China’s lateral market for lawyers is worse than it’s been in more than 15 years, rivaling the turmoil of the global financial crisis in 2009, legal recruiters say.

International firms are struggling to hire, with many operating on the ground with a bare minimum number of lawyers. Domestic Chinese firms are still growing but at a much slower pace than just two years ago. And the volatility of the Chinese market is presenting many uncertainties, with law firms asking how they should plan their growth and lawyers asking where they should go.

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