Archive for the ‘Law News’ Category

The Malaysian Women Legal Counsel Association Members’ First Gathering

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

On 9th April 2017, the Malaysian Women Legal Counsel Association (MWLEC) organised their first members’ gathering in a friendly neighbourhood cafe. The gathering was a perfect opportunity for MWLEC to share the objectives and visions of the association with its members, and also to promote all upcoming activities for the year 2017.

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(Photo with the committee members of MWLEC)

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In 2015, the market was still doing fine, and companies were still hiring although there were concerns of a market slowdown;

In 2016, the market started to experience a slowdown and companies were very cautious about hiring. This led to a freeze in hiring and retrenchment exercises, especially in the oil & gas and financial industries. Furthermore, the property market also shrunk.  This had greatly affected the businesses of many law firms, especially law firms which relied on property and conveyancing works.

This year (2017), the market is still very slow and most of the hiring being done are for replacement purposes and not for purposes of expansion. However, there are certain areas of legal work that are still doing fairly well, e.g. construction disputes, foreign investment, and purchase of land by foreign parties. Divorce cases are increasing every year (always on a rise and seemingly not affected by market conditions).

During this period of economic downturn, big corporations are the ones that are being hit the hardest, and would either freeze hiring or hire mainly for replacement purposes. In contrast, smaller companies, especially those with stronger cash flow, are still boldly expanding in the current market conditions and are willing to hire for expansion as they see opportunities of gaining something of value for a cheaper price during the market slowdown.

Due to the decrease in the value of our Ringgit, some foreign companies have chosen Malaysia as their legal hub to provide support for both regional and global legal work, and these foreign companies are therefore still aggressively hiring. More international companies have set up legal hubs in Malaysia for cost-cutting purposes, hence more hiring is in turn being done, especially within the oil & gas companies.

Law firms are now very cautious in hiring and the outlook does not seem very optimistic, with some large firms notably having reduced the amount of increments and bonuses paid out. Some law firms are even cutting salaries and freezing bonuses, and some have even laid- off their lawyers.

Despite the market slowdown, where potential employers are cautious about the future market outlook, the output of fresh graduates continue to increase due to the establishment of more and more law schools. The Malaysian market is experiencing a situation similar to that which occurred in Singapore two years ago, where fresh law graduates faced challenges in securing pupillage posts and lawyers who have just been called to the Bar faced challenges in securing entry-level legal assistant positions.

However, Eddie is still generally very optimistic about the legal job market, as good legal talents will still be sought after in every kind of market condition. The key is to start equipping yourself to become a talent so that you won’t be affected by the market.

During the sharing session, these were the questions posed to Eddie, together with the answers he provided:

  1. We have heard that Chinese-based corporation are more generous in terms of salary offers, is that true or is it just a rumour?

Eddie:  So far, I do not have any direct involvement in recruiting for any Chinese-based corporation, but I have heard that they are willing to pay high salary and you are expected to work equally hard. This is due to the working culture back in China where they place a strong emphasis on efficiencies and results.

  1. Do retrenchment exercises carried out by financial institutions often involve their legal departments?

Eddie: Banks are still seeking out talents although they do not hire as many new employees as before. As Bank Negara has now imposed more stringent compliance demands upon financial institutions, there are more vacancies for compliance roles now as compared to before.

  1. In terms of industry, which top three industries have a stronger budget when it comes to hiring legal talent?

Eddie: It is very hard to answer that question according to industries as the offer may range widely within the same industry. I would say a candidate whose job scope is to support regional works will usually be able to command a higher salary. Secondly, foreign companies usually pay their employees higher salary as compared to local companies. In terms of law firms, the more reputable firms or boutique law firms would typically offer a higher salary.

  1. Can you share with us what are the three No-Nos during an interview?

Eddie:  Sure. Firstly, never badmouth your employer and the keyword here is “badmouth” as opposed to hiding the real reason for leaving. There is a fine line between badmouthing and stating the facts, especially when the push factor for leaving a particular job is people. No employer would want to hire a candidate with bad attitude or character (badmouthing is a sign of bad character), no matter how smart the candidate may be.

Secondly, when it comes to explaining your reasons for leaving, never say the reason is for MONEY ONLY. Why? If a candidate changes jobs just because of money, I doubt that the person will stay in any position for long, so again no employer would want to invest in candidates who have the short-term mentality. Anyhow, most employers will not be against the idea of you asking for a salary increase when you join them, so why highlight something that is not an issue?

Lastly, never be late, because first impressions really count. It is reasonable for an employer to perceive someone who is late for an interview as not being serious or keen about the particular job. Failure to be on time may also be attributed to poor time management, poor planning skills, and may imply that the candidate is unreliable, disrespectful and untrustworthy. You do not want to create such a negative impression even before being interviewed by the employer. In the event that you are late, always inform the employer in advance, provide an explanation of why you are late, and be apologetic.

 

 

Coffee Talk with MWLEC

Friday, March 17th, 2017

(This article is reproduced with the permission of the Malaysian Women Legal Counsel Association (MWLEC)).

Our Eddie Law recently had a great time chatting over cups of coffee with the vibrant individuals from the Malaysian Women Legal Counsel Association, also known as MWLEC.

MWLEC is a new association which has been set up specifically with the aim of providing support and useful insights to female in-house counsels in Malaysia, in order to help them advance in their chosen careers and increase their marketability. This dynamic association provides its members with the latest legal updates, news, as well as valuable training programs in order to stay relevant in this competitive field.

In the interview, Eddie had the opportunity to share his knowledge and expertise on various issues such as the latest development in the legal recruitment industry, must-have criteria to succeed as in-house counsels, tips on training needs and the overall market outlook for the legal industry. Read on!

eddie2COFFEE TALK WITH EDDIE, THE FOUNDER OF ELAWYER

  1. In this digital era, has there been any change in terms of the tools used by the hiring manager to assess a candidate?

