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

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

 

Sometimes Your Choices Are More Important Than You Working Hard

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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.

 

 

Brief Report of Legal Career Forum 2014

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)

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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 

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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.

 

Interview with the Managing Partner of the largest law firm in Malacca – Mr Wong Fook Meng (Chee Siah Le Kee & Partners)

December 12th, 2014

fook meng

This is an exclusive interview with Wong Fook Meng, the Managing Partner of Chee Siah Le Kee & Partners, a firm of 13 lawyers and over 40 support staff in Malacca.

1. Hi Fook Meng, most of the people who visit the E Lawyer website are from Kuala Lumpur and are looking for jobs in Kuala Lumpur. You are one of our clients outside of the Klang Valley. Can you tell us a little bit more about life in Malacca and why you       choose to practice in Malacca? 

I actually started my legal practice in Kuala Lumpur and was working in the law firm of Mah Weng Kwai &Associates. I really enjoyed the robust litigation practice in Kuala Lumpur and Mr Mah was an excellent boss and mentor. However, I decided to relocate to Malacca as it is my hometown.

Practicing in Malacca affords me the opportunity to balance work with other important life commitments. The people in my firm work incredibly hard. But, we are spared the heavy traffic and crowded environment of the big cities. On most days, we can still spend a full evening at home with our loved ones. This is very important especially for those with young families as you get to invest your time and energy to building your family rather than giving them your emotional leftovers.  We also have more time to contribute to worthy causes. Many of our partners provide leadership or play   active roles in charitable organizations, NGO and also the local Bar Committee.

Like most State Bars, the Malacca Bar is a close knitted community of lawyers. You know most of the practitioners in your field of practice and there is a strong sense of community as some of your fellow lawyers become your very close friends. Malacca is also a city which has a lot of historical and cultural heritage and not to mention some of the best culinary specialties in the country (please don’t get me started on the food topic!).  Property prices are also relatively much lower compared to other places such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru.

 

2. Please share with us more about your firm e.g. history, areas of practice, current team members & etc?

Our firm was founded by Mr Chee Kong Chi in 1981. Over the years, it had grown to be one of the larger firms outside the Klang Valley. We currently have 13 lawyers and over 40 support staff. We have 3 practice groups : Civil Litigation, Corporate Finance and Commercial Banking and Conveyancing and Retail Banking.

Most of our clients are institutional clients such as financial institutions, public listed companies, property developers, manufacturers, hoteliers, politicians and even non-profit organizations. Many of our clients are captains of industries and entrepreneurs. As such, you rarely have a dull day in the office as you engage with some of the movers and shakers of industries in your daily work.

As an example, we are involved in providing legal services for the Hatten Group and the Kerjaya Prospek Group which had both launched innovative developments which are changing the Malacca property landscape. We are glad to be a part of how entrepreneurs are making a difference in the community in Malacca.

 

3. What is the working culture in your law firm? What values do you embrace in the workplace?

We strive hard to create a strong collegiate spirit within the office. We are like a warm close knitted family where everyone works hard and try not to let the others down. Underpinning our friendly working environment is a solid focus on creating a high performing culture where we go the extra mile to deliver outstanding results to the clients.

Our clients are the driving force behind our practice. As such, we have a very high commitment to deliver high quality legal work and services to our clients. The sense of professionalism and dedication to our tasks is very strongly entrenched in our firm.

People often think that they need to choose between being friendly and productive. We believe in the proposition that we can deliver outstanding work without being abrasive or unfriendly. There is a lot of respect and warmth within the firm and this is the same attitude that we bring with us as we engage with our clients. The “kam cheng” value is one that is consistently practiced in our daily work.

Recently  our tea lady fell ill due to dengue fever. The senior partners of the firm visited her in the hospital and brought along papaya juice and the consultant literally fed her with some Chinese medicinal supplements. During the economic downturn in 2009, we gave out our own “BRIM” of RM500.00 cash assistance to everyone in the firm. At times, when a particular staff cannot locate a missing document, everyone in the firm stop work and help to locate the missing document. These are stories which demonstrate our strong team commitment. It is just part of our firm’s DNA.

We also practice inclusiveness in our workplace. We hired a young adult with learning disability as our internal despatch. He zips around the office delivering documents from one floor to the other. Our team members treat him like one of their own younger brothers and always feed him with food and snacks to the extent that we have to discourage the practice as he was getting obese! We also have physically handicapped team members who do secretarial work.

