Straits Times Says Law Firms Looking At Indonesia As Next Big Asia Legal Market

Foreign law firms eye Indonesia market
Global players drawn in by opportunities as Jakarta pursues investment deals

By Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, Indonesia Correspondent In Jakarta
INDONESIAN law firms are facing rising competition from global rivals lured by Indonesia’s growing economy and the increasing number of corporate clients needing advice on major deals, such as infrastructure projects.

President Joko Widodo’s government has made investment in South-east Asia’s largest economy and infrastructure, such as roads and railways, a priority. For example, the country’s Investment Coordinating Board is targeting 932.9 trillion rupiah (S$103 billion) in investment within the next five years, as part of the government’s push to boost gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 7 per cent, The Jakarta Post reported recently.

This means potentially big fees for law firms that specialise in these sectors. The government also wants more investment in agriculture, energy, mining and heavy industry.

Most foreign law firms have formed an alliance with local law firms. Both parties commit to sharing information and expertise as well as referring potential clients. Some global firms have acquired small local law firms, but operate under the acquired party’s name. Under Indonesian law, foreign lawyers are allowed to be only consultants to local lawyers as they cannot represent clients in court or set up their own offices.