The growing importance of the Asia-Pacific Region for international law firms is confirm again in a new study. The Law Council of Australia conduct this study. The study — with the title Fourth Legal and Related Services Export Survey‘. And Australia-based legal business development professional Richard Smith (RWS_01) publish the results on his blog yesterday.

As Smith relates:  “Total income from exports and international activity of Australian legal services was $932.8 million” in fiscal year 2010/11.  Further key findings of the report, as Smith reports, are:

  • “‘Asia’ remains Australia’s largest “regional” export market.
  • ‘Asia’, as a region, is the only global region to have experienced continuous growth since FY2004-05
  • Export of legal services to China/HK amounted to $124.1 million. It fell from the second largest export market to the fourth. (Smith notes that the “China and Hong Kong market – in dollar ($) terms – still represented the largest by country in the Asia region”).
  • Indonesia saw the biggest per cent increase in exports, up…115.2%.
  • Singapore saw 80% growth from $32.5 million to $73.1 million.”
  • Importantly, as Smith points out:  “South East Asia contributed $35.5 million to exports. Excluding Indonesia and Singapore – termed “Other South East Asia” in the Report. Given what I [Smith] blogged on Friday, SE Asia would now have to be considered one of the real growth prospects for Australian legal services going forward and this is indeed reflected in the Report which states that “South-East Asia has grown much more strongly than North Asia since FY2008-09 as a destination for exports of Australian legal and related services“.”
  • “At $272.9 million, North America and Canada are the largest “single” export market for Australian legal and related services.”

The future for foreign law firms in the Asia-Pacific region:

As Smith outlined, the Australian Law Council report is based on 2010/11 fiscal year figures.  I believe it’s vital to keep in mind the predictions for the expansion of the Asia-Pacific legal markets. And assume opportunity for both Australian and other foreign law firms is certain to only increase prospectively.  Alan Hodgart and George Beaton (@grbeaton_law) predict the Asia-Pacific legal markets will double in size in the not-too-distant future.  Hodgart predicted in Seoul the market would double between 2013 and 2017.  Beaton predicts the market is likely to double by 2022 in a 2014 book by this author entitled:  A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets.

Taking into consideration the reports 2010/11 figures – and Hodgart and Beaton’s predictions – the Asia-Pacific market appears on track to become a more significant opportunity for Australian law firms than America and Canada are at present.

The full text of Richard Smith’s blogpost entitled: International Trade of Australian Legal and Related Services is now a Billion-Dollar Industry can be read here.

Posted by Asia Law Portal

A forum for discussion of news, information & opportunity in the Asia-Pacific legal markets.

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