Trowers & Hamlins is looking to tap into growth in Southeast Asia, after receiving approval from the Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to open a non-trading representative office, the first foreign firm to open in this way in Malaysia.

Currently, foreign law firms are prohibited from directly representing clients in Malaysia. However, a bill which is currently before the Malaysian Parliament, will amend the legislation governing the legal profession and liberalise the sector. If approved, it will allow a number of foreign law firms to open offices in Malaysia, create joint ventures with Malaysian law firms, and for foreign lawyers to be employed by Malaysian firms.

Nick White, resident managing partner of Trowers’ Dubai office, will relocate to Kuala Lumpur to head the new operation.

“Our strategy is to grow our international business and work to suit the needs of our clients. There is an increasing demand for our expertise and knowledge in emerging markets, and it is important we grow to support this," said Martin Amison, the firm’s international departmental head, in a statement.

Trowers has five offices in the Middle East, and much of its work there focuses on Islamic finance. In recent years, Malaysia has emerged as a centre for Islamic finance in the region.

“We have been visiting and working with clients in Malaysia and the ASEAN region for many years,” said partner Nicholas Edmondes, who has led the initiative with White, and has been involved in major investment deals by Malaysian clients into the UK. “Our experience ranges from power and water projects, and corporate and commercial matters, through the construction and disputes in the Middle East, and inbound investment into the UK by major Malaysian institutions. We are delighted and privileged that MIDA has given us approval to open a regional office in Malaysia."

Trowers’ other offices are located in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Birmingham, Cairo, Dubai, Exeter, London, Manchester, and Oman.

Follow us on Twitter: @ALB_Magazine.

Other related stories: