The Rise of the Specialist Litigation Firms

This article traces the trend of specialist boutique disputes firms. This will cover some examples from the UK, Singapore and Malaysia. This article sets out some trends and how boutique disputes firms are also establishing their foothold in the market.

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Law Firms in Malaysia Face Tight Cashflow and May Downsize

Law firms in Malaysia are facing challenging times. Based on the recently released Bar Council survey results on 5 June 2020 (report available from the Malaysian Bar website to members only), almost half of the law firms replied that they would be downsizing, closing their law practice or ceasing practice. Close to 60% of the law firms responded that they were not intending to hire due to financial issues from the movement control / COVID-19.

I highlight the key points from the Bar Council survey from the perspective of hiring trends moving ahead.
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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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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

Largest Law Firms in Malaysia: Domestic and Foreign Firms

[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. Continue reading