Proposed Requirements for Fly-In-Fly-Out Foreign Lawyers in Malaysia

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 UK Law Gazette highlighted some concerns of further restrictions on foreign lawyers being able to enter Malaysia to advise on non-Malaysian law aspects. I clarify this area of proposed reform under Malaysian law. Continue reading

Malaysian Bar Seminar: Claims Involving Companies and Misdirected Funds or Opportunities

On Thursday 28 March, I will be speaking at the Malaysian Bar seminar titled ‘Claims Involving Companies and Misdirected Funds or Opportunities‘. This seminar is open to members of the Bar as well as members of the public. You can click on the registration form over here.

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

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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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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Resistance to legal tech innovations in Malaysia — a threat to the rule of law?

 

legal tech image
Image from growthbusiness.co.uk

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.

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