Eddie: Well, some hiring managers these days are checking online profiles of potential candidates via major social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook to have a better understanding of the candidate. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain a presentable profile online.

On another note, more and more companies have also adopted the online Psychometric Tests to screen candidates. The Psychometric Test is used to gauge the candidates’ suitability for a role by determining if the candidate possesses the personality, characteristics and aptitude required for a specific role. Surprisingly, many candidates who seem to be articulate and appear to be “smart” during interview were unable to do well in the said test.

  1. Based on your experience, what was the most unusual request you received from a hiring manager before they conduct its first interview with a candidate?

Eddie: On one occasion, an employer requested me to provide information on the marital status of female candidate and if she is married, whether she has children and the age of the children. The reason behind such unusual request is that the employer prefers candidate who could commit to long work hours as and when required. The employer also mentioned that they have had a history of former female employees taking emergency leave frequently to attend to the needs of her young family.

Please do bear in mind that this was an exceptional case, most employers do not have such a preference. I personally think that with the current development in technology, there is increasing flexibility in how work can be performed. Hence, this change will benefit young mothers and empower them in their work. Employers should abandon this biased mentality as they could “miss out” on hiring young mothers with great talent.

  1. What type of training would you encourage an in-house counsel to attend in order for them to maintain their employability?

 

Eddie: In addition to attending trainings to sharpen their existing skill set, in-house counsels should attend industrial trainings. It is crucial for in-house counsels to have a better understanding of the industry trend so that they can provide more practical and strategic advice to the business without depending on an external lawyer. In depth knowledge of the industry is the differentiating factor between an in-house counsel and external lawyer.

 

Last but not least, leadership and managerial trainings are equally important for an in-house counsel. A successful corporate counsel is not merely a technical expert but also a great leader/people manager. Without good leadership and people management skills, it will be very challenging to lead a team.  An in-house counsel has to deal with co-workers from various levels of the organisation so they must possess good people skills in order to perform their functions effectively.

 

  1. What is your advice for someone who newly joins in-house position from a law firm?

 

Eddie: This is my advice to you:-

  1. Be humble and be humble! I must say that assuming the role of an in-house counsel is more than just providing legal advice. It is very challenging as you are expected to think like a commercial lawyer, so you need to learn how to be more commercially savvy. You will also need to know how to deal with/manage people of different levels of seniority and background to ensure effective communication and work harmoniously with each of them. Your work will not be purely legal, it will also involve the “operational” aspect of the business so you need to learn to be more flexible in your thinking, to provide more practical and relevant advice for the business (as opposed to giving pure “legal” advice only). You need to understand the industry and business operations of the company. It is quite obvious that a former lawyer who turns to becoming an in-house counsel has many things to learn so they should be more open to learning those things.
  2. Communicate, communicate and communicate! I have observed so many private practitioners struggling to adjust themselves into the corporate working culture. In particular, former lawyers find that people management/engagement is the most challenging aspect in a corporate working environment. In fact, all of these issues can be resolved with better communication and by being more diplomatic as and when you approach the business. Hostile confrontation and sarcasm will only ruin working relationships with co-workers and hinder your advancement in climbing the corporate ladder.

 

  1. Tell us about yourself and eLawyer.

 

Eddie: I am a lawyer turned legal recruiter. I started my career in private practice, before working as an in-house counsel. In 2007, I started a law portal called eLawyer.com.my (“eLawyer”) and began providing legal recruitment services around the year 2009. eLawyer provides two main services which are “Online Job Board Listing” and “Executive Search Service”.

 

My working experience in a law firm and as a corporate counsel sets me apart from normal recruiters, as I better understand the needs and requirements of both employers and candidates. I believe this enables me to make a better match between employer and candidate.

 

As of today, eLawyer has successfully helped more than 500 legal talents in securing their ideal jobs (excluding those who secure jobs through the online job listing board) and has served more than 500 law firms and corporations in recruitment.  There are more than 7,500 lawyers registered with us.

 

  1. For the past 9 years in eLawyer, do you see an increase in the in-house legal post in Malaysia? Yes/no, why?

 

Eddie: Yes, I see more and more in house jobs available in the market  because more companies are becoming aware of the importance of having an in-house counsel, there are more stringent regulatory requirements, and it saves cost (when a company grows to a certain size, having an in-house lawyer can help to save on legal fees).

 

  1. How would you describe a good in-house counsel?

 

Eddie: I would say a good in-house counsel is:-

 

  • a trusted counsel by the senior management and team members.
  • able to understand the business of the employer well.
  • able to offer strategic and practical legal advice.
  • a good team leader and effective manager.
  • a person who has good legal skill and a business mind.

 

  1. Can you share with us, what would be the overall market outlook for in-house legal jobs in year 2017?

 

Eddie: Due to the slowdown in the economy (or at least with the perceived slowdown), there may not be as many new openings in the job market. That being said, there are still many existing job vacancies available. In any economic condition, talented and capable people will always be sought-after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eddie Law wins Entrepreneurship Alumni Award from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

 

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Eddie Law received award from Vice Chancellor of ARU

Our very own Eddie Law, the founder and managing director of eLawyer, has done us proud by emerging as one of the winners of Anglia Ruskin University Vice Chancellor’s Outstanding Alumni Award in the United Kingdom late last year. The awards were conferred to selected graduates of the university who have gone on to excel in their respective fields after leaving the university, particularly when their study at the university have significantly played a role in their professional success thereafter.

