[Note: The 2019 edition of the largest law firms in Malaysia has now been posted up here.]
The year 2018 saw some mergers and consolidation among the larger Malaysian law firms in Kuala Lumpur. Other firms have seen organic growth and has started to overtake other established large firms in terms of number. The foreign law firms, Herbert Smith Freehills and Trowers & Hamlins, also appear to be slowly boosting their headcount in Malaysia. It also remains to be seen whether the Dentons combination with Zain & Co will lead to a bigger Dentons’ presence in Malaysia.
Here, we rank the size of the largest Malaysian law firms. We first cover the domestic firms and then make some observations on the foreign firms. The headcount is based on the Malaysian Bar directory listing at the time of writing. All images are from the firms’ website and the number of partners are also based from the firm’s website.
#13: Shook Lin & Bok Malaysia – 65 lawyers
Shook Lin & Bok Malaysia has a total of 65 lawyers, and with 22 partners. In May 2018, some of its former partners and associates set up the dispute resolution firm, Steven Thiru & Sudhar Partnership.
#12: Raja, Darryl & Loh: 69 lawyers
Raja, Darryl & Loh has 69 lawyers. The firm has 22 partners. On 30 March 2018, one of its named partners, Darryl SC Goon, was elevated to become a Judicial Commissioner of the High Court of Malaya.
#11: Azmi & Associates – 74 lawyers
Azmi & Associates has a total of 74 lawyers. The firm has 16 partners. 73 lawyers are in its main Kuala Lumpur office and with 1 lawyer in its Johor Bahru office.
#10: Christopher & Lee Ong – 79 lawyers
Christopher & Lee Ong (CLO) is part of the Rajah & Tann Asia Network. CLO has 79 lawyers, and 34 are partners.
#9: Wong & Partners – 80 lawyers
Wong & Partners is a member firm of Baker McKenzie International. The firm has 80 lawyers. 19 are partners.
#8: Chooi & Company + Cheang & Ariff – 81 lawyers
In June 2018, Chooi & Company and Cheang & Ariff merged to form the new Chooi & Company + Cheang & Ariff. They now bring together 81 lawyers, out of which there are 29 partners.
#7: Rahmat Lim & Partners – 87 lawyers
Rahmat Lim & Partners is an associate firm of Allen & Gledhill of Singapore. It has 87 lawyers, out of which there are 25 partners.
#6: Zul Rafique & Partners – 95 lawyers
Zul Rafique & Partners has 95 lawyers. The firm has 33 partners.
#5: Adnan Sundra & Low – 95 lawyers
Adnan Sundra & Low has 95 lawyers. In October 2018, the firm merged with corporate boutique firm, Putri Norlisa Chair, and also merged with projects boutique firm, Khem Thadani. The firm has a total of 26 partners.
#4: Shearn Delamore & Co – 105 lawyers
The first firm on this list to break the 100-lawyer mark. Shearn Delamore & Co has 105 lawyers, out of which there are 49 partners.
#3: Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill – 116 lawyers
Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill has a total of 116 lawyers. 109 lawyers are in its main Kuala Lumpur office, 3 lawyers in the Johor Bahru and 4 lawyers in the Penang offices. The firm has 36 partners.
#2: Skrine – 120 lawyers
Skrine has 120 lawyers, and 47 are partners.
#1: Zaid Ibrahim & Co – 156 lawyers
Zaid Ibrahim & Co has a total of 156 lawyers. 107 lawyers are in its main Kuala Lumpur office. For its other offices, 17 are in Johor Bahru, 5 in Kota Bahru and 27 in Penang. The firm has 56 partners.
Aside from the above established domestic law firms, there are two qualified foreign law firms licensed in Malaysia.
Firstly, Herbert Smith Freehills in Kuala Lumpur now boasts a headcount of 10 lawyers. It is made up of 2 partners, 2 senior associates, and 6 associates.
Secondly, Trowers & Hamlins has 5 lawyers based in its Kuala Lumpur office. 2 partners and 3 lawyers.