We also use technology to improve our efficiency. With the smart phones and tablets in our hands, we can stay connected and do quick research on the go. I was recently on a three weeks trip to the United States of America. Our partners are often overseas or outstation. But, we stay connected at all times and monitor important assignments with the aid of technology.

 

 4. It is interesting that you said your team is committed to going the extra mile to deliver results for the clients. A lot of employers complain about Gen Y lawyers being unwilling to go the extra mile. How does CSiLK motivate their young lawyers to go the extra mile?

We always remind our young lawyers that we are a firm of professionals and that our clients’ interests are of paramount importance. We need to work hard to ensure that our clients’ interests are fully protected by the instrument of the law. Also, we need to take pride and ownership in our work as it is a reflection of our own personal character.

Besides that, we also believe that people will work hard when they are properly compensated. The financial returns must commensurate with the amount of time and energies invested. We fully believe in sharing the fruits of our labours together.

Lastly, we create a supporting environment for our young lawyers to learn and grow. People will do their best when they know you genuinely care for their welfare and development, both on a professional and personal level.

 

5. Do you have any talent development or training programmes in your firm for young lawyers?

We believe that our young lawyers represent the future of our firms. We are always looking for talented and dedicated young lawyers who are serious in growing their careers.

We have a lot of internal training both in legal skills and practice development skills. We also send our lawyers for legal seminars and conferences in Kuala Lumpur and other places for them to keep abreast with legal developments. Once a month, we have a Starbucks discussion with our lawyers where we discuss some leadership principles over coffee. In 2013, we had management consultant and author of Barefoot Leadership, Alvin Ung, to conduct a series of leadership development training for our lawyers. We also have Friday lunches where we do legal updates.

But, the most important training is on the job training. Partners will work together with associates on more complex assignments. Through the partnership in working on actual files, we hope to do skill transfer from partners to associates and raise everyone’s game.

The learning is also mutual where partners are also listening to and learning from the young lawyers especially when it comes to technology and understanding how younger clients think and operate.

Our main goal is to support our young lawyers’ career path and help them to grow to be trusted advisors to our clients.

Our firm also believe in continuous development for everyone including the partners. We need to constantly grow our skills and knowledge or face the risk of becoming stagnant or obsolete. Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing two eminent barristers from United Kingdom, Edwin Glasgow QC and Desmond Browne QC for Praxis. I learnt so much from these two gentlemen on how to refine our art of advocacy. Talent development is a daily and never ending process in our firm.

 

6. Are there any “out-of work” activities that you organize for your staff?

The highlight of our firm is the bi annual overseas team building trips. So far, we have been to countries such as South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia and Thailand.  Every confirmed staff in the office is entitled to go for these trips including the tea ladies and the drivers. You can also bring your spouses and children along. Yes, it costs a lot financially but you cannot put a monetary value on forging bonds of trust and friendships within the firm. During these trips, team members often share more deeply about their life stories and all these cement the strength of the relationships within the firm. And it is a great joy to especially have team members’ children in our trips who never fail to brighten up the atmosphere.

 

7. Many young lawyers are looking for jobs which gives them “work-life-balance”, what is your view on this?

What constitutes the ideal work life balance is dependent on each person. Each one of us is unique and have our own individual values that we embrace.

As a rule of thumb, young lawyers who are starting out in practice should invest a greater amount of time in building a strong foundation for their practice. This inevitably will involve longer hours at work. But, if you are interested in your work, investing the time in doing a good job and learning the law is an enjoyable pursuit rather than an endurance test.

If you are able to deliver excellent quality of work over the long haul, then you can earn some flexibility in your schedule. For example, taking a longer vacation or doing pro bono work. Most employers are willing to give you the flexibility for “work life balance” if you are first a high performer in your work.

On a personal level, I am a firm believer in work life balance. One should never sacrifice important things like family, friendships, health and a well-rounded development on the altar of monetary gains. That’s foolish chasing after the wind. There’s a life to be pursued and enjoyed outside the office.

 

8. Can you share with us, what would you look for in a lawyer before you hiring him/her?

Firstly, someone who has a good grasp of basic legal principles, excellent comprehension of facts and issues and the ability to apply legal principles to solve clients’ problems.

Secondly, we look for people who are keen in creating value for others.  Many young lawyers are interested in what they can get instead of what they can give. But, it is only as we create value for clients that the financial and non-financial rewards will come.

Thirdly, the law is a people business. As such, someone with a winsome personality who can engage well with clients will have an added advantage.

On this note, we are in the constant look for talented lawyers and legal secretaries to join our expanding team. Should any want to know more about working with us, please send your application to me directly at wong@csilk.com.my

 

9. I understand that your firm is the largest in Malacca. Can you name 3 significant factors / reasons which get your firm to be where it is today?