All the award winners

All the award winners

The Anglia Ruskin University Vice Chancellor’s Outstanding Alumni Awards were divided into 5 categories, namely Alumni Service to Society Award, Alumni Contribution to Culture Award, Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Young Alumni of the Year Award, and Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.

Eddie Law was selected as a runner-up for the Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year award. This award was intended to honour and celebrate those who have made a difference by contributing to a local, national or international community through the creation of or significant involvement in a successful and meaningful business venture. The judging criteria for this award include the display of outstanding leadership and administrative skills in an entrepreneurial area, and evident track record of taking calculated risks or pursuing innovative approaches, which have brought positive impact to the business venture.

Among more than the ten winners who were honoured and celebrated for the day, Eddie was the only Asian. It was truly a proud moment for this Sitiawan-born humble and hardworking man, who in 2007 left legal practice and took a leap of faith to set up a first-of-its-kind online legal portal in Malaysia. Now a leading figure in the legal recruitment industry, Eddie has gone a long way since he first started out as an entrepreneur, with this award being the latest addition to a long list of achievements under his belt. Eddie now continues to inspire others by actively blogging and speaking on various platforms on legal career paths and personal growth. Winning this award, being a tangible recognition for his hard work and dedication, is indeed both meaningful and memorable for him.

The university’s inaugural alumni awards ceremony, held on 7 December 2016, was a glitzy and convivial affair. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, did the honours and presented the awards to the jubilant winners. It was definitely a momentous and happy night for Eddie and we certainly cannot be prouder of him. May eLawyer continue to grow and soar to even greater heights.

 

Entry of Foreign Law Firms into Malaysia – the effects on the local job market

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

foreign law firms in Malaysia

An interesting development in the local legal scene is the recent entry of Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) into Malaysia as a qualified foreign law firm (QFLF) approved by the Malaysian Bar Council. With the required approval in place, HSF is expected to open its local office in Kuala Lumpur in May 2017. This would mark HSF’s ninth base in the region after establishing its presence in numerous other Asian cities including Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Jakarta. This third largest practice among international law firms in Asia has previously advised several giant Malaysian companies such as Axiata, Petronas and Sime Darby. HSF has indicated that their Malaysian-based team will be focusing on specific practice areas such as transactions, disputes, and Islamic finance.

Liberalisation of the legal services industry in Malaysia took off in 2014 following significant amendments made to the Legal Profession Act 1976. Foreign firms are now allowed to set up in Malaysia either by obtaining a QFLF licence or by entering into a joint venture with a local outfit. HSF will be the second foreign firm to open office in Malaysia under the newly-introduced QFLF licence regime, after Trowers & Hamlins filled up the first spot in 2015. Despite this being a fairly recent development, we can already see the landscape of the local legal services industry rapidly changing.

The QFLF regime was introduced primarily to support the Malaysian Government’s International Islamic Finance Centre (“MIFC”) initiative. Therefore, firms who apply for the licence are required to have expertise in the area of international Islamic finance. The other route for foreign firms to establish a presence in Malaysia is through forming an International Partnership with a local entity. Both routes would require application for licences, which will be renewable every 3 years.

In opening up our legal services market, it is evident that efforts have been taken to achieve a balance between reaping the benefits of liberalisation and protecting the growth and competitiveness of Malaysian law firms. To this end, certain ring-fencing measures have been put in place. Although QFLF firms are allowed to operate independently without being associated with any local firms, they need to ensure that at least 30% of their fee earners are Malaysians.

In cases of foreign entry through establishing an International Partnership, the Malaysian joint-venture partner must hold at least 60% of the firm’s equity and voting rights. The percentage of local lawyers working in such a firm must be 60% or more and the name of the partnership must reflect both the joint-venture partners. An example of such an association is the forged alliance between UK law firm DAC Beachcroft and local outfit Gan Partnership in 2016. In terms of practice area, both QFLFs and International Partnerships are not permitted to advise on transactions which involve solely Malaysian law. They are also restricted from practising certain areas of law, including constitutional and administrative law, conveyancing, criminal law and family law.

In the last few years, many local law firms have taken the opportunity to create a stronger regional or global presence by establishing formal links with foreign firms. The oldest exclusive tie-up for a Malaysian firm would be that of Wong & Partners becoming a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International. To cite other examples, Malaysian corporate law firm Foong & Partners joined forces with Singapore’s acclaimed Wong Partnership in 2013, whilst Christopher & Lee Ong forged a strategic alliance with Rajah & Tan in the same year. Fast-growing Rahmat Lim & Partners also chose to go down a similar path by partnering up with Singapore’s Allen & Gledhill. Meanwhile, Abdullah Chan & Co is now able to offer additional reach in Europe after tying up with UK law firm Child & Child and law firm Cotty Vivant Marchisio and Lauzeral headquartered in Paris. Another significant alliance to mention is the exclusive tie-up between Jeff Leong, Poon & Wong with China’s largest law firm, Dacheng Law Alliance which occurred in 2011. Such moves have definitely enhanced these firms’ profiles and credibility at an international level. Yet, it is noted that certain well-established corporate law firms in Malaysia, notably Skrine, Shearn Delamore and Kadir Andri & Partners, have not taken similar steps to formally link up with foreign legal entities.

It is also interesting to observe how the shift towards liberalisation would affect the job market in the Malaysian legal industry. Change is indeed inevitable and we can expect the effects to be seen and felt from many different aspects. Based on the experience of other jurisdictions, would there been an increase in the salary levels for lawyers? In post-liberalised Singapore for instance, foreign firms have been known to pay starting salaries as high as $7,000 to bright young lawyers freshly called to the Bar. With the current highest starting monthly remuneration of RM6,000 offered by Lee-Hishamuddin Alan Gledhill, would we find foreign firms paying even higher than this?

