Archive for the ‘Legal Career’ Category

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KL Bar – eLawyer Legal Career Forum 2015

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

As per the previous year, click here and here for the Legal Career Forum 2014, eLawyer Recruitment is proud to be in the collaboration with the KL Bar to bring you the yearly KL Bar – eLawyer Legal Career Forum.

This year our theme is:

  • Working in different sized law firms: Large? Mid? Small?
  • To be employed? Or self-employed?: Are you ready?

This Forum is intended to benefit members of the Bar, pupils, students and law firms by sharing views of legal practitioners having worked in different organizational structures of legal firms to share their work experience and different expectations of each firm structure including setting up their own legal firms.

In respect of choosing the suitable size of law firm to work for, this Forum is expected to give insight and clarity to students, pupil and young lawyers on the working experience and conditions in large, medium and small firms. This will give an opportunity for them to decide where they are better suited to work. Attendees will have a better understanding of the workings and demands of different sized legal firms and will be able to make an informed decision on employment.

In respect of to be employed or self-employed, this Forum will also include a discussion on the difference of being self-employed and being in employment. The discussions will cover questions on when is a lawyer ready to set up legal practice on his/her own and the challenges that may be faced by them.

This Forum is open to all lawyers, pupils and law students. 

Details of the even are as follows:-

Date: 12 December 2015 (Saturday)

Venue: Legal Aid Training Room, Suite 202-204, 2nd Floor, Wisma Hangsam, No. 1 Jalan Hang Lekir, 50000 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 speakers for the Forum are as follows:

  • Mathew Thomas Philip

mathew

Mathew Thomas Philip has over 20 years of experience in handling complex and contentious civil and commercial litigation. He has counselled and represented domestic and international clients and has successfully negotiated over 300 settlements during his career. Mathew regularly advises MNCs and SMEs on litigation risk and represents them in negotiations and execution of strategy. He commenced pupillage at Messrs Raja, Darryl and Loh in 1991 and continued practice with them as a Legal Assistant for the next 6 years. In 1997, Mathew became a Partner at Messrs Thomas Philip, Kwa & Lou and in the year 2004, he found Messrs Thomas Philip and has been the Managing Partner since.

  • Vasanthi Rasathurai

vasanthi

Vasanthi Rasathurai has over 10 years of litigation experience in civil and commercial law which includes all areas of contract, tort, conveyancing, company, media, land, local government, defamation and intellectual property. She has worked in different sized firms over the years and is currently practising as a Partner with Messrs Vin Partnership. She commenced legal practice at Messrs Shafee & Co. After 3 years, she pursued the Masters in Law in London. Upon completion, she returned to Malaysia and commenced practice with Messrs Shearn Delamore where she specialized in intellectual property for 3 years. Later, she joined Messrs Zaid Ibrahim & Co before returning to Messrs Shafee & Co. In 2011, she founded Messrs Vasanthi Rasa & Associated and was its principle for more than 3 years before joining the current firm

  • Eddie Law

Mr. Eddie Law

Eddie Law is the founder and Managing Director of eLawyer.com.my (he was called to the Bar in 2003). He has both private practice and in-house experience before he ventured into legal recruitment 7 years ago. His clients include law firms (both local and international) and corporations. In 2015, Eddie was named by the Asia Law Portal as the Top 30 People to Watch in the Business of Law in Asia in. Further on October 2015, Eddie was described by Malaysian SME newspaper as a person who set the bench mark of legal recruitment industry in Malaysia. Eddie is passionate and generous about sharing his thoughts and experience on legal career related issues with young an potential lawyers, giving insight views of the career path of a lawyer, inspiring lawyers to excel in their profession, harness their leadership skills and personal growth.

Moderation: Choo Dee Wei, a partner at Messrs C.K. Hau & Co. He commenced practice in April 2007 in Messrs Skrine. In 2009, he joined Messrs Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill. In April 2014, he joined Messrs C.K. Hau & Co as partner. He is the Chairperson of the KL Bar Young Lawyers Committee for term 2015/2016 as well as for term 2014/2015.

The registration fee for this Forum is RM 10.00 per participant. 

Light lunch refreshments will be served.

Limited seats available. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Please make payment by 9 December 2015 (Wednesday). Click here for the registration form. 

