asian legal business (seasia) jun 2010

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The magazine for lawyers and in-house counsel with jobs, firm ratings, legal analysis and all the latest legal news and views

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  • ISSUE 10.6

    ALB Special Report: Malaysia 2010Malaysian firms go global

    Legal professional privilegeWhat Akzo Nobel means for Asias in-house lawyers

    Legal process outsourcing Why the industry should look Down Under

    ALBs leading IP law firms: Asia boutiques and specialists shake up the rankings

    www.legalbusinessonline.com

    LateraL moves DeaLs rounDup region-wiDe upDates Debt & equity market inteLLigence

    ISSN 0219 6875MICA (P) 215/07/2009

  • EDITORIal >>

    1www.legalbusinessonline.com

    IN THE FIRST PERSON

    Many of the largest corporate departments in the world are embracing innovative solutions such as legal outsourcing to help increase internal efficiencies David Perla, Pangea3 (p8)

    We remain committed to our relationships with local Hong Kong firms. In fact, we expect there will be more opportunities to work with local firms in the region as the result of our having a presence on the ground David Fagan, Clayton Utz (p37)

    Prior to the recession, construction companies were working through a period of prosperity and when the crisis hit, it was met with a controlled and calm response Helen Yeo, Rodyk & Davidson (p59)

    Creating an in-house underclass

    In march this year, the advocate general of the court of Justice of the european union, Juliane kokott, handed down a judicial opinion in which she contends that legal professional privilege does not extend to communications between a companys executive and its in-house lawyers. needless to say, kokotts opinion

    has drawn the ire of corporate counsel the world over, with regressive and antiquated being just a few of the adjectives that have been used to describe it. Kokotts legal opinion may be all these things it surely is regressive

    and may mean European corporates actually turn to their in-house legal departments sparingly but one cant help feeling there may be a grain of truth in her reasoning. In-house lawyers clearly do not enjoy the same degree of independence from their employers as an external lawyer. This is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in Asia, where the ideas around in-house legal departments and corporate counsel are still in their early stages of development.The question of independence from ones employer has always been

    a thorny issue for in-house lawyers in Asia. Calls for these lawyers to better demonstrate the value they add to their companies has seen them commercialise moving closer to their businesses if for no other reason than to demonstrate that in-house teams are far more than just business prevention units. It is this hybrid role one that straddles both law and business that is fertile ground for Kokott-like arguments. Yet the in-house profession in Asia has demonstrated that it is nothing if

    not ethical and professional; capable of handling these often conflicting roles while preserving their independence. Opinions which cast in-house lawyers as more predisposed to abusing privileges or the rights conferred on them as legal practitioners than their external counterparts are imprudent. This is especially so given that the instances of in-house lawyers being struck off or disbarred for such indiscretions are greatly outnumbered by the number of private practice lawyers in hot water for misfeasance. If Kokotts opinion is adopted by the ECJ which many believe is the

    most likely outcome it will cast in-house lawyers as an underclass in the European legal profession and thus validate erroneous stereotypes surrounding the in-house profession as a whole. While the decision may not be binding on Asian courts, if this question arises there is certainly a duty to ensure that Asias profession remains class-less.

    In-house lawyers clearly do not enjoy the same degree of independence from their employers as an external lawyer

  • 2NEws | deals >>

    asian Legal business issue 10.62

    CONTENTs >>

    contents

    Country editors the regional updates section of ALB is sponsored by the following firms:

    Philippines

    Founded in 1945, sycip salazar Hernandez & gatmaitan is one of the most-established law firms, and the largest, in the philippines. principally based in makati city, the countrys financial and business centre, the firm also has offices in cebu city, Davao city and the subic

    bay Freeport. sycips practice covers all fields of law and the broad range of the firms expertise is reflected in its client base, which includes top local and foreign corporations, international organisations and governments. sycip combines the traditions of professional integrity and excellence with a time-tested ability to break new ground.

    Loo & partners was founded in 1985 as a niche practice, handling mainly banking, corporate, securities and commercial work. with the support of a comprehensive network of correspondent law firms, the firm serves its clients in their regional needs. Loo & partners has

    been regularly noted for its ipo, m&a and general corporate work.

