Contributed by Nurul Hafika bt Noor Hamid and Roobalavaniah Rengasamy, Officers, Trade in Legal Services Committee, and photos by Md Faizal b Mahat, Senior Administrative Assistant, Bar Council
The Bar Council and The Law Society of England and Wales jointly organised a forum on the liberalisation of the legal profession in Malaysia on 7 Mar 2014 at Raja Aziz Addruse Auditorium, Bar Council. A total of 107 people including Members of the Bar, non–Members and pupils in chambers, participated in this forum.
The President of the Malaysian Bar, Christopher Leong and the Deputy British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ray Kyles, got the event under way with their welcoming addresses.
The forum consisted of four sets of discussions, which discussed the economic context of liberalisation in Malaysia, investing in the Malaysian legal services market, international partnership and hiring foreign lawyers, and lastly, liberalisation and regulation of international law firms. Each of the four sets of discussion ended with a question–and–answer session.
Featuring a range of speakers from various organisations — Malaysian and international — the forum presented a myriad of topics and viewpoints from local and foreign point of view, which is especially important in a forum on liberalisation, thus providing unbiased views and teeming ideas for the benefit of the participants.
The speakers and moderators for each of these sessions were distinct, as each set of discussion were of different topics. The speakers and moderators were as follows:
(1) Azleena Idris, Deputy Director of Islamic Banking and Takaful Department, Bank Negara Malaysia (“BNM”);(2) Azlina Abdullah, Principal Assistant Director, Services Sector Development Division, Malaysian Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MITI”);(3) Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim, Chairman, Partners Connect Sdn Bhd; Consultant, Izad Kazran Partnership; representative of the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce;(4) Sudharsanan Thillainathan, Partner, Shook Lin & Bok;(5) Faris Shehabi, Senior International Case Counsel, Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (“KLRCA”);(6) Nick White, Regional Manager, Trowers & Hamlins International Limited Regional Office, Malaysia;(7) Nish Shetty, Partner, Clifford Chance Asia;(8) Syed Naqiz Shahabuddin, Partner, Naqiz & Partners;(9) Steven Dewhurst, Partner, DAC Beachcroft, Singapore;(10) Tay Beng Chai, Managing Partner, Tay & Partners;(11) Aston Goad, Senior Associate, DLA Piper, Amsterdam;(12) Desmond Hudson, Chief Executive, Law Society of England and Wales;(13) Koh Kek Hoe, Partner, Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill;(14) Karen Cheah Yee Lynn, Treasurer, Malaysian Bar (moderator);(15) Stephen Revell, Senior Partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (moderator);(16) Mohd Arief Emran b Arifin, Partner, Wong & Partners (moderator); and(17) Michael Soo Chow Ming, Partner, Shook Lin & Bok (moderator)
In conclusion, the participants gained a lot from the forum, not just from the topics presented, but also from the insightful question–and–answer session. The forum ended with closing remarks given by Desmond Hudson and Hon Kai Ping, Co–Chairperson of the Bar Council Trade in Legal Services Committee.