New regulatory regime dawns on local law firms

Only one regulatory body will handle licensing matters.

The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) has established a new regulatory body to streamline licensing matters relating to law practices in Singapore.

The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) will administer a new integrated licensing regime that brings together certain regulatory functions previously undertaken separately by the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ Legal Profession Secretariat and the Law Society of Singapore.

“The integrated regime aims to ensure that business criteria, such as names of law practices, foreign ownership and profit sharing, will be applied consistently,” MinLaw said in a statement.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers’ Legal Profession Secretariat had previously been in charge of licensing of foreign law practices, while the Law Society of Singapore dealt with domestic law practices.

Under the new regime, non-lawyer employees of law practices can now become partners, directors or shareholders in, or share in up to 25% of the profits their firms.

"This will give law practices greater flexibility to attract and retain non-lawyer talent, for example, those with strong management or finance experience, who can add value to the firm’s legal practice," the statement noted.

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