Firstly, our non-negotiable value of integrity and honesty. We are highly committed to handling each transaction in a professional manner so that our clients can sleep at peace at night when they entrust their matters and monies to us. In an age when so many people and institutions fail due to a lack of integrity, we have an absolute commitment to be a law firm which can be fully trusted by our clients.

Secondly, our ability to listen to and understand our clients’ business and needs better. We work hard to comprehend our clients’ differing commercial needs and see how to tailor our legal services to help further our clients’ interests within reason and the confines of the law. We work together with our clients on picking the winning strategies for their matters. At the end of the day, our clients look to us as their trusted advisors to help them navigate the troubled waters of litigation or the complex maze of a commercial transaction.

Thirdly, our kam cheng value. We grow and nurture our relationships with our clients and also with each other within the firm. Many of our staff have been with us for more than 20 years. We just enjoy working with each other ( well..at least most of the time!). And, we are always looking for like-minded people who share our values to join us and be part of our growing team. I would love to personally meet or speak to anyone who is interested to start or grow their legal careers in Malacca.

Legal Career Forum 2014

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

Thomas Philip Internship Awards

September 9th, 2014

 thomas philip2

 

THOMAS PHILIP INTERNSHIP AWARDS

Thomas Philip offers four (4) internship awards to students enrolled in a full-time law degree course (or BPTC course) in the UK or in Australia / New Zealand. Award recipients will be offered a four-week Dispute Resolution internship with the firm in Malaysia.

The Thomas Philip Internship Programme was established in 2010 and has hosted over 120 law student interns from all over the world.

 Who Can Apply:

  • Final year students of a full-time law degree course or the BPTC course at a recognized university in the UK.
  • Penultimate or final year students of a full-time law degree course at a recognised university in Australia or New Zealand.
  • Strong academic and co-curricular record with a 2:1 (or equivalent) average. Mooting experience is an advantage.
  • Application requirements may be found in the Thomas Philip Internship Booklet which may be downloaded at:  

www.thomasphilip.com.my/careers/internships-and- attachments

 Award Benefits:

  • Four (4) weeks internship experience at Thomas Philip.
  • RM2500 (Malaysian Ringgit) per award, reimbursable for travel or other expenses related to internship.
  • Free accommodation during the duration of the internship.

 Email internships@thomasphilip.com.my for more information.

 

 

Legal Career Talk – Career Options for Law Graduates and Lawyers

August 28th, 2014

Dear eLawyer members …

We like to inform you about our upcoming September Legal Career Workshop on:

 

Career Options for Law Graduates and Lawyers  

Date                : 6 September 2014 (Saturday)

Time               : 10.00am – 12.00pm

Venue            : eLawyer Training Room

(12B (2nd Floor), Jalan Kenari 5, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor.)

Fees               : RM30 (including a personality test)

Register NOW!

Limited seats only!

At the beginning of a journey, we all have questions. It is no difference with the beginning of your legal career path. Making the right choices therefore becomes a very important decision to make at this stage of your life.

The questions: How do we decide on these options?

Let us answer your queries…

Topics include:

  • The overview of landscape of legal career market in Malaysia
  • Career options for lawyers/law graduates
  • Building your legal career path
  • Matching your personality with a suitable job
Who Should attend???
  • Law Students
  • Chambering Students
  • Fresh Law Graduates
  • Lawyers
  • CLP Graduates
Speakers:

Eddie Law founder of the eLawyer.com.my, he is a lawyer turned legal career adviser. He has both private practice and in-house experience. He has placed lawyers from pupil level to partner level in law firms and from legal executive level to legal counsel level with 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.

Mel Tan has more than 15 years of lawyering experience she started her career as private practitioner with law firm and thereafter she assumed the role of legal counsel in both local and international financial institutions where she also overseeing compliance portfolio of the institutions.

 

To R.S.V.P please email your name, contact number, position, organization to Apple at apple@elawyer.com.my or call 03-8075 3215 for further information. Please direct bank in to our Public Bank account: 3153189919 (Payee: Joined Web Solutions) Before 2nd September 2014. Thereafter, bring the bank in slip to exchange for entry ticket on that day. Limited seat available. 1st register 1st serve basis.

 

 

Practical Tips In Choosing The Right Lawyer

August 26th, 2014

I am sure all of us have experience seeking legal service or advice from lawyers; just to name a few instances – when buying our first house, setting up our own business ventures or when planning the distribution of our assets (earned from our hard works) to our loved ones. Come to think of it, it won’t be an overstatement to say that we probably involve lawyers when we achieve something as well as when we run into legal troubles!

