26 NOVEMBER 2018 – HOLLAND & MARIE
Holland & Marie intends to introduce its in-house counsel solution in January 2019. We believe this business will address a pain point for our clients and is permitted under applicable law. In this article, we will discuss how we reached the decision to launch this business and why we think our clients will value it.
“It is a criminal offence if an unauthorised person carries out any act that may be performed only by a qualified lawyer or if he/she pretends to be a qualified lawyer. The relevant provision is section 33 of the Legal Profession Act. The acts that may be performed only by a qualified lawyer are set out in section 33 of the Legal Profession Act and case law.” – The Law Society of Singapore.
“The in-house profession in Singapore is not regulated. It is not necessary to be admitted to the Bar (whether in Singapore or elsewhere) or to hold a practising certificate before you can be employed as in-house counsel. The position is the same for both local and foreign lawyers practising in-house in Singapore.” – Singapore Corporate Counsel Association.
“I’m not taking tennis as a profession, I’m going to be a lawyer or work on Wall Street.” – 10-year old Chris Holland, 1983.
I (Chris Holland) was surprised when I learned that someone with no legal training could work as an in-house counsel in Singapore. For comparison purposes, in New York (where I am admitted as an attorney) to act as an in-house counsel you either need to be admitted to the Bar and in good standing in a United States jurisdiction or a member in good standing of a recognized legal profession outside the United States (among other criteria). I think the New York requirements make sense. To advise on legal matters you should be a qualified
lawyer, at least somewhere. I do not know the background to Singapore’s more permissive rules.
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