SINGAPORE – The number of law firms has increased slightly, crossing the 1,000 mark, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
There were 1,016 law firms in Singapore as of September 27, up from 998 as of December 31 last year, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said.
“Based on data from the Legal Services Regulatory Authority, the number of law firms (Singapore law firms and foreign law firms) has increased slightly over the years,” a- she added.
About 80 percent of Singapore law firms are made up of small firms of one to five lawyers each, with 10 more firms listed in this category as of September 27 compared to 809 last December.
There were 174 mid-sized firms of six to 30 lawyers in last month’s figures, up from 166 last December, while large law firms with more than 30 lawyers saw no change from the previous 23 .
Industry players are not surprised by the overall increase, saying that this increase has been accompanied by the number of new lawyers entering the profession in recent years.
According to the Law Society of Singapore’s 2021 annual report released last month, there were 6,333 practitioners as of August 31, crossing the 6,000 mark for the first time in its annual reports.
Mr. Chou Sean Yu, Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution at WongPartnership, said: “We have observed that there are now more younger lawyers who have made the bold decision to start their own firm after a few years of practice.
“The majority appear to be dispute resolution lawyers and they are clearly very confident in their ability to establish a sustainable practice, despite the current Covid-19 pandemic and adverse economic conditions. “
Mr Dharmendra Yadav, Singaporean consultant based in Melbourne at Alpha Creates, said: “These figures do not surprise me … The pandemic has forced lawyers to make choices. High salaries and bonuses are no longer the only motivation. . A sense of self-worth, alignment of values and mental well-being have also become important factors. “
Oon & Bazul Managing Partner Bazul Ashhab said: “Having law firms forced to conduct their business through video conferencing applications like Zoom eliminates delays and other logistical difficulties associated with physical meetings and also helps to set up new practices. “
He added that there had been an increase in litigation amid the pandemic and a corresponding demand for lawyers to handle it.
Oon & Bazul reflected the overall growth of the industry, having continued to expand last year. “Part of the reason we’re wanted is because we’re one of the largest independent conflict-free law firms in Singapore,” Bazul said.
Ms Lee Shulin, director of legal recruiting and consulting ANSA Search, said the law firm’s numbers were in part fueled by Singapore’s focus on fintech, with companies in areas such as crypto. currency and artificial intelligence settling here.
“A lot of them are venture capital-backed tech companies that need lawyers to advise them throughout their lifecycle, and in recent years we’ve seen partners from the biggest firms. lawyers leave to set up their own law firm, ”she said.
Mr. Brandon Tee, who began his legal career in 2013, established his own firm, BTPLaw, last December.
He said: “Since then, I have gone from zero lawyers to five people working for and with me, with the number of staff expected to increase soon. I have created my firm to be a facilitator of entrepreneurship in the legal sector. . “