Furthermore, the exposure gained from working on international deals and high-end projects which transcend geographical boundaries would give local talents the opportunity to tap on foreign resources and expertise, paving the way for them to develop their legal skills to a greater level. Clearly, this would make them more marketable and increase their chances of getting jobs in international law firms overseas. Whether this would ultimately result in brain drain in Malaysia remains to be seen and depends on many other factors, including the local economic situation and political climate. It can perhaps be argued that with a higher salary structure in place across the board and the high quality of legal work available locally, the effects of liberalisation on the legal services industry in Malaysia has actually removed at least some of the main incentives for our lawyers to secure employment abroad.

As the saying goes, there are two sides to every coin. With the entry of foreign law firms into the local sphere, would local talents find themselves working in a more competitive and fast-paced environment?

Can we expect the already aggressive talent competition among talented lawyers to further intensify? This may be the case especially for lawyers specialising in specific practice areas such as corporate law, capital markets, projects and banking. Increasingly high expectations will likely translate into longer working hours and the quest to achieve work-life balance may be more challenging than ever.

Nonetheless, it can be argued that the way liberalisation is perceived is a matter of mindset. The stance taken by the industry seems to be that this development should be embraced by our local talents so as to not be left behind both in terms of options and opportunities. So are you ready, young lawyers?

Malaysia SME interview: ‘Eddie’s law of successful legal placements sets benchmark’

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Eddie Law of eLawyereddie law of elawyer 2

We are pleased to share with you the interview of our founder of eLawyer, Eddie Law, by the prominent Malaysia SME newspaper on 2 October 2015. We reproduced the below interview for your reading pleasure.

Eddie Law is a lawyer. He founded and runs eLawyer, a leading internet based recruitment service for the Malaysian legal fraternity. “Friends say that since I was born a Law, it’s in my blood!” he jokes.

Named by Asia Law Portal as one of the top-thirty most important people in legal circles in the Asia-Pacific, Law, 38, specialises in hiring and placing students, legal secretaries, lawyers, legal managers, partners and legal counsel.

“Our recruitment consultants are lawyers by training, and therefore we understand our clients’ expectations,” he explained. His client base comprises sole-proprietor firms, partnerships and large local and foreign law firms.

“Our corporate clients include private companies, public-listed companies, government-linked organizations, investment banks, regulatory bodies and international corporations.”

After initially practising as a lawyer, Law worked for an IT group as legal advisor before venturing out on his own. He stumbled upon the idea of legal recruitment quite by chance.

“I started a law portal, but the recruitment aspect of it worked out best. So I got all the required licences and worked towards making it big.”

Select and manage

Asked what he would consider the single most important ingredient to being a successful entrepreneur, he replied without hesitation, “The ability to select and manage the right people.”

A young man from Setiawan, Perak, he studies in Chinese primary and secondary schools in the town, after which he had a choice of either taking over his father’s small restaurant or going to university.

“I did not relish the thought of being a chef, so I went to university. Despite not being top of the class at school, I surprised myself with a Second Class Upper,” he recalled with a glint of pride. He studied at UK’s Anglia Ruskin University, and is today their official Alumni Ambassador for Malaysia.

After graduation, his self-confidence soared, and he moved on to bigger things.

“I always tell young lawyers that persistency is a key factor, but so are execution and passion. If you are passionate in what you do, you will do it well and persistently. But the foundation of it all is humility. Without humility, you stop learning and growing.”

His firm currently offers job adverts, resume searches and placement services. Its job advertisement service displays job vacancies online, attracting 500,000 hits every month. Email job updates are received by 7500 registered jobseekers, while its Facebook job updates are viewed by thousands of lawyers and law students.

Another service, a resume search programme, is an active recruitment process through which employers can browse and search for candidates instead of waiting for them to apply. Search results can be filtered by criteria such as years of working experience, specialisation, position level and language proficiency.

He also runs a placement service which sources and screens suitable candidates for employers. Clients only pay upon successful placement.

“We provide free replacement of candidates if the candidate is found unsuitable for the employer’s needs,” he adds.

According to the Asia Law Portal (March 2015), Law is one of only three Malaysians who made the list of top 30 influencers within the Asia-Pacific legal industry.

Blog to follow

His eLawyer Law Blog Forum was also listed as one of the ’12 blogs in Asia to follow in 2015′, by John Grimley, the editor and publisher of Asia Law Portal.

Law said that among some of the manpower issues affecting the professions in Malaysia today are the the shortage of specialist lawyers, the challenge of managing Gen & staff, and the lack of coaching, mentoring and training for young lawyers.

At present, 95% or more of Malaysian law firms cater to the retail market, and less than 5% focus on the corporate market, which involves providing legal services to large corporations and high-net-worth individuals.

“Today, there are more than 6000 law firms in Malaysia, but less than 50 do work for the big corporations. This is because corporations go for big law firms, where they fell they can tap expertise, specialization, and experience. Thus, must corporate work is monopolised by a few large law firms an mid-sized boutique law firms.”

High demand

He noted that there is a high demand for specialists rather than general practitioners, especially in niche areas such as intellectual property, maritime law, and construction arbitration.

Another issue is the challenge of managing Gen-Y staff.

“These are mostly people below 30. They tend to emphasize fulfilment and satisfaction over money, and seek work-life balance, flexibility and autonomy at work.”

“Others seek instant gratification; they need bonuses more often than once a year. They are not willing to wait ten years for a partnership; they will jump ship if there is more money somewhere else.”

How does one attract and retain Gen-Y talent? What would help, says Law, is a lot of coaching and mentoring.

“Unlike the older generation who were left to their own devices, many of the young people I meet say they left their jobs because they did not have enough guidance.”