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 any 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 email Rajan (rajan@klbar.org.my) at the KL Bar Secretariat or call 03-20321440.

This event is brought to you by:

elawyer-new-logo-rawKL Bar Logo

 

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.”

Sometimes Your Choices Are More Important Than You Working Hard

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

career growth

(This article is written by Eddie Law, the recruitment director of eLawyer Recruitment and was published in RE:LEX Malacca Bar Magazine Feb 2015 issue)

Growing up in an Asian culture means that our parents or elders always told (or tell, depending on how adamant they are) us that working hard is the key to success Yes,  in many ways, hard work does pay for success. No one should ever be taught to be lazy. The degree of hard work is also likely to affect the speed with which you achieve your goal . However, have you ever thought that making the right choices is as important, if not more important than merely working hard

Everyone has that friend in school – the one who did not seem to work as hard as you did but achieved more than you ever did? Why?

Allow me to illustrate this concept with the following analogy:

A person who wants to succeed is determined to get from where he is to where he wants to be, that is, from Point A to Point B. A few options are available for this person. He may choose to RUN. He may work very hard on it, and get closer to his destination with each painful step, perhaps at 5 kilometers an hour.

Alternatively, he may choose to DRIVE to Point B at 100 kilometers an hour. Finally, he may choose to fly at 1000 kilometers an hour.

Which which mode of transportation would you choose to reach your destination? When put this way, is the answer not obvious

Choosing the right platform or means to your goal not only helps you reach your destination in a shorter time, it also allows you the liberty of spending quality time with your love one during the journey.

The old school of thought was that the one who seems to be putting in the most effort is to be lauded (for example, the one who chooses to run would definitely sweat more and seem to be working very hard), and the one who does not seem to be putting in as much effort is frowned upon (for example, the one who takes the plan seems more comfortable). However, in today’s competitive world, perhaps a paradigm shift is due.

Applying this to your legal career, you have probably worked very hard to get through law school. Upon your graduation, there is myriad of options and possibilities for your legal career. For instance, you can venture into private practice or work as an in-house lawyer, serve the government, become an academician, or do something totally unrelated to law.

The choice you make matters! If you choose the right job, the right area of practice, the right firm, the right employer, the right career path or even the right partner and clients, these right choices will make a significant impact in sending you off to the road of success more quickly and smoothly. Choosing the right platform will save you some unnecessary hard work However, if you make the wrong choice, no matter how hard you work and how much effort you put in, you will still be shying away from where you want to be. Working hard per se is insufficient if you do not choose the right direction or platform.

(more…)

Brief Report of Legal Career Forum 2014

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

As mentioned in our previous post,  eLawyer Recruitment was the co-organiser of the Legal Career Forum with KL Bar Pupils Committee (PC) and Young Lawyers Committee (YLC)  which was held on 6th December 2014 at the Raja Aziz Addruse Auditorium.

The purpose of the forum was to inform the participants of the legal career opportunities available by sharing views of lawyers from different practice areas.

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(The panel of speakers: from the left Amer Hamzah, Marcus Van Geyzel, Cindy Goh, Eddie Law, Lau Kee Sern and Chris Tan Chur Pim)

10407453_1476197269267743_2518619108638787605_n

More than 70 participants attended the forum and some commented that the forum provided them with valuable insights that would help them make better and informed decisions with regards to their career path, especially in the different areas of practice.

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(Participants listening attentively)

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Eddie gave a speech on the topic of how to succeed in one’s legal career and legal talent retention. In respect of a lawyer succeeding in his or her legal career, Eddie shared the principle of “SPM” (namely Strategy, Purpose & Mentor) to elaborate how a lawyer is able to succeed and be ahead than the rest in their legal career.

In respect of legal talent retention, Eddie began with identifying the underlying issues that cause legal talents to leave a law firm. He further went on to elaborate how by using the 3 Es (Engagement, Enable & Energize) as one of the main solutions to improve the situation.

Speaking from his own experience, Eddie further shared with the participants on the powerful perspective of Sometimes making the right choice is more important than working hard.

