Interview with: 周吉高Jigao Zhou , 主任律师Managing Partner

Shanghai JianLingChengDa | View firm profile

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Shanghai JianLingChengDa Law Firm from your competitors?

建领城达与竞争对手的主要区别在于:

(1)贯彻目标思维:团队每一成员均以客户的目标为服务目标,即对于争议解决案件,以胜诉、尽快实现债权为目标;对于非诉讼法律服务,以解决法律问题,并防范好法律风险为目标;

(2)高效的团队协同工作能力:建领城达实行一体化管理,可以组建多个具有不同优势的团队,同时为建设工程、房地产领域的同一个大客户的公司总部、各个子公司、分公司,提供关于建设工程、投融资、日常公司管理等方面的高效、优质的法律服务;

(3)丰富的跨区域处理纠纷经验:虽然立足于上海,但建领城达的服务足迹已经覆盖全国30个省级行政区,以及英国、泰国、越南、老挝、卢旺达等国家,为客户提供诉讼、仲裁、非诉讼法律服务;

(4)擅长处理疑难、复杂案件:建领城达处理的多为新型、疑难、复杂、标的额巨大的建设工程、投融资等方面的诉讼、仲裁案件,并在多起事后介入的建设工程施工合同纠纷中实现二审改判、发回重审、再审,成功办理了国内“信托纠纷第一案”、第三人撤销之诉第一案。

The main differences between JianLingChengDa and the competitors are:

(1) Goal-thinking: Each member of our team takes the client’s target as service target. To be specific, for dispute resolution cases, the goal is to win the case and realise clients’ rights as soon as possible; for non-litigation legal services, the goal is to solve legal issues and prevent legal risks.

(2) High-efficiency teamwork: JianLingChengDa implements integrated management and has the ablity to form multiple teams with different advantages. We can also provide our clients (including their headquarters, subsidiaries and branches) with high-efficieny and high-quality legal services on different aspects, such as construction engineering, investment and financing, and daily ccorporate management;

(3) Rich experience in cross-region disputes: With our base in Shanghai, JianLingChengDa has provided legal services of litigation, arbitration and non-litigation in 30 provinces of PRC and foreign countries, such as Britain, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Rwanda.

(4) Capable of dealing with difficult and complicated cases: JianLingChengDa specilizes in handling novel, difficult, complicated and high amount litigation and arbitration cases in the field of construction projects, investment and financing. In several complicated large cases where we participated in after first instances, with our efforts, the second instances were revised, sent back for re-trial, or retried. Furthermore, we also successfully undertook the first Trust Dispute case and the first Third-Party Revocation Action in PRC.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

在未来12个月,建设工程争议解决和非诉讼法律服务业务会增加主要原因在于新冠疫情导致项目春节后无法按时复工,项目工期延误;此外,即使到了可以复工的时候,又由于短时间内人员紧缺,材料紧缺,而导致人工、材料等价格上涨,施工企业调整合同价款的需求增加,而发包人往往又会以合同约定的价格不调整为

由,不同意调整,进而引发纠纷,该情形同时叠加自从去年开始中国经济面临巨大的下行压力,纠纷会进一步爆发。

此外,基于上述同样的原因,施工项目的非诉讼法律服务需求会增加。因新冠疫情属于不可抗力,一般的承发包双方对于不可抗力了解不多,而且也不会遇到如此严重的不可抗力情形。因此,对于如何评估对施工合同履行的影响、如何主张免责、如何对正在履行的合同作出处理决策、如何主张赔偿等等事项,大量承包人需要专业律师提供专业的意见,以维护自身的合法权益,降低、减轻因新冠疫情造成的损失。

In the next 12 months, we estimate that our legal services of construction project dispute resolutions and relevant non-litigation services will increase. The main reason is that most of construction projects cannot resume work on time after the Spring Festival due to the Novel Coronavirus. The construction schedule would be delayed. Besides, due to the shortage of personnel and materials in a short time, the prices of labor and materials would increase a lot after resuming the work in the future. It is estimated that increasing construction enterprises would desire to adjust the contract price. However, the employer may not agree with the adjustment on the grounds that the price agreed in the contract is not adjustable. Meanwhile with huge downward pressure on China’s economy since last year, more relevant disputes will further erupt.

