Starting a Law Firm in Malaysia

My firm was up and running within two months. Work has been trickling in rapidly thanks to friends and clients’ constant support and referrals. I have clients from my old firm trusting and following me to my new establishment. I also have clients who were excellent paymasters. One even pays a day after I issued my bill! I must thank all of them for the great support.

Many thanks to Poh Lim of Messrs Daniel & Wong (which is also a new law firm) for guiding me on how to register a law firm in Malaysia. Without further ado, the steps are:-

1. Write to the Malaysian Bar Council for consent to set up a law firm. You can send the letter requesting consent even before you leave your current firm. In fact, you should write for consent before you leave because the Malaysian Bar Council will take few weeks to respond. Malaysian Bar Council will send you the letter or you can collect it from them. The letter should include the proposed name of your law firm, address and date of commencement. More details at the Malaysian Bar website.

Here’s a sample letter that you may use:-


Membership Department,
Badan Peguam Malaysia,
No. 13, 15 & 17, Leboh Pasar Besar,
50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dear Sirs,

Commencement of new practice

We refer to the above and would like to notify the Malaysian Bar of our intention to commence legal practice by way of a partnership [/ as a sole proprietor] under the name and style of “INSERT FIRM NAME”.

The tentative date of commencement of practice is “INSERT DATE OF COMMENCEMENT OF PRACTICE”.

Kindly let us know if the name is suitable for use as soon as possible for our further action.

Yours truly,


2. Once you get the letter of consent from the Bar Council, notify your State Bar on the new firm.

3. Firm Stamp. The stamp should have your firm name and address. This only costs a few Ringgit. Other than firm stamp, you should also have a Advocate and Solicitor stamp with your name and BC number.

4. Phone line and fax line. Bring along your Bar Council consent letter and your company stamp. Internet connection if required. For fax, Eddie from eLawyer and had kindly sponsored a one year subscription of iFax, a service that send and receives faxes via Internet, as a gift for my new law firm. With this service, I don’t need a fax machine. Faxes are sent and received through emails.

5. Insurance. Apply for insurance coverage from Jardine Lloyd Thompson.

6. Bank Accounts. On the day you start the business, open 2 bank accounts namely the client account and office account. Bring along the Bar Council consent letter and company stamp to the bank. If you have a partner, you need your partner to be there to sign a mandate letter.

7. [Edited: 10 August 2016] Register your firm with the Royal Customs Department to get your Service Tax Licence. You can do it online at

8. Logo, letterhead and Name cards! You can hire a designer to do it for you. Fortunately, my friend, Jamie Toh designed my logo, letterhead and name cards for me.

These are the minimum you need to do have the firm up. On the operation side, you should get the following:-

1. Domain name. Get a domain name for your website and email. Engage a web designer. My climbing buddies from Soulizen designed my page. If you want to save costs, you can even build a website using WordPress.

2. Photocopier, scanner and printer. I have a scanner, photocopier and printer all rolled up into one for RM90 a month. However, it’s unreliable as its an old machine (hence the cheap price). I have a Samsung Laser Printer – SCX-3405 to back me up.

I also run a paperless office. Paperless doesn’t mean no paper. It means “less paper”. A paperless office allows cost deduction and time saving plus mobility. The cost of paper and printing will be reduced. You will save on the time for printing, sorting and filing your documents.

When I met Chandell, a lawyer from India, he told me that he runs a paperless office. He stores his documents in electronic copy. He disposed all his old physical files (before that digitalized them) and made some money from recycling his old files.

When he goes to Court, he brings three iPads. One for himself and two for his assistants! Following his footstep, I sometimes go to Court with just an iPad.

3. Have your personal profile and firm profile nicely written. Handy when prospective clients request for your details. You can get a designer to design your firm profile.

4. Office equipment and stationery. Binding machine, comb binders, staples, hole punchers, plastic cover, paper (80g preferred), ribbons, folders and envelopes.

5. Partnership Agreement. You MUST, MUST AND MUST have a partnership agreement if you have a partner. This website has a very good sample.

6. Accounting. If you do not have an accounting software, you may consider preparing a standard templates for your invoices and payment vouchers. An accounting software may be useful but if not, a Microsoft Excel file will do. To keep track of your daily expenses, you can try Expensify . It’s a free App which is available in most mobile devices. Also, read David Wang aka blogjunkie’s guide on accounting for layman at

7. A computer obviously. I now have a Samsung Ultrabook Series 5. It’s light and portable.

With this, I can work anywhere I want. Read my review of the Ultrabook is here.