 Thus, it is surely handy to get tips in choosing the right lawyer. We hope the following tips are useful to you:

 1.         Go To A Specialist – if you are buying a house, don’t go to a litigator. It’s just like when you have heart problems; you won’t go to a kidney specialist. As there are many areas in law practice, don’t assume your family lawyer is a “Jack-of-all-trades” as he may not be familiar with your area of concern. The best is for you to ask around for names of lawyer who is good in the area of your concern. If you do not have any friends who can give you some pointers on this, you may visit us at eLawyer– simply fill up our enquiry form, submit it to us – eLawyer will be more than happy to recommend you a few suitable lawyers in that area of practice.

2.         Do Background Check On The Lawyer – Once you have identified a potential lawyer to engage, 3 things you may consider doing in order to check his background and track record. Firstly, find out if he is still a member of the Malaysian Bar Council (the “Bar”). For a lawyer to be “legally” in practice and able to render you legal service, he must hold a valid practicing certificate (“PC”), this PC is subject to renewal on an annual basis. To this end, you may either call the Bar at 03-2050 2050 or check his name against data available on the official website of the Bar to see if he holds a valid PC. Secondly, perform a “character or credential check” on him to determine if he is reliable, or has been or is currently subjected to disciplinary actions arising from the breach of any professional ethical rules etc. You may do this by referring to the website of the Advocates & Solicitors Disciplinary Board (ASDB) on the steps and procedures for such verification. The last but not least, do a check on his past and track records in handling the area of your concern. Study his education background and work experiences written on the firm’s website or profile which he is currently practicing with in order to determine his familiarity and competency in handling such cases.

 3.         Meet The Lawyer In Person – no matter how impressive the lawyer’s track records may be, you should still take time off to meeting him in person. This step allows you to build trust on him, which, eventually leads to a good working relationship especially if you plan to engage him to defend a court proceeding…as it would be a long tiresome process ahead.

  4.         Always Ask For A Fee Quote Before Appointment – It is wise, albeit troublesome, to do some “fee verification” processes before appointing the lawyer of your choice. At the very preliminary stage, you may briefly elaborate your issue to him over the phone but insist in getting a rough, estimated fees and costs involved verbally. the Legal Profession Act 1976 enlists 2 categories of legal fees, namely, scaled fees (such as those apply to buying and selling of properties, land matters documentation etc) and non-scaled fees (for example, courts’ matters, corporate transactions legal advisory and documentation etc). Consult a friendly lawyer or your family lawyer to check whether the fee quoted to you commensurate with his seniority, complexities of the matter and so on. Legal fraternity is very small, hence, avoid being seemed as doing “lawyer shopping” or face the possible consequences of no lawyer willing to accept your case in future.

 5.         Accessibility To The Lawyer-In-Charge And Support System – insist on having easy access to the lawyer you appointed. This ensures you the ability to communicate with him on legal issues seeking his advice. The last thing you want is the inability to reach him or he is always stuck in meetings or discussions and has no time for you. Propose or work out a periodic discussion schedule such as to meet with or talk to him over the phone once a week to gain status update of your matter. Also, ask for names of support staff just in case you are unable to reach him personally.

Technology and the Progressive Lawyer

July 14th, 2014

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

Why technology should be a vital consideration in your law firm selection

Technology has become so firmly ensconced in our daily lives, both personal and professional, that it has become almost impossible to imagine life without e-mails, mobile phones and computers, Facebook, WhatsApp, Google search and all the other forms of social media and cloud computing.

In 1988, when I commenced my legal career as a fresh associate in a mid-sized firm, the state of technology comprised standalone Wang word processors (which is what we used to create and edit documents) and telex machines (for instantaneous communication). In those days, it would have been hard to imagine how we could possibly fill up even 30MB of hard drive storage.

In a few years, Wang word processors, floppy disks and telex machines had altogether disappeared from the office inventory. In its place today are personal computers, thumb drives and e-mails as the primary tools of trade. In addition, mobile computing, social media and cloud computing have hijacked our lives and now become both commonplace and indispensable.

 

Technology has permeated every facet of our lives. What impact will it have on your practice experience, and should the level of technology adoption in a law firm be a factor you should be concerned about?

In this article, I explore how technology is critical to providing a fulfilling practice experience and why the level of technology adoption in a law firm is an important item for your consideration.

