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'Only once talent has been equipped with sufficient knowledge, can it be promoted'

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Investment funds lawyer Sandra Lu of Llinks Law Offices looks at how her career was shaped by market developments and what young lawyers should expect

As one of the the handful of IFLR1000 Highly Regarded investment fund lawyers in China, what do you consider to be the greatest achievements of your career?

The development of a lawyer relies on the development of the industry and the country in which that lawyer practices. I am very lucky that, over my 16-years of practice in this field of law, I have witnessed the most rapid evolution of China’s fund management sector. I have participated in most of the representative cases in the retail fund management industry, among other things working on the establishment of fund managers, M&A transactions, financial product innovation, and projects to open up the capital markets through initiatives such as the QFII [Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor] and RQFII [Renminbi QFII] programmes; the QDII (qualified domestic institutional investor) initiative; Stock Connect; Bond Connect; the Mutual Recognition of Funds initiative; the WFOE PFM [wholly foreign-owned entities licensed as a private fund manager] and WFOE FMC [fund management company] programmes; and the QDLP [Qualified Domestic Limited Partnership] programme.

I have participated in most of the representative cases in the retail fund management industry

I have not only been practicing as a lawyer, but also working to contribute to the market and the country, which is something that I am always thinking about and looking to deliver. I often provide advice to the regulator and governmental authorities to help them enhance the regulatory framework and I often help regulators conduct global research and formulate useful analyses and reports for their reference. This is also an achievement, in my book.

What advice would you give to lawyers in junior positions to encourage them to work towards success?

Junior lawyers should be down-to-earth and hard-working. Legal practice is becoming more and more complicated and the economic environment is quickly changing, meaning that all legal practitioners, especially junior lawyers, must work ever harder. Without hard work, it becomes difficult to deliver the right level of quality to our clients.

Junior lawyers need to be quick learners. Any law firm that a junior lawyer is about to join has perhaps already accumulated a deep bank of know-how and expertise. A key to success is learning how to quickly pick up this knowledge so that a prospective lawyer can develop faster and lever off a law firm’s accumulated knowledge.

What does your firm do to nurture and promote talent? Do you think it compares well to others in your market in this area?

We have established a sound training programme for junior lawyers. This is important for our young talent. Only once talent has been equipped with sufficient knowledge and practice skill, can it be promoted within the firm.

What kind of work do you expect will keep you busy over the next 12 months?

Legal practice is becoming more and more complicated and the economic environment is quickly changing

Despite of the tensions between China and the US, we believe that China will keep opening up its financial services market. We expect that a key area of work over the next 12 months will be advising our global clients on coming into China, setting up a commercial presence in China and applying for financial license.

What is the one thing you think the IFLR’s international audience should know about how to successfully do business in your market?

China is a huge market and China’s regulatory environment is quite different from other jurisdictions. It is important that any global company which intends to penetrate this market should come to China and talk to the real industry leader.