“Most law firms don’t realise the need for coaching, mentoring and engagement for young lawyers, and often don’t have the time or skills to do this. They are so involved in daily operations, productivity and output, billings and targets, that they often overlook human resource development. ”

“I met many young lawyers who leave because they do not know where they are going in their career.”

“When there is internal training, its mostly for technical skills. There is hardly any training budget, and if there is, the budge allocations are usually for partners. This is one reason why some young lawyers leave law firms and go on to become in-house corporate lawyers. They feel they have more opportunities to grow in larger commercial enterprises.”

He says that as young lawyers progress in their careers, many are expected to become leaders and people managers.

“Legal firms expect you to perform this role but they don’t imbibe you with people management and leadership skills.”

Law suggests that law firms should set aside budgets for training young lawyers in such skills.

“This problem is not confined to legal firms. It applies to SMEs in general, but in the Malaysian case, it is exacerbated by weaknesses in the education system.”

Changes & Challenges: The Corporate Perspective

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

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We are proud to be the media partner of this legal event which are co-organized by the Malaysian Current Law Journal and Bar Council Malaysia.

 

Change, it is said, is the wind in the legal profession and indeed the corporate life. With that, we invite you and members of your organization to register for the 2nd biennial Malaysian Legal and Corporate Conference (MLCC) titled ‘Changes & Challenges: The Corporate Perspective’.

 

The conference brings together members of the legal fraternity and corporate sector under one forum, leveraging on a theme that balances the legal and the corporate needs, to discuss pertinent issues of the day. Please view the conference details at  www.mlcc.com.my

 

4 reasons why You and Your Organization will find MLCC Beneficial:

  • The Conference will deliberate on the most awaited legislation - the New Companies Bill. This bill, as you are aware is likely to be gazetted soon, and the conference constitutes an opportunity to understand your role as operators, minders and policy makers of your company under the new legal framework.Two dignitaries, YA Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Federal Court Judge and Yg Bhg Tan Sri Rafidah, Former Federal Minister and Chairperson of Air Asia X will grace the occasion and speak on the topics of “Understanding Appellate Advocacy” and “Branding Corporate Malaysia Internationally” respectively.

    The Conference also features International Guest Speakers who will speak on “Emerging Markets: Conversation with ASEAN Insiders” – opportunities in China and the ASEAN region.

  •  This Conference is HRDF CLAIMABLE under the Normal SBL Scheme.
  •  SPECIAL RATES
    >> 1 delegate RM 1,400
    >> 3 delegates – get 1 FOC – RM 4,800 i.e. RM 1,200 per delegate
  •  Conference package includes a FREE BOOK worth up to RM290

 

Next step:

To register, or speak to our team on how the conference will benefit your organization, you can choose the following options:

  1. Fill in the attached registration form and email to priority@cljlaw.com
  2. Call the MLCC committee at +603-4270 5400

 

Who should attend:

  1. Corporate Counsel, Company Secretaries and Legal Practitioners

The conference covers a wide range of topics from the New Companies Bill, Insolvency, trial advocacy, and Non-Litigation alternatives to disputes

  1. Executives, Directors, business owners, Business consultants, business development professionals

Updates to the Companies Bill, off shore Planning, Investing in China, a talk on Branding Malaysia by Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Forum by ZICOlaw on taking local business regionally, and a special forum on the corporate and legal outlook in the region in the next 5 years

  1. Academics

Keep up to date with the recent development and cross boundary studies and comparison

 

We look forward to your participation in the conference to take full advantage of the line-up of amazing speakers sharing their wealth of experience

The Current State of the Malaysian Legal Market: A Q&A with Eddie Law, Founder of eLawyer.com.my

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

(This article was published in Asia Law Portal )

In the beginning of May, eLawyer founder, Mr. Eddie Law was interviewed by John Grimpley from Asia Law Portal in regards to the Current State of the Malaysian Legal Market.

The Malaysian legal market is currently undergoing structural reform while competition is increasing.  Here’s an update on the market in the second quarter of 2015 from Eddie Law, Founder of  eLawyer.com.my:

Mr. Eddie Law

Mr. Eddie Law

How would you describe the overall current state of the Malaysian legal market?

In general, I would categorise the Malaysian legal market into retail and corporate markets from the perspective of law firms businesses. I would say approximately 95% or more of Malaysian law firms are focusing on the retail market where they mainly focus on providing legal services to individual clients or SMEs (as opposed to big corporations) and less than 5% of law firms are focusing on corporate market where they provide legal services to large corporations and high-net-worth individual. I guess this is similar to the demarcation of our market overall. Most of the corporate work is monopolised by the few large law firms and mid-sized boutique law firms. I also see Malaysian legal market as getting more vibrant with the recent amendment to the Legal Profession Act and the passing of the Legal Profession (Licensing Of International Partnerships And Qualified Foreign Law Firms And Registration Of Foreign Lawyers) Rules 2014, in which foreign law firms and foreign lawyers are now be permitted to practise in Peninsular Malaysia.

Have there been any notable foreign law firm expansions into Malaysia recently?

Trowers & Hamlins, an international law firm originating from the UK, has recently become the first foreign law firm to be granted a Qualified Foreign Law Firm (QFLF) licence in Malaysia. It is interesting to note that they have operated as a non-trading representative regional office in Kuala Lumpur since 2012. I also realise that Allen & Overy has been working closely with their Malaysian clients via their Singapore office. It is interesting to note that they are also one of the winners in the recent ALB Malaysia Law Awards. On another note, there are a few notable Singaporean law firms aggressively tying up with Malaysian law firms, which includes but not limited to, Wong Partnership, Rajah & Tann and Allen & Gledhill.

Which practice areas appear to be most in demand at the moment?