He concluded with his favorite quote:

“Your Attitude, not your Aptitude, will determine your Altitude”  by Zig Ziglar 

10407453_1476197269267743_2518619108638787605_n

During the forum, the participants were given a survey form to fill up. The survey concentrated mainly on the participants feedback with regards to their job satisfaction and their main influences in their career decision making process. Many seemed to favour relationships with bosses and colleagues and work life balance as the main factors in deciding whether to switch jobs. It was also interesting on how more of the junior participants stated the ‘lack of challenge in a job’ as one of the main reasons for them to leave their current job while the more senior participants favoured workplace relationship and work life balance.

After Eddie completed his speech, an interactive forum by the young and successful talented lawyers began.

The below panel of speakers have more than 10 years of practice in their respective area and were sharing their insights on the area of practices they are in:

Amer Hamzah (Criminal practice), Marcus Van Geyzel (Corporate practice), Cindy Goh (Intellectual Property  Law practice),  Lau Kee Sern (Civil Litigation practice) and Chris Tan Chur Pim (Real Estate practice) while Eddie Law was sharing from a legal career consultant perspective. 

There were 2 common traits among all the speakers which made them who they are today, which are: passion in what they do and perseverance while facing challenges in their career. 

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Under the moderation of Peter Ling, this session was highly interactive and each speaker tried their best to answer all the participants’ questions. We hope that this event helped to shed some light on the participants and that they inculcate the mindset of successful lawyers through such sharing.

 

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.

 

 

Career Options for Lawyers

Monday, July 14th, 2014
(This article has been published in Praxis April-June 2014 Supplement )

It is interesting to note that when most lawyers enter their third or fourth year of practice, they start to reflect strongly on their career and questions such as these start creeping into their minds: Should I move to another firm to expose myself to a different work environment? My friends seem to be doing quite well having set up their own firm, should I consider joining them or perhaps set up my own small practice? I am tired of running around, litigation is challenging, (or perhaps) I can’t stand anymore of this kind of constantly long hours required of a corporate lawyer, should I move in-house so I can have a job with more stable working hours? Should I just take a career break to reflect on my life and what I want to do next in my career?

Fret not, all is not lost. There are many career options for a lawyer and highlighted below are some outside of private practice:

  1. In-house Lawyer

This is a popular choice amongst lawyers who wish to exit private practice. “In-house lawyer” is a broad term and refers to lawyers who are employed by corporations to provide legal support to the corporation.

The typical legal support role performed by an in-house lawyer includes, but is not limited to:

1.1   Providing legal advice in relation to legal issues arising from the operation of the business;

1.2   Drafting/advising/vetting/negotiating the terms in agreements;

1.3   Contract management;

1.4   Ensuring the organisation is in compliance with relevant laws and regulations;

1.5   Legal risk management;

1.6   Monitoring litigation portfolios;

1.7   Advising on company secretarial work; and

1.8   Recovery of debts owed by others.

However, due to the size of the legal department, you may be assigned only to a specific area of work. For instance, you may be hired as a compliance officer to solely take care of the compliance issues of the corporation. This is quite common in financial institutions as their business is highly regulated, hence, they have a dedicated compliance unit within their corporation.

Apart from commercial corporations, you may also consider joining regulatory bodies, e.g. Bank Negara, Securities Commissions, Bursa Malaysia etc. to assist in forming the relevant regulations/policy or to help in enforcing the same.

Joining a consulting firm is also another alternative for lawyers. For instance,  trust and/or will companies, intellectual property consultancy firms; tax advisory firms require lawyers who are familiar with a specific area of law to provide legal support to their businesses.

 

  1. Civil Service Positions

To serve the Government in your capacity as a lawyer is also another viable option. You may join various divisions in the Attorney-General’s Chambers (commonly known as AG Chambers) or apply for some of the positions in Judicial and Legal Services. Lawyers are also required in the legal departments of most ministries. Some also serve in the police force, either as police officers or prosecuting officers.

 

  1. Legal Academia

If you like teaching and prefer a “peaceful” campus lifestyle, you may consider becoming a law lecturer in law schools. You need to have at least a Master’s degree in law to qualify for this role. Teaching may grow to become mundane, especially if you teach the same subject for years. However, if you are passionate about a specific area of law and keep yourself abreast of developments, as well as contribute your thoughts on these developments, attend conferences and engage in discussions with other scholars, legal academia could prove lively and interesting.

 

  1. Legal Editor

If you like writing, reading and doing legal research, venturing into an editorial role with a legal publisher may be just the thing for you. Generally, legal editorial work involves editing law journals, law reports and law books etc. You need to have a good command of English and strong legal research skills to be able to function effectively in this role.