    Singapore

    China

    paul, weiss, rifkind, wharton & garrison LLp is a globally oriented, full-service

    law firm employing over 500 lawyers worldwide. paul weiss is headquartered in new york and has offices in Hong kong, beijing, London, tokyo and washington, D.c.

    indochine counsel is a commercial law firm focusing on business law practice in the indochina region. our areas of

    practice include: Foreign investment, corporate & commercial, m&a, securities & capital markets, banking & Finance, property & construction, taxation, intellectual property, information technology & internet, international trade, outward investment & offshore incorporation, and Dispute resolution.

    Vietnam

    Indonesia

    bastaman enrico is an indonesian law firm comprising a team of prominent and dedicated professionals who are

    recognized for their knowledge and experience in handling many notable and high profile transactions in indonesia. the firms specialisations include corporate/ commercial law, mergers & acquisitions, energy & natural resources, plantations and telecommunications law.

    Malaysia

    wong & partners is a malaysian law firm dedicated to providing a quality and

    solution-oriented legal services to its clients. wong & partners has grown steadily with international standards of quality and experience and the Firm has a solid commitment to training its lawyers, and invests in training, professional development and quality management programs with the aim of producing lawyers of global standard.

    858 Building&construction:

    Activity across Asias building and constructing sectors may have slowed considerably during 2009, but the innate resilience of the sectors major players, coupled with government stimulus, has seen projects and deals rebound strongly in 1H 2010

    REgUlARS4 DEALS12 NEWS Foreign law firms allowed to open second

    office in Japan Bermuda seals DTA with Bahrain, takes lead in

    offshore Islamic finance market Former Thai PM hires law firm to help restore

    democracy Spanish firm Garrigues courts Indias Dua Assocs Volcanic ash circumvents anti-trust as EU

    considers state aid for airlines

    NEWS ANAlYSIS

    8 AussiesprovidealternativetolegalprocessoutsourcingIndian LPOs may have flagged their intention to enter the flourishing Australian legal services market, but as ALB finds, they would be ill-advised to replicate their Indian model Down Under

    9 Noprivilege:TheAkzo Nobel opinionIn an influential recent legal opinion, Advocate General Juliane Kokott of the Court of Justice of the European Union states that European in-house lawyers do not enjoy the same rights to legal professional privilege as their private practice counterparts. ALB looks at the decision and speculates as to what this may mean for in-house lawyers in Asia

    FEATURES36 ALB-ADERANTManagingPartnerSeries: DavidFagan,ClaytonUtz

    Clayton Utz chief executive partner David Fagan has never been short of a well-turned phrase or two on what makes the industry tick. He speaks with ALB on what the future holds for the firm and why Asia is key

    40 Malaysia2010:outwardboundWith competition in Malaysias burgeoning legal services market reaching unprecedented levels, law firms are looking offshore for growth

    56 In-houseperspective:GCL-PolyThrough a series of landmark transactions in recent years, GCL-Poly has become one of the largest players in the worlds solar power industry. ALB finds out how the in-house legal team has transformed itself into a vital, value-adding part of the business

    36

    26COVER STORYALBsleadingIPfirms:AsiaNow in its third year, ALB asks in-house lawyers, IP counsel and industry experts to single out Asias leading IP practices

    Practice area and industry editorsthe industry updates section is sponsored by the following firms:

    Intellectual property / Environment

    atmD bird & bird is a dynamic and progressive firm with an established ip,

    corporate & commercial, competition and dispute resolution practice. the firm also has extensive regional experience advising both domestic and foreign clients on cross-border transactions. atmD bird & bird has been voted singapores intellectual property Firm of the year at the 2005 and 2006 ALB awards and the 2005 asiaLaw (ip) awards.

    IT

    guidance software is recognised worldwide as the industry leader in digital investigative solutions. its encase platform provides the foundation

    to conduct thorough, network-enabled and court-validated computer investigations of any kind, such as responding to eDiscovery requests, conducting internal investigations, responding to regulatory inquiries or performing data and

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