Corporate practice is still most in demand by the market. Secondly, law firms or lawyers who are specialising in certain niche areas of practice are also increasingly in demand, as the consumers (or in-house lawyers) are more legally savvy now-a-day where they tend to go for specialist instead of general practitioner to provide solutions to their legal issues.

 How do you see hiring trends currently?

Due to the recent slow-down in the property sector, conveyancing practices have been affected accordingly. Therefore, the demand for conveyancing lawyers has slowed down. However, the hiring for experienced corporate lawyers are always highly in demand. Many experienced corporate lawyers have either opted to work abroad or go “in-house”.  Coupled with the increasing demand of corporate work — this has caused a shortage of corporate legal talent available for law firms.  Apart from providing recruitment services to law firms, I also help corporations to recruit in-house lawyers.  And the demand of in-house lawyers has recently increased too.

 What’s the current status of legal market liberalization?

The parliament recently passed the relevant amendments to the Legal Profession Act which allows foreign law firms or lawyers to practise in Malaysia in 3 ways:  1. As a Qualified Foreign Law Firm, 2. In International Partnership and 3. By allowing Malaysian law firms to hire foreign lawyers. There are 5 licenses of Qualified Foreign Law Firms status which may be granted to those who are able to demonstrate that their expertise and experience is in international Islamic finance practice as benefiting to Malaysia. As mentioned, Trowers & Hamlins is the first one who has obtained such license. I would see official announcements being made for the other 4 licence holders soon. I have yet to heard of any foreign law firms seeking to embark upon setting up an International Partnership nor are any Malaysian law firms thinking of hiring foreign lawyers thus far. On the another hand, due to the aggressive development of the ASEAN economy, more and more law firms are seeking to position themselves as leading law firms or one-stop-legal providers in the ASEAN market.  This has seen foreign law firms, especially Singaporean law firms — seeking to actively partner with Malaysian law firms.

What advice would you give law students about how to prepare for entry into the legal market upon graduation?

I’ve been invited to law schools and the KL Bar to speak to the law graduates and young lawyers about the legal career landscape and also the expectations of the legal market. In short, there are 4 main pieces of advice that I always give them in most of my speeches: 1. Master the command of English (poor English will hinder career options and advancement of a lawyer) , 2. Passion in legal practice and seeing purpose in the job are crucial factors to keeping a lawyer in a legal career for the long term, 3. Having the right attitude will make a lawyer shine (actually in any kind of job), 4. Keep an open mind on career options other than private practice.  There are many other jobs that a lawyer could opt for.

Tell me about your work with eLawyer Malaysia and how you help both law firms and lawyers in the Malaysian market?

I am the founder of www.eLawyer.com.my and am the recruitment director with eLawyer Recruitment. I see myself playing 2 roles: First, I act as legal recruiter to employers (mostly law firms and corporations) where I help employers source legal talent that match the requirements of the employers. Employers may also advertise job openings on our website. Secondly, I also act as a legal career adviser to lawyers, where I help them to discover their strengths, advise them on career options and areas of practice that are more suitable to their personality and profile. I also work closely with lawyers to help strategise career paths to match their career goals. Recently, due to the talent competition in Malaysian market, I also advise law firms on employer branding exercises. I understand that many laypeople are not familiar with law firm areas of practice and lawyer specialisms.  Therefore, through our website, we also connect potential clients with suitable law firms (this is done on pro bono basis).

@JohnGrimley is Editor & Publisher of Asia Law Portal

 

30 people to watch in the business of law in Asia in 2015

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

asia-law-portal

(picture source: Asia Law Portal )

To mark the beginning of the year 2015, Asia Law Portal published a list of 30 important people to look out for – for comments and developments in the law business arena in the Asia-Pacific legal market regions.

 

Founded by Asia Law Portal Editor and Publisher John Grimley, this portal serves the two predominant purposes of creating an atmosphere for everyone in the legal field and others to come across updates and information on all the economic opportunities available in the Asia-Pacific region, and for lawyers both inside and outside said region to contribute opportunities within their respective markets that they might know of and to proceed to raise them on this portal, in the capacity as contributors to Asia Law Portal.

In the article containing the list of the 30 people to look out for in the legal field in Asia-Pacific, penned down by John, we are proud to announce that three of them are Malaysians. They are Chew Seng Kok, Gaythri Raman, and Eddie Law. Chew Seng Kok is the Managing Director of Zico Holdings, Inc., Zicolaw being the biggest law firm in Malaysia. Gaythri Raman, Head of the Asia-Pacific Rule of Law & Emerging Markets initiative at LexisNexis, led the LexisNexis efforts to form the Myanmar civil law structures following market liberalisation. She is an author at the powerful Malaysian legal blog LoyarBurok as well. Also on the list was our very own Eddie Law, who is the founder of eLawyer.com.my and Publisher of eLawyer Law Blog Forum, this very blog you are reading from right now, that covers the law business in Malaysia.

Eddie started his career as private practitioner and thereafter he joined an IT company as legal counsel before founded elawyer.com.my. Currently, Eddie is the Managing Director of eLawyer Recruitment, a legal recruitment company which specialises in providing legal recruitment solutions to law firms and large corporations. Drawing from his experience as a private practitioner and later as an in-house lawyer, Eddie has successfully placed lawyers with various firms and corporations (both local and international).

Being nominated as one of the unique 30 individuals, Eddie said, “This is the best new year gift that I have received, at the beginning of 2015 itself. I feel pleasantly surprised and am humbled by being mentioned in the list of the ‘30 People to Watch in the Business of Law in Asia in 2015’. Such a recognition inspires and encourages me to do better in the coming years. I also want to dedicate the glories to God and share such honour with those who helped me along my eLawyer journey.”