 

  1. Legal Recruitment Consultant

If you dislike paper work, enjoy meeting new people, feel a sense of satisfaction when you match job candidates with a suitable job and are result driven and resourceful, do consider the role of a legal recruitment consultant (especially with us), for the exposure and networking   gained during practice will contribute greatly to a job such as this.

 

Even with options abound, there are many lawyers whose dream is not lawyering and so after some years in practice, they decide to venture into other areas of work which do not require legal knowledge or experience. The F&B business is one such avenue and many lawyers have seen success in this. Those who love children and education become school teachers; some go into politics; some become professional trainers or even HR practitioners in large corporations. Though these jobs do not require legal experience, the legal training gained comes to good use and it will certainly lend itself, to a certain extent, to perform effectively in any future role you take on.

No matter what career options you pursue, finding a job which matches your strength and interest is paramount. It is no secret, passion in the job comes with interest in the job. Such passion will nurture a more wholehearted commitment. When your heart is in the job, you will naturally go full throttle, which makes way for you to stand out from the crowd. In addition to landing the right job matched for you, you of course also need to possess the right attitude: perseverance, eagerness to learn and acquire knowledge, being open to constructive criticism, being enthusiastic and hard-working and passion for the job and the desire to pursue excellence will go a long way. The combination of any of these two should make you shine in whatever you do.

 

Written by Eddie Law

The founder and recruitment director of eLawyer.com.my

 

Empowering Legal Practitioners with Knowledge for Tomorrow’s Needs

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Taylor’s Law School increases its stable offerings to meet the needs of the growing local legal scene

 

 

Dr Assaduzzaman Khan


The implementation of the first Entry Point Project of the National Key

Economic Areas, which is to profile the Greater Kuala Lumpur area as a magnet for business in Southeast Asia, has been attracting foreign entrants into Malaysia who are keen to tap into the country’s potential.

InvestKL Malaysia, set up in August 2011 as a Government entity under the Economic Transformation Programme, has, to date, enticed 27 global companies, to set up their regional headquarters in the Greater Kuala Lumpur area. This achievement, as per a recent report published by The Star, has so far seen a total of RM800 million being invested into the country.

Among the 27 companies moving their regional base to Greater Kuala Lumpur are oil and gas player Schlumberger, Vale, IBM, Darden, Cargill, Naton, Colas Rail, Linde and Rentokil.

In view of this exciting development, there is a need for aspiring and current legal practitioners to be well-versed in international business and trade law in order to be able to facilitate the business dealings of these multinational corporations and large-scale businesses that are shifting their businesses to the Greater Kuala Lumpur area.

Taylor’s University took a pre-emptive step by introducing the International Business and Trade Law (IBTL) Postgraduate Certificate in Laws and LL.M Programme as part of its course staple at Taylor’s Law School in 2012, as a way to meet the future needs of the local business scene.

The IBTL programme aims to graduate students who are highly proficient in their fields and well-versed with business laws around the world.

The small class size allows IBTL graduates to take advantage of the highly interactive nature of the courses, as well as benefit from the unique quality of group discussions. This setting also transfers into other areas, such as presentations and exchanges of ideas enriched by diverse perspectives.

Taylor’s Law School lecturer, Dr Assaduzzaman Khan, shared that the programme is unique as it covers common agreements and conditions used in commercial practice, as well as issues such as exclusion clauses and analysis of key risks in high value transactions where bespoke rather than standard goods are supplied.

“As both the students and lecturers come from different countries and different legal cultures, the environment strongly contributes to a special and a truly global character of the IBTL PGCertLaw/LL.M Programme,” he said.

Taylor’s Law School Dean Harmahinder Singh agreed, adding that lecturers in the programme are highly qualified legal academics, as well as legal practitioners.

“We also have practising lawyers from leading law firms, retired judges and legal advisors who are affiliated to Taylor’s Law School participating in the programme as guest lecturers, which will add another dimension to the quality of the experience for our students,” said Harmahinder.

The Master of Laws and Postgraduate Certificate in International Business and Trade Law equip graduates with a profound understanding of the impact of international law and institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (“WTO”), as well as the legal rules regulating business activity worldwide. The key modules in these programmes include International Business Transactions, International Dispute Resolution, Law of International Sales of Goods, as well as the Law of WTO.

