Trowers & Hamlins is seeking to become the first qualified foreign law firm (QFLF) in Malaysia following liberalisation of the legal services market.
The firm has applied for a licence to operate following implementation of the Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2012, which came into effect on 3 June last year.
Three licences were made available under the liberalised regime: qualified foreign law firm; international partnership; and Malaysian law firm to employ foreign lawyer. A QFLF does not require the foreign firm to ally with a local firm as partner.
Foreign lawyers have historically had to enter Malaysia using their national passports and provide legal services on a ‘fly-in/fly-out’ basis.
Trowers, which took space in Kuala Lumpur in 2012, is the only UK law firm to have an official non-trading representative office in Malaysia. It expects to hear the result of its application in March.
Jennie Gubbins, senior partner, said: ‘We have submitted an application to be accepted as a QFLF under the recently introduced regime in Malaysia relating to liberalisation of the legal profession. We do not yet know the outcome of our application, so it would be premature to say any more at this stage, other than that we do very much hope that the application will be successful.’
The Law Society, which worked closely with the Malaysian Bar Council and other legal bodies on the liberalisation process, last year published a guide to help Malaysian lawyers do business with members in England and Wales.