 

Not only that, eLawyer Law Blog Forum was also listed as one of the ’12 Blogs in Asia to Follow in 2015’, per John Grimley of Asia Law Portal. This law blog forum “is one of the largest online legal community in Malaysia with more than 7,500 registered members and… [it]… attracts more than 500,000 hits on a monthly basis.” Visited by people in the legal field of all levels and ages, this forum provides important information about the legal world in Malaysia. The aim of the eLawyer Legal Blog is to create an online forum or platform to update and discuss about the news and trends in the Malaysian legal community. It also intends to create legal awareness amongst the public.

 

 

Legal Career Forum 2014

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

THIS FORUM IS OPEN TO LAWYERS FROM ANY STATE AND PUPILS. LAW STUDENTS ARE WELCOME TO JOIN!

KL BAR

The KL Bar Pupils Committee and Young Lawyers Committee in collaboration with well-known legal recruitment and consultancy firm, eLawyerRecruitment are organising a Legal Career Forum.

This Forum is intended to benefit members of the Bar, pupils, students and law firms by sharing views of legal practitioners from different practice areas and seniority on the current demands of legal practice with focus on employers’ perspective on career opportunities and advancement.

The Forum is expected to address the relationship between employers and Generation Y employees and seeks to bridge the gap between them. Many talented practitioners are leaving their current employment to seek better opportunities, often outside legal practice. The Forum is intended to shed some light on the many reasons behind the loss of talent in the profession.

Lawyers in employment will benefit as the Forum will also cover the current requirements and credentials that employers look for in fresh practitioners and pupils. What does it taketo secure employment as a lawyer?; What is needed to succeed further?; What are the challenges that one might face in legal practice? These are some of the questions that will be answered at the Forum.The speakers will also share about the insight of respective area of practice and the prospect of such area of practice.

As for law firms, managing partners and HR executives are encouraged to attend to find out more about the demands of Generation Y practitioners and to increase the retention rate of lawyers at their respective firms.

This Forum will bring about a better understanding between employers and employees in legal practice. It is hoped that this will in turn create a better working relationship and result in an improvement in retaining talent in the legal profession.

This is also a great opportunity to meet prospective employers and employees and build network at the same time.

Details of the event are as follows:-

Date : 6 December 2014 (Saturday)

Venue : Raja Aziz Addruse Auditorium

Straits Trading Building

Unit 2-02A, 2nd Floor

Leboh Pasar Besar

50050 Kuala Lumpur

The agenda for the Forum is as follows:-

8:30 am – Registration

9:00 am to 9:10 am – Briefing by emcee

9:10 am to 9:20 am – Welcome speech by the Chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee

9:20 am to 10:00 am – Forum commences with talk by Legal Career Consultant, Eddie Law.

10:00 am to 12:45 pm – Forum discussion and Q & A

12:45 pm to 1:30 pm – Refreshment

The speakersfor the Forum are as follows:-

Dispute Resolution:

1. Lau Kee Sern, Partner in Shook Lin & Bok (called in 2000). His main area of practice is Banking & Finance and Corporate Litigation. He is a member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Malaysia.

2. IP & Competition Law:

Cindy Goh, Partner (Intellectual Property) in Cheang & Ariff (called in 2001). Her practice area includes Intellectual Property and Competition Law.

3. Conveyancing:

Chris Tan Chur Pim, Managing Partner of Chur Associates (called in 2000). His area of practice mainly focuses on real estate law. He is National Committee Member, FIABCI Malaysia.

4. Criminal Law Practice

Amer Hamzah, Partner in Nizam, Amer & Sharizad (called in 1999). His area of practice focuses on Criminal Law Practice, Civil Litigation and Public Interest Litigation.

5. Corporate Practice

Marcus Van Geyzel, Partner in Peter Ling & Van Geyzel (called in 2003). His area of practice includes corporate & commercial, and capital market practices.

6. Legal Career Consultant

Eddie Law, Founder and Managing Director of eLawyer.com.my (called in 2003). He has both private practice and in-house experience before he ventured into legal recruitment 6 years ago. His clients include law firms (local & international) and corporations. Eddie is passionate and generous about sharing his thoughts and experience on legal career related issues with young and potential lawyers, giving insight views of the career path of a lawyer, inspiring lawyers to excel in their profession, harness their leadership skill and personal growth.

Moderator : Peter-Douglas Ling, Partner, Peter Ling & Co.

The registration fee for this Forum is RM10.00 per participant.

Light lunch refreshments will be served.

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Please make payment by 26 November 2014 (Wednesday). Click here for the registration form. http://www.klbar.org.my/newsletter/file/06122014form.pdf

 

METHOD OF PAYMENT:

Payment is to be made at any Maybank via bank transfer, cash or cheque

Name of Account: Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee

Account No: 564315003715

Fax the bank in slip to 603-20321090 together with the Registration Form.

 

NOTE:

 

  • Registration is strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

  • Confirmation is upon receipt of payment.

 

  • The Organisers reserve the right to postpone or cancel the Event, should circumstances arise that make such action necessary.

 

  • Fee paid is non-refundable unless the Event is cancelled by the Organisers. If a participant is unable to attend, a replacement participant is allowed

 

Should you have any queries, please e-mail Rajan (rajan@klbar.org.my) at the KL Bar Secretariat or call 03-20321440.

 

Thank you.