 

Another programme aimed at   increasing the technical knowledge of legal practitioners is the Master of Laws (Healthcare and Medical Law) and Postgraduate Certificate of Laws (Healthcare and Medical Law) programmes.

Dato’ Mahadev Shankar

The programme, which was launched in November 2012, focuses primarily on the healthcare provisions in the Federal Constitution, the Medical Act and all ancillary laws and regulations, the concept of informed consent in the Malaysian context, the broader aspects of medical negligence and the duty of local authorities to provide a healthy environment.

Harmahinder, who works closely with Dato’ Mahadev Shankar, former Court of Appeal judge and a well-known figure in the legal industry in this programme, shared that this programme came about as a result of the huge demand for legal professionals in the healthcare industry in Malaysia.

The 18-month Master of Laws and 12-month Postgraduate Certificate of Laws are specialised programmes providing a thorough grounding in legal knowledge and skills which will fill the gap and the need of legal practitioners in the healthcare and business sector.

The postgraduate programmes are open to medical and para-medical officers in the healthcare industry, as well as other professionals, with basic entry requirements of a Bachelor degree. Classes will be conducted on weekends by Taylor’s Law School, which has over 20 years in developing capable aspiring legal practitioners.

These postgraduate programmes will assist with graduating highly-qualified legal professionals as the modules taught will be closely interlinked with ground conditions in the local healthcare centers, with its jurisprudence inevitably having a Malaysian flavour.

 

With more than 20 years of experience since its establishment, Taylor’s Law School has nurtured more than 1,200 students since 1992 in partnership with notable UK partner universities.

The postgraduate programmes offered by Taylor’s Law School are now open for registration. Financial aid of up to 75 per cent tuition fee waiver is also available for qualifying applicants. For more information, kindly contact 03-5629 5336, e-mail postgraduate@taylors.edu.my or visit www.taylors.edu.my/tls.

 

Four Lame Excuses Not To Quit Your Job

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

This article is reproduced with the permission of Raphael

I’m no expert on job-hunting. Neither have I been in the workforce for very long (5 years and 9 months, to be precise). I have only quit my job once, and it was one of the most momentous decision I have ever made in my life.

I’m now a year and a half into my second job. People tell me I look better now – there’s more light on my face, more flesh on my bones, more spring in my step. I have no regrets. I think I made the right decision switching jobs.

How does one successfully make the switch? What are the steps one must take? Such are questions frequently asked of me, mostly by those contemplating making the switch themselves. I answer them as best as I can, based on my personal experience, observation on the job market, and worldly wisdom.

Upon obtaining my advice, some have switched, some have decided against switching, some have yet to switch though they badly want to. The third group of people perplexes and amuses me greatly. When I ask them what’s holding them back, I always hear the same reasons.

Reasons? To be frank, they’re just excuses. Lame rubber duck of excuses.


1. Waiting For The Right Time

Sounds Like… “No time to job hunt”, “Not now, peak period, “But I feel bad for my boss and teammates.”

It’s Lame Because… If you really wish to quit your job, then you will find time to accelerate your exit. As the saying goes – where there’s a will, there’s a way. Should you push yourself to the point of exhaustion over work which you have no passion for? Do your bosses and colleagues own your body, mind and soul? Are weekends only reserved for retail therapy and hangovers? Nay, nada, negative.

It’s your life, it’s your career. Be selfish, look after yourself. If you feel like leaving now, then leave already. Don’t have to stick round for three to six months, until the void that you leave behind gets filled up, and the mess gets cleaned up. It’s not your job to find your replacement; it’s your bosses’. Any boss that begs you to stay against your interest is clearly not a nice boss, despite everything he’s done for you. Don’t need to be hero and hold the fort – it’s not like the world economy is going to collapse while you’re gone. It’s just a job you’re leaving, not some deep complicated romance. Say your goodbyes – pleasantly but firmly – and leave.

