make the obvious changes to the below, this checklist should be pretty helpful for doing business internationally as well — not just with or in China. Please let me know if you agree or

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As regular readers of this blog should know, employers in China, (especially foreign employers) face myriad, complicated and hypertechnical local employment laws. This often means that one small employer mistake can lead to big and expensive problems. As much as we wish all our employment law clients would first come to us requesting we audit their employment program to bring it into compliance, the truth is that about half the time they come to us only after they’ve been hit with a big (and nearly always expensive) employee problem.

The good news is that most who come to us to solve their pressing employee problem realize the benefit of having us work with them to prevent future problems. These are the clients who realize that it makes sense to change their oil every 3,000 miles instead of having to buy a new engine every 40,000 miles. Some clients are convinced

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Got an interesting email regarding the language to use for a contract. It went as follows:

I was talking to someone who was bragging about how great their employment contract was. He said “my contract is in both Chinese and English, and it says that in the case of a difference in the translation, the English language version takes precedence.”

Am I the only person who sees the potential abuses of this, when given to someone who cannot read Chinese? If the Chinese language version says the opposite, he’s screwed, right?

If you choose to answer this question, please answer it on your blog as I’m sure everyone considering employment in China would like to know the answer.

The answer is yes, if the Chinese language version says the opposite of the English “he’s screwed.” And here is why. And this holds true for all contracts, not just for employment

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One of my law firm’s international attorneys got an email from a small tech company in China asking whether its contract should call for Chinese or Malaysian law. Our response was that it would depend on what was in the contract and what was most important to the tech company. There is no way to know what law is best for a contract without knowing what really matters in the contract and what really matters to the parties to the contract. Our response also mentioned that the choice of the forum for any dispute between the contract parties could be as or even more important.

My international law firm has easily made six figures over the last couple years fighting over badly written forum selection clauses in international contracts.

Here are the contracts that generated our fees:

1. One international contract had a provision calling for international arbitration before the

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More than fifty six{46ef12f24602b62adf7bf3e80f645565e385874eef528783c8ad04a738eefa5c} – over half – of the paperwork created by legislation …

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