Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Malaysia > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Overview

The election of May 2018 constituted Malaysia’s first real change of government in six decades. Lawyers’ general jubilation at the result has been tempered by a market that is very much in “wait and see” mode, as a result of the Mahathir administration’s more cautious approach. The current stasis is best embodied by the temporary suspension of one of the country’s most high-profile projects, the Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail project, which will not be ready until at least 2031. Domestic bank liquidity remains healthy, with around half of all major financings being done through Islamic structures, but international investors are watching developments cautiously. As a result, major M&A, IPOs and real estate deals have been quiet since the election was announced and have not picked up despite the change in government.

However, certain sectors of the economy are busier than ever: aviation finance, healthcare and technology, especially fintech, continue to grow, and oil prices have remained relatively stable. There have been some headline mergers: Asia Finance Bank was bought by Malaysian Building Society to form MBSB Bank, which has assets totalling nearly RM50bn. Relations with the Inland Revenue have improved considerably, though many firms are assisting their clients with obtaining tax refunds following unfair applications of Goods & Services Tax, which has since been replaced by the Sales & Services Tax.

The current Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, is the country’s first to come from private practice. Several large firms dominate the legal market: Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill, Christopher & Lee Ong (a member of Singaporean outfit Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP’s regional network), Wong & Partners (a member firm of Baker McKenzie International) and Zain & Co (which recently merged with Dentons) are among the firms with strong cross-border links. Other domestic full-service firms include Raja, Darryl & Loh, Rahmat Lim & Partners, Shearn Delamore & Co, Shook Lin & Bok and Skrine; the only international firms based in Malaysia are Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Trowers & Hamlins LLP. Recent law firm mergers included Cheang & Ariff and Chooi & Company combining to form Chooi & Company + Cheang & Ariff, and Adnan Sundra & Low absorbing Putri Norlisa Chair. The legal market in two or three years may be rather different; it remains to be seen how firms close to Razak’s government will fare in the new political climate.

The In-House Lawyer

International comparative guides

In association with a leading international law firm, Legalease are producing a series of online country comparative legal guides, designed to give the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in unfamiliar jurisdictions.

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

GC Powerlist -
Southeast Asia Teams

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in Malaysia

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Call for AML Regulation for Cryptocurrencies

    Ever since the creation of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies have been applauded and welcomed for constituting an innovative method of payment without any recourse to financial institutions and their entailing bureaucracy.  While honest individuals rejoiced at cryptocurrencies’ legitimate benefits; ranging from an increased degree of privacy and confidentiality to less transactional costs, cybercriminals saluted the decentralised networks and perceived anonymity behind cryptocurrencies for presenting them with the perfect crypto cleansing opportunity to launder money in an unprecedented and largely unregulated sector in the financial industry.
  • Office for Competition Issues its First Commitments Decision

    The Office for Competition has adopted what appears to be its first commitments decision, in a case where it raised concerns about exclusivity agreements lasting for five years or more.
  • The Financial Services Act 2012

    (Part 1 of 4) By Gopal Sundaram
  • The Islamic Financial Services Bill 2012

    (Part 1 of 4) By Gopal Sundaram Jan 2013
  • Amendments to the Employment Act 1955

    The Employment (Amendment) Act 2012 received royal assent and became law on 30th January 2012. It has now come into operation since 1st April 2012.
  • Malaysian Corporations Making Headway in the Global M&A Scene

    Malaysian companies continue to make waves internationally by acquiring large companies abroad. Leveraging on the European debt crisis and the weak dollar, these companies have boldly made their mark on a global scale with impressive deals. Cross-border acquisitions are increasing trend in the Asian economic hot spots, with companies in China and India spearheading it. The consistently strong uptrend in foreign acquisitions and the increasing success of the same by China and India for the past few years has spurred growing interests of Southeast Asian companies to extend their reach to other continents.
  • Adjudication in Malaysia – the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012

    The Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act of Malaysia received royal assent and became law on 18th June 2012.
  • EVIDENCE / CYBER LAW

    PRESUMPTION OF GUILT – REMEDY OR JEOPARDY? Netizens in Malaysia now share a common fear and feeling of uneasiness following the swift passing of the Evidence (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2012 in May 2012, which amends the Evidence Act 1950.
  • FGVH's IPO - Second Largest in the World after Facebook

    Malaysia’s Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (“FGVH”) is a global agricultural and agri-commodities company, with operations in ten countries across the globe. According to Frost & Sullivan Malaysia Sdn Bhd, FGVH is the third largest oil palm plantation operator in the world based on planted hectarage in 2011. FGVH currently operates 343,521 hectares of oil palm plantation estates in Malaysia that produced 5.2 million metric tonne of fresh oil palm fruit bunches in 2011.
  • Competition...Friend or Foe?

    The announcement of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS)-AirAsia collaboration on 9 August 2011 was questioned by many quarters.

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to