We usher in 2023 by reviewing the largest law firms in Malaysia in 2022. This compares with the previous editions (2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018).
We refer to the number of lawyers based on the Malaysian Bar legal directory as at to date.
The Year 2022 in Review
The 3 Largest Malaysian Law Firms
Zaid Ibrahim & Co maintains its top ranking with the largest number of lawyers: 123 lawyers in total for the year 2022. However, this is a drop from last year’s total of 155 lawyers. The drop in its lawyers could have been due to the development below on the ZICO Law network joining the KPMG organisation.
Nonetheless, Zaid Ibrahim & Co, with its offices in Kuala Lumpur, Kelantan, Penang, and Johor Bahru, maintains its top rank ever since The Malaysian Lawyer kept track of the largest law firms in Malaysia.
Second in the rankings, Skrine continues to be the largest Kuala Lumpur firm with 114 lawyers. Shearn Delamore & Co follows closely with 113 lawyers.
KPMG International + ZICO Law
On 1 December 2022, KPMG International announced that a number of law firms and teams from the ZICO Law network had joined its network of firms. This meant that more than 275 lawyers across the ZICO Law network joined over 2,900 legal professionals in the KPMG global organisation.
For the Malaysian firm of Zaid Ibrahim & Co in particular, Zaid Ibrahim & Co would continue to be a law firm but would be in association with KPMG legal. Malaysia’s legal framework does not allow for multi-disciplinary practices and where the law firm (in the form of a sole proprietorship or partnership) would have to still exclusively practise law.
Ahead of or timed with Zaid Ibrahim & Co joining the KPMG network, several of its litigation lawyers had already left the firm to form the firm of Firoz Julian, with 8 litigators. The intellectual property team has established Linda Wang Su & Boo with 9 IP lawyers.
With Malaysia’s liberalised legal environment in terms of foreign law firms and foreign lawyers, we saw the addition of two additional foreign lawyers.
In late 2021, Azmi & Associates announced that it had employed its second foreign-qualified lawyer to join its ranks. In 2022, Skrine announced that it welcomed its foreign-qualifed lawyer, Dr Harald Sippel, to join them and to head its European and Northeast Asian Desk.
Malaysia’s Largest Law Firms
With this list tracking law firms with more than 50 lawyers, the list has now grown to the top 15 largest law firms. All images are from the law firms’ websites.
#15: Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership – 51 lawyers
Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership makes its debut in the largest law firm listing with 51 lawyers.
#14: Shook Lin & Bok – 65 lawyers
Shook Lin & Bok has moved down one position from last year’s #13.
#13: Tan Norizan & Associates – 67 lawyers
Tan Norizan & Associates climbs up one position from #14 to #13.
#12: Wong & Partners – 75 lawyers
Wong & Partners moves from last year’s joint 10th position to #12.
Joint #10: Raja, Darryl & Loh – 76 lawyers
Raja, Darryl & Loh moves from 9th position to joint #10 this year.
Joint #10: Chooi & Co + Cheang & Ariff – 76 lawyers
Chooi & Co + Cheang & Ariff maintains its #10 this year.
#9: Azmi & Associates – 83 lawyers
Azmi & Associates moves from last year’s 12th position to #9.
#8: Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill – 86 lawyers
Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill moves from last year’s 6th position to 8th position on this year’s listing.
#7: Adnan, Sundra & Low – 88 lawyers
Adnan, Sundra & Low moves up from last year’s 8th position to #7.
#6: Zul Rafique & Partners – 92 lawyers
Zul Rafique & Partners moves down one position to #6 on this year’s listing.
#5: Christopher & Lee Ong – 96 lawyers
Christopher & Lee Ong moves from last year’s 7th position to #5.
#4: Rahmat Lim & Partners – 97 lawyers
Rahmat Lim & Partners maintains its 4th position this year.
#3: Shearn Delamore & Co – 113 lawyers
Shearn Delamore & Co maintains its 3rd position this year.
#2: Skrine – 114 lawyers
Skrine maintains its #2 position this year.
#1: Zaid Ibrahim & Co – 123 lawyers
Zaid Ibrahim & Co maintains its #1 position on this list of largest law firms.
Foreign Law Firms in Malaysia
Herbert Smith Freehills – 18 lawyers
Herbert Smith Freehills maintains its headcount of 18 lawyers in its Kuala Lumpur office. The same number as last year.
Trowers & Hamlins – 17 lawyers
Trowers & Hamlins has grown its Kuala Lumpur office with 17 lawyers in its Malaysia team.