My office is everywhere!

A tablet is optional. If you do, you may consider reading my “All Lawyers Should Have an iPad” article for some tips on how to use iPad for your legal practice.

8. Software. Microsoft Office is the standard document processing software for most businesses. However, it comes with a price. RM600 for their home office professional version. If you want to use open source software (free stuff), try OpenOffice. Unfortunately, documents formatted in OpenOffice will not look the same when opened in Microsoft Word (not sure about the new version). Alternatively, you can try LibreOffice or Google Docs. I have not tried the former.

In respect of email, you can try Mozilla ThunderBird if you’re too stingy to get Microsoft Outlook. But for me, I’m fine using Gmail as my email client. I prefer Gmail as my email client because it’s easy to use, secure and accessible anywhere. I didn’t want to get my own server because it’s expensive and I don’t see any justification to have one when Google has all the top minds to secure its server. But the recent case about NSA spying on our data is disturbing.

9. Client(s). No business will survive without them. They are your best friends and your worst enemies. I know of friends who started off with only 2 clients. I think one should have at least one client, whether small or large, before determining whether to start up their own firm. Also, do make sure you have at least 3 to 6 months of savings as reserve.

10. Marketing plan. This is an important consideration. The plan need not be a written one but a series of actions is required. For me, I write a lot and I distribute these writings to all my business contacts and publish them on my blawg. Of course, there are many other ways. For Social Media Marketing for Lawyer, do read my slides here.

11. [Edited: 11 February 2014] Basic File Management Documents: You will need to create a masterlist for your files, Invoice, Credit Note and Debit Note with running numbers. This basically keep tracks of the files you open / invoices you billed / debit and credit notes issued. You can use a spreadsheet. Google Docs spreadsheet is good because you can access your file anywhere you like.

Also, you should prepare template invoice, credit note, debit note and official receipt.

I guess these are the things one needs to have or do when running a new firm. Running your own firm is tough for the first few months and even years. But it’s rewarding.

When I attended a talk by Messrs Skrine when I was a student, a student asked a senior partner on how much can one achieve as a lawyer. The senior partner answered, “The sky’s the limit!”.

For a lawyer to reach the sky, my view is that the best way is to start his own firm. A lawyer employed by another would have all sorts of obstacle before him.

I wish those on the same boat with me all the best!

Samsung Laser Printer – SCX-3405

As some of you may know, I operate a paperless home office. Paperless here doesn’t mean “no paper” but less paper. I do not retain physical copies of my files and I scan all my hard copy documents before disposing them or returning them to clients. This saved me a lot of office space.

Paperless law firm is not a new concept. I’ve know many large international to local small firms doing that. In fact, I was trying to help the KL Bar to implement a paperless system.

I still print and photocopy documents. I currently use a worn out second hand photocopy machine, an old printer and a Samsung Monochrome Laser Multifunction Printer (SCX-3405).

The second hand photocopy machine is nothing to shout about. I rented it for RM90 a month. It breaks down once in a while but it will magically heal by itself after a few hours. But there had been times where the machine broke down while I was in a hurry. Thank god for back up printers.

The Samsung printer on the other hand is great. It’s a 4-in-1 multifunction device. I use it for personal and office use.

Surface fit for anything A4 size and below

Quick installation guide. Very, very easy. It’s plug and play!

It can print, copy, scan and fax. I normally use it to scan incoming documents (for archiving purposes). There’s a feeder on top of the printer which allows me to copy numerous documents at one go.

One great function about this printer is that it has wireless printing from mobile devices.

Couple of months ago, my firm had a little disaster.

My roof leaked couple of weeks ago after heavy rain. Many of my documents were damaged by water. Documents printed by the old printer were badly damaged. The ink faded! However, documents printed by my Samsung printer was okay as the ink did not fade.

Other than that, the water flooded my room and consequently my laminated floor was damaged. The power tripped causing a few electronics to short circuit. My Samsung printer was also exposed to the incoming water. Fortunately, it is still working after having a “bath”.

For more information on the Samsung printer, please visit Samsung’s page.

