ALB Report on Malaysian Legal Market

ALB featured an article looking back on the Malaysian legal market as well as the future ahead with the economic slowdown. The article touches on the long-mentioned entry of foreign law firms into the legal market, especially in the area of Islamic finance. I know Bank Negara has been trying to push for allowing foreign firms to come in for the practice area of Islamic finance but there seems to be little progress on that respect.Another aspect of the article covered the ongoing problem of retaining legal talent. I recognise the difficulty in ensuring that legal talent continues to remain in Malaysia, and I also wrote about this before.One of the lawyers in the ALB article spoke about consolidation of law firms. I find it difficult to see the role that the Bar Council can take on in forcing such a consolidation. I highly doubt the Malaysian Bar would pass any such resolution at a general meeting to advance such a proposal.

What I hope to see are higher entry standards into the legal profession. The archaic CLP must be phased out and with some form of common entry examination. I can see the commercial advantages of a consolidation of the legal market, although this must not affect the ease of access to legal services to the public. The market may then follow the UK market with its ‘Magic Circle’ firms specialising in commercial matters, along with the other near-Magic Circle commercial firms, as well as the national and other High Street firms delivering services relating to conveyancing, general litigation, probate, personal injury claims, etc.

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