Programme to help Singapore law firms expand abroad

Singapore has introduced a programme to help local law firms expand abroad by way of overseas mission trips, training and marketing.

Called Lawyers Go Global, it aims to help small and medium-sized law firms, which "may have valuable niche expertise but may lack the resources to do their own market research and explore overseas markets on their own," said the Ministry of Law (MinLaw).

Firms that have ventured abroad can also benefit from the programme as it can deepen their understanding of the markets where they operate, it added.

It launched the programme yesterday with the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) and International Enterprise Singapore.

In the next three years, eight mission trips will bring lawyers to Asean countries, China and India.

LawSoc will organise workshops on networking skills, legal regimes and business norms abroad. It will also start a marketing campaign by the end of this year to raise the profile of Singapore lawyers abroad.

Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah said: "There is demand in the region, so what we are doing is encouraging the lawyers to export services, which they have built up over time with their expertise and knowledge."

Legal services are projected to grow at 5.5 per cent a year in Asia-Pacific between 2014 and next year, said MinLaw.

Legal work in Asia is also expected to grow in areas such as infrastructure, arising from China's Belt and Road initiative.

The Working Group on Legal and Accounting Services, in the Committee on the Future Economy, has recommended law firms get a bigger share of world demand. It is also in line with the Professional Services Industry Transformation Map's goal to internationalise local law firms.