UK firm Needle Partners has opened a new marketing office in Kuala Lumpur that aims to promote its English law and white label service called Needle Network.
The firm will not be applying for a qualified foreign law firm (QFLF) licence as it is only looking to attract new clients to the UK market and not to compete with Malaysian law firms.
Managing partner Sharon Needle, who is qualified in both the UK and Malaysia, said: "We appreciate that the Malaysian legal sector is highly sophisticated and does not need foreign law firms to compete with it. Through the Needle Network, we are able to help Malaysian law firms expand their services to their clients with interests in the UK. Needle Network also acts as a support platform for Malaysian businesses and private investors requiring legal services in the UK."
Malaysia’s QFLF system was implemented in June 2014 following amendments to the Malaysian Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA). An earlier amendment to the LPA designed to open up the legal services market to foreign law firms allowed foreign lawyers to work in the country for up to 60 days.
A licence is valid for three years with an option for renewal and will allow foreign firms to work on a stand-alone basis advising on international legal matters, but not on Malaysian law.
UK firm Trowers & Hamlins became the first foreign law firm to be granted a qualified foreign law firm (QFLF) licence in Malaysia earlier this year in April.