Feature in The Edge on innovation in the Malaysian legal profession

This week’s edition of The Edge has a feature on legaltech in Malaysia.

The article — titled “Innovation and the legal profession” — features quotes from TheMalaysianLawyer.com’s Marcus van Geyzel, as well as Cherilyn Tan (Asia Law Network), Eric Chin, Fahri Azzat (Fahri & Co and Locum Legalis), and Noemie Alintissar (Future Law Innovation Programme, Singapore Academy of Law).

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Fatal flaws in Malaysia’s Legal Profession (Group Law Practice) Rules 2018

Almost five years after the first draft rules to introduce the “group practice” model to Malaysian law firms, the Legal Profession (Group Law Practice) Rules 2018 (“GLP Rules”) have been gazetted, and will be coming into operation on 30 June 2018. The GLP Rules are available here.

The group practice model — which allows law firms to band together in a larger set-up and share resources while retaining the separate firm identities — has the potential to greatly benefit smaller law firms in particular.

Unfortunately, the GLP Rules that have been finalised and put forward by the Bar Council are flawed, and this will very likely result in the interest in, and benefits from, the group practice model being severely limited.

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10 lessons from my 10-year eLawyer entrepreneurship journey

Eddie Law entrepreneurship

Valuable insights from guest writer Eddie Law, as he reflects on his 10-year entrepreneurship journey with eLawyer.

10 years ago, I was going through a challenging period in my legal career. One interviewer even bluntly said to me: “You change jobs like people change clothes”. Although I was very committed and worked hard, my career somehow was not going the way I wanted. I was in a state of despair, and kept asking God where I should go, and what I should do. I was upset, and felt lost.

I experienced a period of not having a stable full-time job. In the “extra free time” that I had, I started reading about e-commerce, blogging, and online businesses. I was fascinated with the power of the internet and the endless possibilities it offered. I started my own blog and exploring what opportunties there were online.

One day, the idea came to me to build a website as an online resource for Malaysian lawyers — this was how eLawyer.com.my was born, in November 2007!

To mark the 10-year anniversary of the launch of eLawyer (my co-founder was another tech entrepreneur, Larry Lam), I would like to share 10 things I have learned over this decade-long entrepreneurship journey:

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5 tips from an intern on making the most of a law firm internship

Crystal Wong

Guest writer Crystal Wong, who has three law firm internships under her belt, shares her tips on making the most of those short stints.

Being an intern gives you a good platform to engage in an out-of-classroom and out-of-this-world experience. Internships give you a glimpse of how the legal scene unveils itself in a practical manner. I interned in Peter Ling & van Geyzel (PLVG) in Kuala Lumpur during my summer break in August 2017, and it turned out to be one of my favorite experiences.

Having now experienced internships in three different law firms, here are my 5 tips to make the most of your internship.

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The #LexTech17 conference — exploring the impact of legal tech and innovations on legal practice

The LexTech Conference 2017 — Malaysia’s first legal tech conference, which aimed to raise awareness on legal tech and to promote technology adoption — was held on 4-5 November 2017. Among the legal tech experts and innovators, lawyers, general counsel, and other interested parties who assembled from all over Asia, was our own intrepid reporter Janice Tan Ying. She prepared this report on what she managed to glimpse of the future of law. You can read our other coverage via the #LexTech17 tag.

‘Blockchain’, ‘Smart Contract’, ‘NewLaw’. Dubbed the ‘uberisation’ of legal services — is this just fleeting hype, or are these new legal tech trends here to stay? If it is the latter, will it disrupt the livelihoods of legal practitioners, or enable lawyers to enhance their practice? While these buzzwords may sound like gobbledygook (read: tech jargon) to the everyday lawyer, talk about impending ‘disruption’ in the legal industry is rife.

According to Malaysian Bar President George Varughese, “legal technology is still somewhat an enigma in this region”. He said this during his welcoming address at #LexTech17 — the inaugural LexTech Conference 2017 which took place on 4-5 November 2017 in Cyberjaya. He also added — “Some of us know it well and welcome it with an embrace but many of us are threatened by its penetration and understandably so. It’s disruptive, it’s innovative and it’s necessary.”

Image 1 Malaysian Bar President George Varughese delivering the conference welcoming address
Malaysian Bar President George Varughese delivering the conference welcoming address | Photo credit: CanLaw Asia

Jointly organised by CanLaw Asia and Brickfields Asia College (BAC), the two-day conference saw the region’s leading legal practitioners and legal tech innovators come together to share their ideas and solutions on legal innovation. Topics that were discussed throughout the expert panel and breakout sessions on both days centred around four issues: The role of regulators and accelerators in legal innovation, blockchain and smart contracts, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal research, and how legal practitioners can future-proof their practice.

The following are four key themes from the conference:

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