Legal Market Overview
With the global economic turmoil as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been a challenging time for Pakistan. Not surprisingly with the downturn in the economy, there has been significant restructuring and reorganisation work in the last few months. This trend is set to continue.
In one major initiative to stall the economic decline, the State Bank of Pakistan recently announced that banks and development financial institutions would defer the principal amount on consumer loans for one year to facilitate borrowers in the wake of covid-19.
There has been immense pressure on certain sectors of the economy but firms report that the capital markets have become more stable. There has therefore been more work for firms in advising on rights issues and other financial products. Also, firms have noticed increased work on distressed asset acquisitions. Firms that specialise in labour and employment laws have also been busy advising on the termination of employment contracts and a whole host of other issues that arise on corporate restructuring.
However, some sectors have fared better than others. Such sectors include pharmaceutical and logistics which both remain buoyant. Also, there is a lot more activity in Islamic financing. Some firms state that Islamic banks seem to be flush with cash and the Sharia law principles are in harmony with a large proportion of the country’s Muslim population.
There continues to be plenty of work on contentious matters with firms noticing more disputes between shareholders and joint venture partners. International fora are still seen as being preferable for international companies to settle a dispute and these companies are keen to steer away from the domestic courts to resolve disputes. There are also plenty of opportunities in the energy, power, and infrastructure sectors as well as fantastic opportunities in digital finance.
Major local firms include Mohsin Tayebaly & Co, FGE Ebrahim Hosain, and Liaquat Merchant Associates. Other established firms that cover a broad array of legal issues are Orr, Dignam & Co., and RIAA BARKER GILLETTE. Axis Law Chambers is another name to note. For labour and employment matters Yousaf Amanat & Associates is highly recommended.