Legal start-up’s services scrutinised by Malaysian Bar
HONG KONG: The entry of Hong Kong-based legal start-up Dragon Law into Malaysia, which aims to make drafting legal documents more accessible to the public, has come under the scrutiny of the Malaysian Bar.
Dragon Law marketing manager Shermin Oh said they were only offering guided legal document drafting services.
Other services such as a help desk, legal support and having documents doubled checked by partner-lawyers are still limited to Hong Kong clients.
“In Malaysia, we’re offering our suite of legal documents for free, while any advice requested will be referred to our partner lawyers,” she said at the Rise start-up conference here.
Dragon Law client services director Chris Sykes said they had consulted Malaysian lawyers to ensure the service was compliant with local regulations and to prepare documents tailored to local needs.
“We provide documents specific to the country, as certain things like employment law is very specific to Malaysia.”
He confirmed that they had not approached the Malaysian Bar.
The Bar Council, which regulates lawyers and legal services, is known to be strict in ensuring the Legal Profession Act (LPA) 1976 is upheld.
Its chairman Steven Thiru said the Bar was aware of the start-up opening shop in Malaysia, adding that the matter was being studied.
Intellectual Property lawyer Foong Cheng Leong said it would be “interesting” to see what the Bar Council, especially its Legal Profession Committee, would do.
“Dragon Law says it will refer those who use the template to a qualified lawyer. But they have to be careful as it may amount to touting for such lawyers,” he said.
Malaysian lawyer Lai Chee Hoe said it was always good to pay a courtesy call to the regulators.
The founder of legal start-up BurgieLaw said so far his had been the only start-up that approached the Council to ensure their service did not run foul of the LPA.
“I’m excited. In fact, I believe most legal start-up techs have one objective in common; that is, to make the legal market more accessible,” he said in an e-mail reply, when asked about the new legal player.
In a statement, Dragon Law chief executive officer Daniel Walker said the service was not meant to replace lawyers but make law firms more efficient by automating some duties, like document drafting.
Dragon Law launched in Hong Kong in January 2015, expanded to Singapore in June 2015 and began operating in Malaysia this month.