China was the second most popular foreign location for great U.S. law firms during 2010. Based on the latest NLJ 250 - The National Law Journal's list of the major law firms in the United States - 70 firms maintained offices in China and had posted 2,055 lawyers there.

China has a long way to go to be transformed into the biggest destination for U.S.-based firms, however. The UK far outpaced China in 2010, with 5,303 lawyers in 78 offices which means that nearly one-third of NLJ 250 firms had a presence there.

Legal consultant Peter Zeughauser, who has done consulting work in China stated that in future, foreign firms will have extra lawyers in China than the United kingdom. Additionally he added that the only question remains how long this whole thing will take.

Zeughauser cautioned that the China boom has offered mounting pains for many firms. A major number of foreign firms have moved in too fast and found that their China offices aren't yet lucrative.He also added that foreign firms need a clearly distinct purpose, a source of inbound or outbound legal work, and they need to grasp the attention of Chinese lawyers or reputable expatriate lawyers there if they want to achieve something.