 

Best Regards,

 

Shashi Devan

Chairperson

KL Bar Pupils Committee

 

Choo Dee Wei

Chairperson

KL Bar Young Lawyers Committee

Salary Survey Report for Malaysian Lawyers 2014

Monday, July 14th, 2014

(This article has been published in Praxis April-June 2014 Supplement )

Introduction

Salary is always quoted as the main consideration among those looking for a change in their job or career path. As a recruiter, there is always a need to manage the salary expectations of prospective candidates as well as provide the latest salary scale to employers in order for the employers to make an informed decision when hiring. To ensure a win-win situation for both parties, the recruiter has to balance both the needs of the candidate and the hiring company so that neither does the candidate feel devalued in being offered a salary which does not match his/her skills or expertise, nor is  the employer left with feeling they have overpaid for those very same skills or expertise.

The salaries of those in the legal profession in Malaysia are definitely not the highest in the region.  Singapore and Hong Kong top the list, where, among other considerations, employers need to also compensate for the higher cost of living in these places by paying more.

Comparison of Salary Scale in Different Regions in Malaysia

In comparing the salary scale in the different regions in Malaysia, we took into account the range of salary/allowance offered to pupils, 1st year lawyers and the initial yearly increment thereafter.

For the purpose of this article, we only present the salary scale of the main cities in each region:

North Region South Region East Region
Penang Ipoh Malacca Johor Bahru Kuantan
Pupil’s Monthly Allowance RM750 to RM1,200 RM500 to RM1,000 RM600 to RM850 RM1,000 to RM2,000 RM500 to RM800
Monthly Salary of 1st year lawyer RM2,300 to RM3,000 RM1,800 to RM2,500 RM1,800 to RM2,400 RM2,500 to RM3,000 * RM2,000 to RM2,300
Initial Annual Increment RM200 to RM400 RM200 to RM400 RM200 to RM400 RM300 to RM400 RM100 to RM300

*It is notable that KL law firms that set up branch offices in Johor Bahru tend to pay their lawyers a higher salary compared to the local law firms.

 

Salary Scale of Lawyers in the Central Region According to Their Seniority, Including Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (“Klang Vellay”)*

As at April 2014

RM

Monthly package

Pupil

2000-2800

First year lawyer

3200-4200

Second year lawyer

3700-4700

Third year lawyer

4200-5500

Fourth year lawyer

4800-6500

Fifth year lawyer

5300-7500

Sixth year lawyer

6900-8500

Seventh year lawyer

7800-9500

More than seven years lawyer

No fixed scale

Junior partner

10000-15000

Senior partner

No fixed scale

*This salary information was compiled using our market knowledge.

Disclaimer: All salary ranges are represented in terms of monthly basic salary and exclude discretionary bonuses, or other variable incentives as of April 2014. These are indicative market ranges and are dependent on variable factors including but not limited to experience level, market conditions, firm size, areas of practice, job scope etc. There are exceptional cases where the salary for some lawyers exceeds the above indicative range of salary in some firms in Malaysia.

 eLawyer.com.my disclaims all responsibility for any harm or loss arising from the use or otherwise of the information provided.

 

Variable Factors:

From the above data, it can be noticed that the various salaries span a widespread range. The significant differences (even among the Klang Valley) law firms are due to the factors below:

 

1.     Area of practice

Lawyers in corporate/corporate litigation practice tend to attract a higher pay than their counterparts in other areas.  This is likely due to the complexity of the work which demands longer working hours (sometimes into the wee hours of the morning).  However, in larger firms there is no difference in the salary scale according to the areas of practice.

2.       Size of the firm

It is common belief that size matters when it comes to salary.  However, there are also instances where smaller firms may pay more than the bigger firms as they need to retain the best talent. It may be the case that lesser share to the sole proprietors pie  and that enables him to pay higher salary than the larger sized firm.

3.       Location of the firm

The firm’s location in Klang Valley may also be a factor. For example, legal firms in Klang or Kajang pay lesser than firms in the golden triangle. This could also be due to the lower cost of living  .  Being located in the golden triangle attracts a different set of clientele, which translates to having better paymasters, but who expect a higher quality of work. This in turn produces better revenue for the firm.

 

Paying the Big Bucks, What do Firms Expect in Return

Firms that pay the big bucks will be extremely selective of whom they hire. Large and mid-sized firms prefer in general to hire lawyers from reputable universities with good academic results (second class upper). As to the type of lawyers they look for, the Bar Council’s Employability Survey (Praxis Oct-Dec 2012) provides a guide.

 

Conclusion

Based on statistics, we foresee that it is likely that a first year lawyer’s salary may hit RM5,000 per month in a short period of time.  As it is usually the case of “I must do what my neighbours do”, increase by bigger firms may force smaller firms to follow suit in order to maintain their competitive edge in securing the best talent.

Lawyers in Malaysia are not earning as much as lawyers in other countries (eg a first year Singaporean lawyer earns up to S$7,000/month (S$5,000 being basic monthly salary and S$2,000 being advanced bonus) with international firms) within the region, as one senior lawyer quoted, “because of the undercutting practice going around which affects the earning ability of the firm”, consequently affecting the salary of the lawyers as well.

In a recent survey conducted by recruitment site JobsCentral Malaysia, among 3,508 employed Malaysians, doctors, lawyers and engineers are the unhappiest workers in Malaysia as advancement opportunities beyond their supervisory positions are scarce. In fact, the happiest workers according to the survey were those earning the lowest from RM999 a month and below, ranking 61.5, whereas those who recorded the poorest job satisfaction at 55.9 were people with monthly salaries of between RM8,000 and RM8,999.

(source:  http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/survey-doctors-lawyers-engineers-are-malaysias-unhappiest-workers)

 

Hence a reminder to all young lawyers: salary is one of the considerations but not the most important consideration when moving to another law firm. Instead, you should bear in mind the conduciveness of the working environment, probable career path, availability of opportunities to learn, level of work exposure and the good leadership quality of the firm’s partners when it comes to selecting a job.