The judicial department of Northwest China's Shaanxi province has approved establishment of new law firms in two of its counties in an effort to meet the demand of its impoverished rural areas for legal services.
The two new law firms set up respectively in Taibai and Liuba counties will each have three lawyers.
In fact, the department has ramped up supply of legal services to underdeveloped counties in recent years. It has designated 176 excellent lawyers from 48 large law firms across the province as legal counsels for the villages in 252 such counties. Through regular visits or online approaches by telephone, online platform and WeChat, the lawyers devote their expertise to villagers day and night.
The department also made policy changes to further broaden rural access to legal services. It loosened the restrictions on mobility of lawyers in remote areas, allowing lawyers with C-type professional qualification to practice law around these areas. It also streamlined the approval procedure for founding of rural law firms, halving the time spent on approval from 20 days to 10 days.
For lawyers who are stationed in impoverished areas, the department has tasked them with disseminating legal knowledge, offering legal aid and providing free legal services on such public interest issues as environmental protection.