COVID, MCO, and the Malaysian legal industry — Part 2: Work culture, mental health, jobs, and the future

This market report is brought to you by The Malaysian Lawyer, co-founded by Lee Shih and Marcus van Geyzel.

This is Part 2 of our special market report on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the various MCOs on the Malaysian legal industry. Before reading on, you should read Part 1, where we addressed the financial issues (paycuts, volume of legal work, and revenues), remote working, and technology.

In this second part, we report on the impact of the pandemic on office/work culture, how law firms addressed employee mental health issues, and examine how the industry could have done better in dealing with the various challenges, and what the future holds. Again, these findings are not our own conclusions, but are a collection of the views of several lawyers who very kindly took the time to share their experiences with us. Some have asked to remain anonymous.

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COVID, MCO, and the Malaysian legal industry — Part 1: Money (paycuts, revenue), remote working, and technology

This market report is brought to you by The Malaysian Lawyer, co-founded by Lee Shih and Marcus van Geyzel.

If asked to think back to March 2020, when Malaysia first went into “lockdown” or a “Movement Control Order” (MCO), Malaysians may feel like the period of time that has passed has been the equivalent of several lifetimes. Or that it now seems to have gone quickly, and certainly doesn’t seem like it was 18 months ago. Or perhaps that it simultaneously feels like both a very long time and a very short time ago, in that time-bending perspective-warping haze that the pandemic seems to have permanently brought into our lives.

For the Malaysian legal industry, much has happened. If we cast our minds back to those early-MCO days, there was a scramble for lawyers to figure out how to operate outside of the office, without access to printed documents and files.

To be honest, some lawyers still haven’t quite figured it out, but there has been much progress overall. Compelled by the judiciary, lawyers shuffled out of the Stone Age and into conducting video trials online. The National and State Bars successfully convened their AGMs online (after a huge COVID scare from the in-person KL Bar AGM). Law firms rolled out pay-cuts, and freezed hiring, increments, and bonuses. As work dried up in some areas, many lawyers pivoted into new practice areas. Call ceremonies also moved online. Aspiring lawyers had to deal with huge delays to CLP exams and results.

There were lots of new law blogs launched (21 are still active), and law students, lawyers and firms were noticeably more active on LinkedIn (when TML wrote about Malaysian law firms on LinkedIn in 2019, we could only find 8 active accounts; when researching our latest law firm LinkedIn list, we found almost 80!) and Clubhouse (the biggest Malaysian legal Clubhouse club Malaysian legal community has 3,600+ members).

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Top 20 Most-Followed Malaysian Law Firms on LinkedIn: 2021

In September 2019, we featured the Malaysian law firms active on LinkedIn. The list in 2019 covered less than 10 law firms.

Two years later, we have seen a big growth in the numbers and followers on Malaysian law firm LinkedIn pages. From a search across LinkedIn, we have seen close to 80 law firms with LinkedIn pages. There is also a large increase in the number of Malaysian lawyers starting their LinkedIn accounts. All these factors showcase the strength of LinkedIn as a networking and professional social network.

We feature below the top 20 most-followed Malaysian law firms for the year 2021. The numbers are as at 13 September 2021. Continue reading

Malaysian Law Blogs to Follow in 2021

This article sets out a list of 21 active Malaysian law blogs as at 1 September 2021. A law blog would qualify for the list if there has been at least one post in the year 2021.

We look forward to seeing the Malaysian law blog community continue to grow here.

The blogs have been arranged in alphabetical order. Continue reading

Marcus on the Actsplore This podcast

TML co-founder Marcus van Geyzel is on the latest episode of the Actsplore This podcast. It’s a casual and wide-ranging conversation, touching on honing your craft, overcoming fear, adopting the right mindset, and — above all — enjoying the ride.

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Top 5 Articles on The Malaysian Lawyer in 2020

We end the year by looking back at the most-read articles on The Malaysian Lawyer in the year 2020. Thank you to the readers for all the support and for dropping by this site of ours.

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Featured below are our five most-read articles in 2020. Perhaps consistent with the challenging times of 2020, four out of the five articles deal with some form of closing down or retrenchment   Continue reading