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. Continue reading →
In January 2019, the Bar Council of Malaysia submitted to the Attorney General the proposed reforms to the Legal Profession Act (LPA). One area that will be amended will be the provisions involving foreign lawyers and foreign law firms entering Malaysia to advise clients. I have written about Malaysia’s liberalisation of legal services previously.
The seminar focuses on issues relating to claims involving companies and misdirected funds or opportunities. The speakers will combine their academic and practical perspectives and how to frame the appropriate causes of action in both common law and equity. Continue reading →
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.
‘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.”
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:
Guest writer Pang Jo Fan—Head of Marketing & Communications at legaltech lawyer-discovery service CanLaw—presents his views on why Malaysia’s Bar Council should be encouraging the development and introduction of legaltech to ensure access to justice.
Of late, there has been a spike in legal technology startups in the Malaysian market providing innovative tech solutions to assist both the public and lawyers in their day-to-day legal needs. Other than the more veteran players such as eLawyer and OfficeParrots who have been tirelessly serving Malaysian law firms with their human resource needs, there are also recent players such as Lesys Tenancy (tenancy agreements), BurgieLaw (legal directory), Dragon Law (document drafting), EasyLaw (calculators for lawyers), Locum Legalis (MOB app) and, of course, CanLaw (lawyer-discovery).
Much has been said about the Bar Council’s denial of Dragon Law’s entry to the Malaysian market and the infamous lawsuit against Answers-In-Law. The Malaysian Lawyer also provided an insightful update on the said matters based on the report by the Legal Profession Committee dated 1 December 2016 contained in the 2016/17 Annual Report of the Malaysian Bar. As it stands, it appears that the legal industry remains rather cautious of any form of tech innovations that are being introduced into the profession, mostly due to the general misconception that technological innovations pose a threat to the livelihoods of law practitioners in the country.