"When in trouble, turn to our legal consultant who is really helpful!" became the consensus of the residents of Wanglou community, Central China's Henan province, after Lawyer Zhu, their legal consultant, helped them win a major lawsuit against a real estate developer last year.
With Zhu's great legal expertise and diligence throughout the prolonged litigation process, the residents' claims finally gained the support of the local court which ordered the real estate developer to resume the construction project at issue and to pay the residents 20.46 million yuan ($3.2 million) as a penalty for default.
The case epitomizes Henan's effort to encourage lawyers to serve villages and communities as legal consultants. In 2020, the province appointed over 15,000 such consultants, 9,668 of whom are lawyers. They created nearly 33,400 WeChat groups which entirely cover all the villages and communities across the province.
Over the past year, the consultants provided the public with about 162,000 suggestions, helped draft nearly 23,000 legal documents, gave over 12,500 lectures, mediated more than 39,000 social disputes, provided on-site legal service nearly 42,500 times, and offered 9,441 suggestions on major decisions at the community and village level.
The province also set up 526 lawyers' teams last year to provide private enterprises with much-needed legal support. In total, they advised over 51,100 individuals, issued 2,803 legal review reports for enterprises, and compiled 2,802 collections of laws and regulations. In doing so, they effectively facilitated enterprises' work and production resumption.