Lessons from Lockdown: How COVID-19 and remote working have changed the way we work

2020 has been the year of COVID-19. The pandemic has affected every aspect of life in almost every corner of the globe. Apart from the devastating impact on health and lives, and the effect on economies everywhere which may take years to recover from, COVID-19 has changed the way we work. Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (“MCO”) meant that from 18 March, most businesses had to cease on-site operations. Many other countries also enforced similar restrictions.

As a result of restrictions, people the world over have had to get used to working from home. While the concept of remote working isn’t new (it may come as a surprise to many that Tim Ferriss’ classic “The 4-Hour Workweek” was published 13 years ago), before these restrictions most industries had resisted the shift to working away from the office. The COVID-19 restrictions have forced even the staunchest luddites to adopt remote working.

We sought the views of the following four individuals with links to the legal industry across Asia-Pacific to hear about their work-from-home experiences:

  1. Crystal Wong, a partner in the Energy, Infrastructure & Projects and International Arbitration Practice Group at LHAG.
  2. Gaythri Raman, the Managing Director, Southeast Asia at LexisNexis.
  3. Jeannette Tam, a Senior Managing Associate at Bird & Bird Hong Kong.
  4. Zamir Hamdy Hamdan, the Asst Vice President for Stakeholder Management in Astro Malaysia‘s Human Capital Division.

We’re sure you’ll enjoy reading their insights.

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Insights from two months of webinars

There have been a few very noticeable changes in the Malaysian legal industry in 2020. Most of these are attributable to COVID-19 and the resultant restrictions under the Movement Control Order (MCO) since 18 March 2020, and subsequent on-going Conditional MCO.

One significant development was the proliferation of webinars. By the middle of April, it seemed like there was at least one webinar a day to tune into, depending on your area of interest. Almost all of these were free, with some requiring prior registration. In recent weeks we have seen the shift to paid webinars, and webinars will very likely be a mainstay for the foreseeable future. It is looking increasingly unlikely that big conferences will be possible for the rest of the year.

To gain some insights into the rise in popularity of webinars, particularly in the legal industry, there is probably no better person to hear from than Richard Wee. He was one of the first movers who promoted and hosted webinars during the MCO — both in collaboration with Brickfields Asia College (BAC), and through his own firm, Richard Wee Chambers (RWC). Richard has since hosted more than 20 webinars, covering a broad range of topics.

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Submissions open — Get published on TML

We have noticed a recent increased interest among Malaysian lawyers to write and publish articles. This is based on the discussions and feedback we have been received in the past couple of months, as well as the comments and questions that came up when Lee Shih was a panellist on the recent webinar organised by the KL Bar Young Lawyers’ Committee. Since the MCO started, there has also been an obvious increase in Malaysian lawyers being active on LinkedIn, and publishing longer-form updates or write-ups there.

One of the comments we have been hearing is that many lawyers, particularly young lawyers, still have reservations about publishing their writing. Commonly (and understandably), they feel that they are not experienced enough and need time to build confidence. Another barrier seems to be that they don’t know how or where to publish what they’ve written — whether they need to create their own blog or website, submit to existing online or print publications, or publish on mediums such as LinkedIn.

In view of this, we have decided to invite submissions for articles to be published on The Malaysian Lawyer (TML). This website does not usually accept submissions, so this is a rare opportunity. We hope that this will particularly encourage first-time writers, or those who have ideas for articles but have been dithering on whether/when/how/where to get published.

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More than 1,000 Email Followers

Thank you to our readers. At the start of 2020, The Malaysian Lawyer now has more than 1,000 email followers. So every time this site is updated, our email followers will receive an email update.

You can subscribe to The Malaysian Lawyer website updates by typing in your email address into the right hand box and click subscribe.

 

Largest Law Firms in Malaysia 2019: Domestic and Foreign Firms

Last year, we featured the largest law firms in Malaysia. We continue with this feature this year and update the numbers for 2019. We total up the number of lawyers of each law firm, including the firm’s branch offices.

In summary, the largest law firm in Malaysia is Zaid Ibrahim & Co with 160 lawyers, spread across offices in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru and Kota Bahru. In joint second are Skrine and Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill with 126 lawyers.

The headcount is based on the Malaysian Bar directory listing at the time of writing. All images are from the firms’ website. Continue reading

Malaysian Law Firms on Instagram

In our earlier post, we had featured Malaysian law firms which are active on LinkedIn. Malaysian law firms are also taking to another social media platform, Instagram. It is a largely photo and video-driven platform, and with a large number of users. There are estimated more than 1 billion monthly active Instagram users and more than 500 million daily active users.

The law firms below have slightly different approaches in utilising Instagram. It may be a combination of sharing knowledge or legal updates, giving an insight into the firm culture or firm activities, or something unique altogether.

We feature below the firms with a higher number of followers. Do drop a comment if you think there are other firms we should feature. Continue reading