 

1. Technology Makes Light Work

Technology is no longer relegated to back office support operations. For the progressive lawyer, technology is taking center stage as a critical component in the practice. Proper use of technology can empower an otherwise overwhelmed legal professional, helping the lawyer reduce and control the busyness of the practice, achieving “More with Less”.

In other words, technology makes it possible for lawyers to achieve greater work outputs and greater client satisfaction, and with significantly less effort. It is really the only strategy that can help lawyers achieve what every client demands: good, fast and cheap.

Generic applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, electronic mail, electronic calendars, practice and financial management applications, hosted research databases and Court/Government e-filing systems are now baseline technologies in law firms.

Beyond that, off-the-shelf legal technologies can further eliminate labour intensive efforts and costs associated with various legal processes. For instance:

  • In litigation or arbitration, where the average volume of evidence continues to grow exponentially, human search and retrieval of relevant documents has been supplemented or even replaced (in jurisdictions where an eDiscovery framework has been approved, such as Singapore, UK, Australia and North America) by search engines processing instantaneous keyword and concept searches;
  • The use of secure cloud-based online document repositories enable lawyers and clients based in different locations and jurisdictions to access,  manage, review and collaborate on a single set of electronic documents with ease and efficiency, in both litigation and corporate transactions;
  • For conveyancing and corporate lawyers, the use of automated document assembly and intelligent templates facilitates fast and accurate turnover of standard documents (conveyancing and Court forms), and more complex documents (syndicated loans, project finance documents  and commercial agreements). In fact, any structured, rule-based document that you need to produce on a repetitive basis can be transformed into an automated template, no matter how lengthy or complex it might be.

The smart use of appropriate technologies in a law firm ensures that lawyers do not spend time and effort undertaking repetitive and tedious work that is better carried out by computer processes. Lawyers in such practices are able to focus their efforts on undertaking more higher-value strategic analysis work that justifies the charge out rate their clients are paying.

 

2.   Small is the New Big

Increasingly, today’s complex world requires a level of competency that can often only be honed with specialism. In the past, it was extremely difficult for small law firms to develop a specialist law practice. Hence, young progressive lawyers who were keen to develop specialist skills had no choice but to join large law firms.

Low-cost web marketing and social media platforms have made it much easier for boutique practices to develop and market specialist practice areas. Over the last few years, we have seen the rise of breakaway boutique/specialist law practices helmed by entrepreneurial and progressive founders with enough clout and dynamism to attract high-end legal work and talented lawyers who are keen to develop specialist legal skills.

As Thomas Malone, author of The Future of Work, writes:

For the first time in history, information technologies allow us to gain the economic benefits of large organizations without giving up the benefits of small ones, like freedom, creativity, motivation and flexibility.

Boutique practices usually afford lawyers greater exposure and the opportunity to rise up the ranks faster.

 

3.   Mobility and the Ability to Work from Anywhere

The use of mobile and cloud technologies enables lawyers to work from anywhere. This ability to work from anywhere can mean a big difference in you enjoying legal practice or not. Armed with a smart phone, lawyers are able to convert traditionally non-productive Court waiting time, cab rides, waits at airport lounges, etc. to productive fee earning hours. Working mums also enjoy the ability to work from home.

 

4.   Technology – A Key Factor in Determining the Success of a Firm 

In today’s hyper competitive world, technology plays a key role in differentiating the winners from the losers. The strategic advantages of a law firm’s technology adoption manifest as:

  1. Speedy and accurate document production;
  2. The ability to handle transactions with technology components. This is more common than you think. For example, increasingly, evidence in dispute matters is in the form of electronic mails and electronic documents, as well as social media posts and SMS messages.
  3. The ability of a law firm to extract and digitalise the knowledge residing in the minds of its lawyers and make it available on demand to its members; and
  4. Service Delivery (using electronic methodologies rather than traditional paper-based methodologies).

Given the advantages that technology confers in today’s world, law firms that continue to deploy only baseline technologies and traditional paper based methods are likely to lose whatever competitive edge they may currently enjoy, and longer-term prospects at such firms may be less than secure.

 

Concluding Remarks

The level of technology adoption in a law firm impacts the firm’s long-term survival, as well as a young professional’s work scope and enjoyment of work.

Young lawyers, with their grasp of social media and competence in using computers, are well placed to embrace the use of technology in practice. They should explore the possibility of using technology in their work whenever possible.

With today’s Software As a Service (“SaaS”) business models, law firms are often able to enjoy the flexibility and economies of scale of subscribing to technology on an ad hoc “as-need” basis without the need for any hardware or software purchase, or hefty capital investment. As such, conditions for technology adoption have never been more optimal.