Nestle Gala Night

Nestle celebrated its 100 years in Malaysia by having a gala night for its staff. My wife and I got invited for the event. It was a black tie event so we dressed in our best.

It was a large affair. So much so they had Sheila Majid and Zainal Abidin on stage to perform their famous songs. Harikh Iskandar and Daphne Iking were the MC for the night.

Sheila Majid looking stunning at 47. When I grow old, I want to be like her.

As usual, there was a lucky draw. My wife and I usually don’t get anything at lucky draws so we ignored it. The last thing I won was probably a signed helmet at a Speedzone event. I sold the helmet at eBay for RM1600.

During the lucky draw..

Harikh: This prize is a 40 inch 3D LCD TV.
Wife: 40 inch so small la. We got a 42 inch at home.
Harikh: 01471. .
Wife’s colleague: eh..A.. I think you won la.
Wife&Me: O_O

So we won a 40 inch 3D LCD TV worth RM2700. We sold it at a discount price of RM2,500.

Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook Review

The Samsung Notebook Series 5 Ultra (14″) (Samsung Ultrabook) is my first piece of office equipment. Since I started my new firm, I’ve been using this ultrabook for the past two (2) months and so far I’ve not encountered any problem.

To those who have never heard of Ultrabook, it is a new generation of notebooks with lighter and thinner profile but without compromising performance and battery life.

The Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook comes in two models – a 13.3″ model and a 14″ model. The 14″ model comes with optical disc drive and 1TB S-ATAII Hard Drive (5,400RPM) with ExpressCache 16GB. The large disk space is one of the biggest pull factors for me. Most Ultrabooks only offer 120GB to 500GB and you pay a higher price for larger space.

I split the hard disk into 2 drives so that I can keep all my files into the second drive. This is to prevent losing my files when I need to format my main drive.

The 14″ inch Ultrabook weighs 1.75kg. It is heavier than a tablet and some Ultrabooks but it is much lighter than your normal notebook.

It runs on Windows 7. With Fast Boot, the computer boots-up in just 20 seconds while Fast Start wakes the Ultrabook from sleep in 2 seconds (but on some occasions, 10 to 20 seconds). Like any other operating systems, the speed of the start up will be affected if you have other software installed or running in the computer.

It comes with a powerful 4 W Stereo Speaker. I haven’t got a TV at home hence my wife and I used my ultrabook as our movie theater. Surprisingly, the sound system was loud and clear enough to fill the entire master bedroom.

Our movie theater

Speaking about movies, Samsung did not ditch their optical drive which allows one to play and burn DVDs. Many ultrabooks have ditched their optical drive.

Admittedly, the inclusion of the optical drive makes the Ultrabook slightly heavier but I still need such drive to install my software, play movies and also burn DVDs and CDs.

Other than that, Samsung generously provides a USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 ports, a 4-in-1 card reader and HDMI out. It also has an integrated HD webcam which allows you to video chat while the built-in microphone captures your voice with clear precision.

The Ultrabook comes with a sling bag which I didn’t find attractive. But this can be overcome by buying a nice hipster laptop sleeve (such as or even custom make you own sleeve cases (such as or

Speaking about tablets, although it’s more portable and lighter, it doesn’t beat the word processing functions of a notebook. A notebook (Ultrabook in this case) is essential for me to work when I travel.

On another note, this Samsung Ultrabook is bundled with Microsoft Office Starter, CyberLink Media Suite, MediaShow, Power2Go, PowerDirector and the YouCam webcam app, Skype 4.2, Norton Online Backup, Windows Live Essentials 2011 and a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2012.

The Ultrabook’s battery can last about 7 hours without charge. If Wifi is turned on, battery can last up to 3 hours.

Last month, I took my ultrabook along with me to Washington and also around New York City. I had to attend the International Trademark Association (INTA) conference at Washington D.C. Since I haven’t hired legal assistant, I had to do all my work while I travel.

Thank god for the Ultrabook. I carried it around Washington and New York City to do work. I was working at hostel lobbies (cause they have Wifi), busses and also airports.

Dubai Airport

New York YMCA Hostel Lobby

Free wireless internet connections are abundant in the United States. Starbucks provides free internet access to all its patrons. And there are Starbucks at almost every corner! I don’t even need a data plan to surf the net in New York City. Parks are also Wifi connected!

