Help for Singapore Lawyers to Venture Overseas
1. Today, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw), the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore launched a new programme to help Singapore lawyers and law firms venture overseas. Called “Lawyers Go Global”, the programme will connect Singapore legal expertise with global opportunities, through overseas mission trips, training, and branding and marketing.
2. The “Lawyers Go Global” programme implements the recommendation of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) Working Group on Legal and Accounting Services and is aligned to the Professional Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) to catalyse the internationalisation of local law firms. It is part of MinLaw’s broader effort for Singapore to capture a greater share of international demand for legal services and enhance Singapore’s position as an international legal hub.
Overseas Mission Trips
3. The first component of “Lawyers Go Global” is overseas mission trips. Over the next three years, LawSoc with the support of MinLaw and IE Singapore will organise at least eight mission trips to bring Singapore lawyers to fast growing regional countries, including China, India, and ASEAN countries. These mission trips will allow Singapore lawyers to gain a deeper understanding of the legal needs and business opportunities in these countries, and to connect with the local business and legal communities and government authorities. The first mission trip will be in April 2018 to Guangzhou, China.
4. Up to 35 lawyers will be involved in each mission trip and at least 50% of them will be lawyers for which this will be their first overseas mission trip. Each trip will provide networking opportunities with at least 30 foreign business or law firms and is expected to last about 4-5 days. The length of the trip will also depend on the number of cities covered in each country.
5. The second component of “Lawyers Go Global” is training. LawSoc with the support of MinLaw and IE Singapore will organise training to equip Singapore lawyers with the skills and knowhow to seize global opportunities. These will include workshops on a) the legal regimes, business norms and economic opportunities of specific countries which the lawyers are interested; b) networking skills for lawyers; and c) branding strategies for law firms in overseas markets.
Branding and Marketing
6. The third component of “Lawyers Go Global” is branding and marketing, with a view to raising the profile of Singapore lawyers and promoting “The Singapore Lawyer” brand. LawSoc will engage a consultant to conduct a survey to assess the perception of Singapore lawyers in Singapore and five identified overseas markets. LawSoc will then work with the selected consultant to develop the brand taking into account the results of the survey and launch a marketing campaign, in different languages, targeting different overseas markets. The study is expected to take about six to nine months. LawSoc will launch the marketing campaign by the end of 2018.
Linking expertise with opportunities
7. Between 2014 and 2019, legal services are projected to grow at 3.3% a year globally, and 5.5% a year in the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore is an international hub for legal services. Many multi-national corporations are based in Singapore and use Singapore lawyers for their regional transactions. Legal work in Asia is also expected to grow in areas such as infrastructure, and arising out of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
8. Singapore lawyers have developed strong expertise to support the legal needs of businesses in the region and globally. “Lawyers Go Global” seeks to match these expertise with opportunities overseas. It will help Singapore law firms and lawyers in two ways:
9. First, for law firms which are already internationalizing, it will help them deepen their understanding of the markets they operate in, expand their networks and capture more business opportunities. It will also help them open doors to government authorities and gain access which they otherwise will not have.
10. Second, it will support more Singapore law firms and lawyers to venture overseas, particularly the small and medium-sized law firms. These small and medium sized law firms may have valuable niche expertise but may lack the resources to do their own market research and explore overseas markets on their own.
11. “Lawyers Go Global” will be funded by IE Singapore under its Local Enterprise and Association Development (LEAD) Programme. Singapore lawyers who are interested in participating in “Lawyers Go Global” can contact the Law Society’s Secretariat at [email protected] for more information.