Lameness Level: 10/10

 

2. Waiting For Benefits To Come

Sounds Like… “Bonus out in a few months”, “Almost due to promotion”, “Just hit my annual target, might as well stay on”

It’s Lame Because… You work first, get rewarded later. Whether it’s a matter of weeks or months, you’ll always be at a juncture where there’s something to look forward to. After bonus, there’s increment. By the time increment rolls in, your team has clinched a sweet deal, promising of a better bonus and increment to come. Employers, sly as ever, will always throw sweeteners along the middle of the year to keep motivation high – allowances, free goodies and trips, talk of salary revision. Benefits are always invariably tied to a bond – employees have to reimburse the full or partial amount, if they quit within a period. It’s all a trap, to make it harder for you to leave. Don’t fall for it.

I actually quit my previous job three months short of bonus time. I tried using that as a basis to negotiate a higher salary for my new job, but ultimately, I didn’t lose too much sleep over the thought of losing my hard-earned bonus (four months, at least). If I had stubbornly waited for my bonus and stayed on till the year end, the opportunity of my current job would have slipped me by. Think long term, not short term. Focus on what your new job can offer, not what your current job could.

Lameness Level: 7/10


3. Waiting For That Big Project To Finish

Sounds Like… “I’ve been working on it since from the beginning like forever”, “It’ll look good on my CV”, “It’s my baby” 

It’s Lame Because… Your life doesn’t depend on that one big project. Fact of the matter is, everyone has some project they consider as big – don’t need to act like yours is super special. When one big project ends, another big project will quickly come along. Sometimes, a few big projects will run in parallel. After all, bosses always want to squeeze the most of their employees, never leaving them a moment of peace for long. This means that during 80-90% of our time at work, we’re all working on some big project. And if we refuse to quit until and unless we finish our big projects, there’s only a very tight timing window where we are actually free to quit our jobs. It’s rather silly.

I enjoy working on big projects. I enjoy marveling the fruits of my labour in big projects. But did my involvement in a few major court cases stop me from looking for jobs when I felt like quitting? Did job hunting significantly distract me from focusing on my big projects? Did I feel sad quitting before my big projects concluded? Nay, nada, negative. It all boils down to being disciplined and realistic. I’ve got a good job offer, which promises me big projects too. I’m young, and a long career ahead of me. I’ll just start afresh again. The world won’t run out of big jobs, big projects, big challenges.

Lameness Level: 8/10

 

4. Waiting For The Perfect Job

Sounds Like… “They can’t offer me a 30% increase”, “It’s a totally different job scope”, “I need to start from scratch”

It’s Lame Because… No job offer will ever tick all the boxes on your wish-list, and you’ll never know for sure which boxes will be properly ticked until you have started working there. The real problem lies with our unreasonable expectations – better pay, better hours, better colleagues, better environment. We all want it all, don’t we? Sadly, this all-or-nothing mindset ain’t going to work. Every career is a journey. Imagine you’re on a train careening towards a remote destination. The further you travel down the track, the harder it is to get back to familiar ground. Once you think you’re on the wrong track, you ought to quickly jump off at the nearest stop. Don’t expect to get back on the right track immediately. Don’t expect to leave a shitty job and land on your dream job, both in one go.

I, too, had a rough wish-list. Yet, I didn’t feel the need to check all the boxes. I just moved, without knowing what I was really getting into, without looking for perfection. I just moved, with moderate expectations. And you know what? More than a year later, looking back, I realised I have gotten far more than I could ever dream of – good pay, dynamic working culture, opportunities for development, and so on. And I got them not because of the original offer, negotiations and contract. I got them simply because I worked for it, after I got the job. The perfect job never drops from the sky on your lap. It’s up to each of us to make the job we have chosen, as perfect as we can.

Lameness Level: 9/10

 

Enough With The Lame Duck Excuses

Stop whining about your shitty job, only to then make up lame excuses not to quit. Stop dreaming about scoring the perfect job, when you can’t even wake up from the nightmares of your present job.

It’s cold outside. It’s getting dark. It’s not safe to wander in the woods alone. Anyone can think of a hundred and one excuses not to move out from their comfort zone. It’s an amazing ability we, as mature adults, have – to admit we’re not happy where we are; yet at the same time, convince ourselves we can’t be any happier anywhere else. It’s lame. It’s cowardice. It’s self-inflicted misery.

Clear your mind from doubts and fears. Take that leap of faith into the unknown. No matter where you fall, it will be much better than wallowing in a pool of mediocrity and misery together with your hundred and one lame yellow rubber duck of excuses.