Busses are also WiFi connected. My 4 hours journey from New York City to Washington DC felt quite short thanks to the Internet connection.

Based on my US trip, my overall assessment of this Ultrabook in terms of portability is good.

My only complaint about this ultrabook is their non removable six-cell battery. Constant charging without draining the battery may shorten the lifespan of the laptop battery. Unfortunately, a non-removable battery is common in Ultrabooks. One alternative is to charge the battery after it automatically powers off, then fully charge the battery.

The Samsung Ultrabook retails at RM2999.


PROCESSOR: 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M
GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 3000
STORAGE: 1TB hard drive
CONNECTIVITY: WiFi 802.11n, gigabit Ethernet port, Bluetooth 3.0
PORTS: One USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC), HDMI out, VGA out
BATTERY: 6,120mAh
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
OTHER FEATURES: Stereo speakers, 1.3-megapixel HD webcam
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 33.27 x 22.86 x 2.08cm
WEIGHT: 1.45kg


Samsung Ultrabook website
Samsung Notebook Facebook

Samsung Global Blogger Contest


To digress from the main topic a little, the deadline to enter the Samsung Global Blogger is coming up on 29 April 2012.

Samsung are searching throughout the world for curious, imaginative and motivated people to invite to London for a once in a lifetime trip to experience the London 2012 Olympic Games.

If you’re chosen, you will be based in the capital during the biggest sporting event of the year. While there, you will search out the best London has to offer during the Games and share it with the world via video, photos and written entries on specially created blogs. You’ll provide a unique insight into the Olympics as it dominates life in London through the summer.

To become a Samsung Global Blogger now, you need to:-

STEP 1: Create a 30 second audition video in English
STEP 2: Upload it before April 29th
STEP 3: You could win a trip to report from London if your video is selected!

Click “Enter now” at Samsung Global Blogger website or read on for more details.

Some of my friends have entered the contest. Check them out!

Huai Bin

Tian Chad

Perhaps someone can do a video with Bersih rally on the background? 😀

You can find all the details from Samsung Global Blogger website.

What you should get for your girlfriend for Christmas!


Dear Men in the World,

Christmas is coming. It is time to crack your head what to buy for your other half. If your other half expects nothing fancy, congratulations to you. But if your other half expects something fancy, well, take my advice, buy her a smart phone. Here’s why:-

1. Save money on SMS. With Whatapps, emails and other instant communication programs, you no longer need to text her.

2. Track her whereabouts. Install Foursquare on her phone and teach her how to use it. Once she’s addicted, you don’t need to worry when she is not picking up the phone. Oh, teach her how to avoid stalkers too.

3. Keep her busy. With internet connection and games, you can keep her busy while you’re having a beer with your buddies or watching the game. This would lessen requests such as “I WANT TO GO HOME NAO!!”, ‘I’m bored” or “Your friends stink”. Smurfs’ Village seems to be ladies’ favourite.

4. Keep her safe. Install the MyDistress App for her. This App allows user to connect directly to Polis Diraja Malaysia Selangor Contingent. If she has no opportunity to call the police, just get her to click on that button. And it works!

5. Good quality pictures. Most Smartphones come with good quality camera. Here you can get your other half to send you naughty nice decent pictures.

And some pictures of her hot friends too….who you would like to introduce to your buddies.

Yeah sure… introduce to your buddies

6. Get brownie points. She will love you big time. Nuff’ said.

If you’re wondering which Smartphone to get, get the Samsung Galaxy SII.

You have probably read my earlier review of Samsung Galaxy SII. Many of the extra features of this phone are highlighted at the I Love Samsung Website.

Like many other smartphone, this gadget can connect to a CCTV system. You can keep your family safe to see the vicinity of your home through your CCTV system.

Mr Douglas explains how the CCTV works…

It’s also useful for makeup apparently..

The supa emulat display is blight an slarp.. its vivid..i can use it as a millor…

With 8.49mm thin and feather-light weight of 116g, this device is perfect for your lady’s handbag. If your lady’s handbag gets snatched, just activate the auto destruct command to blast the thief into pieces.

And it is only RM1,899 (cheaper than buying her a LV Bag and Tiffany & Co accessories)!

Check out I Love Samsung Website for more features!

Yours Sincerely,