Saturday, 8 March 2014

Malaysia-Law Firms Operating Through Virtual Offices

Law Firms Operating Through Virtual Offices


Circular No 049/2014
Dated 7 Mar 2014
To Members of the Malaysian Bar
Law Firms Operating Through Virtual Offices
It has come to the Bar Council's attention that several lawyers are operating their law practices through virtual offices. 
The concept of a virtual office essentially means there is no physical presence of a law office.  The office is "virtual" as it is merely a front, consisting of generic office facilities operated by another company offering the services of a receptionist and/or interchangeable meetings rooms, used by various parties (whether lawyers or not) paying for such services.  Any telephone calls made to a lawyer utilising this arrangement are received by the receptionist, on the lawyer's behalf, who would then convey the communication to the lawyer concerned, for example in a text message through a short message service ("SMS").  Documents are also received, on behalf of the lawyer, by the receptionist.  The services of the receptionist and/or use of meeting rooms at a virtual office are shared by other lawyers and/or companies and/or businesses.
The Bar Council is of the view that lawyers practising through virtual offices are in breach of Ruling 7.03 of the Rules and Rulings of the Bar Council Malaysia, which provides as follows:
Where an Advocate and Solicitor shares an office or premises with another person (whether an Advocate and Solicitor or not), the office or premises must be partitioned off with separate and distinct entrances, with no connecting door between the two offices or premises.  This Ruling shall not apply to Advocates and Solicitors who are partners of the same law firm.
Where a law firm operates through a virtual office, a further cause for concern arises in respect of confidentiality and the safekeeping of information, including files and documents, which appear to be lax in such virtual offices.
Members are therefore advised to cease such operations with immediate effect, as the Bar Council may take disciplinary action against lawyers who are reported to be operating through virtual offices.
Thank you.
Richard Wee Thiam Seng
Malaysian Bar         
If you are a registered user of the Malaysian Bar website, you may click here to access this circular.


Proview eBook Bi-Weekly Offer - Get your copy at 20% off!

Proview eBook Bi-Weekly Offer - Get your copy at 20% off! ...