In addition, for the same reasons mentioned above, the demand for non-litigation legal services for construction projects will increase. Since the Novel Coronavirus is a force majeure event, usually contracting parties would not encounter such serious force majeure. Therefore, in order to safeguard their rights and interests and reduce and mitigate the losses caused by the novel coronavirus, a large number of contractors need professionals to provide practical advice on how to assess the impact on the performance of construction contracts, how to claim exemption, how to make decisions on the contracts being performed, how to claim compensation, etc.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

(1)加强对案件的研究深度:考虑到建设工程等纠纷案件以及PPP等法律服务,越来越复杂、疑难,有些案件系新型案件,没有研究,就不能为客户提供优质的服务,故建领城达要求每个律师、律师助理在办理每一个案件或者提供PPP等新型领域法律服务过程中,加强学习并就遇到的问题展开研究,根据法律规定以及研究成果,为客户提供服务。

(2)增设执行保全部门:考虑到案件诉讼保全的重要性以及执行案件的专业性等特点,建领城达专门抽调对代理保全、执行具有丰富经验的律师组成独立的执行保全部门,以更好地服务于客户,提高保全、执行的效率与效果,最大化维护客户利益。

(1) Strengthen the research ability: Considering that disputes over construction projects and legal services such as PPP are becoming more and more complicated and difficult, some legal issues involved are entirely new. No high-quality services can be provided without research. Therefore, JianLingChengDa requires every lawyer and paralegal to do deep study and research on the problems encountered in the process of handling each case or providing legal services in new areas such as PPP, and to provide services to clients based on research results.

(2) Set up a new department of Property Preservation and Enforcement: Considering the importance of Property Preservation in cases and the specialty of case enforcement, JianLingChengDa has set up this new department compromised by lawyers with rich experience in Property Preservation and Enforcement to provide better services to clients and improve the efficiency and effect of Property Preservation, and to maximise the interests of clients.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

建领城达使用微信群、云会议系统、视频会议系统与客户建立了更加高效、便捷的沟通,比如通过使用视频会议系统,与位于杭州、一带一路沿线国家的项目客户团队召开视频会议,从而可以不出国门就能为国外项目提供法律服务,扩大了服务区域,从服务中国国内三十个省级行政区,扩展到全球。

JianLingChengDa has established more efficient and convenient communication with clients by using WeChat group, cloud conference system and video conference system. For example, by using video conference system, it can hold video conferences with clients’ project teams located in Hangzhou and even the related One Belt One Road country.

Thus, we can provide legal services for foreign projects without going abroad, expand our service area from 30 provinces of PRC to the world.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

在某施工合同纠纷案件中,客户作为承包方出于尽快回款的考量,拟通过法律途径收回结算余款1.5亿元人民币,该金额扣减了对方主张的逾期竣工违约金。经过搜集、研读案件材料,我们认为对方主张的逾期竣工违约金存在两大问题,一是工期延误的责任主要在发包人,二是合同约定的违约金比例过高。据此,我们判断逾期竣工违约金较难获得法院支持,客户可以多收回结算余款。在制定好代理策略后,我们代表客户以未扣减逾期竣工违约金的金额提起本诉,后对方反诉逾期竣工违约金。通过提供卓有成效的专业法律服务,特别是起诉前加强证据的收集和举证、案例的检索和研究等工作,最后取得全面胜诉,胜诉金额高达3亿元人民币,比客户预期的1.5亿元人民币结果高出约一倍。

In a construction contract dispute case, the client (the Contractor) intends to recover the final payment of 150 million RMB through legal means to get back money as soon as possible, which has deducted the delay damages claimed by counterparty (the Employer). After collecting and studying the case materials, we analyzed that there were two major problems of such claim. One is that the employer is mainly responsible for such delay, and the other is that the rate of delay damages is too high. We concluded that the delay damages claim would be declined in great possibility and the client would be paid more. After formulating the strategy, we filed this lawsuit on behalf of the client at an amount that did not deduct the delay damages, after then, the counterparty counterclaimed the delay damages. Based on effective and professional legal services, especially strengthening the collection and proof of evidence, case retrieval and research before prosecution, we finally won a full-scale lawsuit, with the winning amount reaching 300 million yuan, which doubled the client’s expected result of 150 million RMB.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

建领城达已经为多家大型国有施工企业提供连续三年以上的法律服务,许多集团下属子公司也陆续增加到我们的客户名单中。我们有信心在未来三年能够继续维持与现有客户的合作关系,并拓展更多优质客户。

未来三年,建领城达也将在2019年成为上海市优秀律师事务所、获列钱伯斯建设工程领域Band3等级,以及已经实现成为全中国建筑房地产领域法律服务领跑者的愿景的基础上,进一步实现建领城达的新愿景:成为建设工程领域全球顶级精品律所。

JianLingChengDa has provided legal services to many large state-owned construction enterprises for more than three consecutive years. Many subsidiaries of the group are also on our client list. We are confident that we can continue to maintain the cooperative relationship with existing clients and develop more high-quality clients in the next three years.

JianLingChengDa has already become a leader in legal services in the construction real estate field in China. in 2019, JianLingChengDa was evaluated as an excellent law firm in Shanghai and listed as Band 3 in Chambers’ construction engineering field. In the next three years, JianLingChengDa will further realise the new goal of becoming one of the world’s top boutique law firms in construction engineering field.