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How To Start Your Own Law Firm

Updated: Oct 19

How to set up a law practice




Singapore Law Practice ("SLP")


All law practices in Singapore are subject to a licensing regime, and must obtain a licence from Legal Services Regulatory Authority (“LSRA”) before commencing operations.


A Singapore Law Practice (“SLP”) is allowed to provide in or from Singapore:

  • Singapore law-related legal services in all areas of legal practice; and

  • Foreign law-related legal services in all areas of legal practice that the SLP is competent to offer.


To set up a law practice:


a. Apply via LSRA e-Services for a new licence, complete and submit application form, and pay the application fee.


b. If LSRA grants in-principle approval, register the business entity with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”) via BizFile.


c. After the entity is registered with ACRA, submit details and pay the licence fee via LSRA e-Services.


Once ACRA approves the business entity and issues the UEN, you should login to LSRA e-Services, update the UEN, upload the professional indemnity insurance document (if available), and pay the licence/registration fee.


d. LSRA will issue a licence.


Information Required

Substantive Appointment:

AAS No.:

Practice Area(s):

Accident and Personal Injury Claims

Administrative and Constitutional Law

Admiralty and Shipping Law

Arbitration

Banking, Finance and Securities Law

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law

Building and Construction Law

Civil and Commercial Litigation

Competition Law

Conveyancing and Property Law

Corporate and Commercial Law

Criminal Law

Employment Law

Family Law

Immigration Law

Insurance Law

Intellectual Property Law

Islamic Law

Landlord and Tenant Law

Media, Internet and Information Technology Law

Mediation

Other

Tax Law

Trust Law

Wills, Probate and Administration of Estate

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Curriculum Vitae of the Managing Partner/Director of the Singapore Law Practice:

Management Structure of the Singapore Law Practice:

Please submit an organisation chart which shows how the applicant law practice will be managed, and by whom.


An SLP can be structured as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership or company, and is required to apply for a law firm licence, limited liability law partnership licence or law corporation licence as applicable.


If you are setting up a law corporation, you will need to submit a draft constitution. Please consider using the specimen clauses available.


Informing or seeking the approval of LSRA before sharing premises with another law practice or business entity


Information Required


Reasons for sharing premises with Entity Proposed plans to maintain the distinct identity of the Law Practice

Proposed safeguards to ensure the confidentiality of client matters and information


a. Sharing premises with a non-SLP [Singapore law practice (“SLP”)]

Under rule 81 of the Legal Profession (Law Practice Entities) Rules 2015 (“LPER”), SLPs, Qualifying Foreign Law Practices (“QFLPs”), licensed FLPs and representative offices must obtain the prior approval of DLS before they can share premises with an entity other than an SLP. You can seek approval by submitting an update application via LSRA e-Services. Fill in the “Sharing of Premises” section of the online form, and submit the relevant supporting documents.


Document Required


ACRA Business Profile of the Entity that the applicant law practice will be sharing premises with

Layout of the Shared Premises An undertaking to restrict access to and maintain the confidentiality of client files and information Written confirmation from the other entity recognising the obligations of the applicant law practice


b. Sharing premises with an entity where approval is not required

Where the prior approval of DLS is not required to share premises (e.g. sharing between two SLPs), both entities must still submit an application via LSRA e-Services to update their particulars.


Seeking the approval of LSRA before renting space from a serviced office

You will need to obtain the prior approval of DLS via LSRA e-Services to share premises with the facility management company that owns or manages the serviced office.

A non-lawyer employee being a partner, director or shareholder in, or sharing in the profits of, a law practice

Your law practice will need to apply via LSRA e-Services for approval to register the employee as a regulated non-practitioner under s 36G of the LPA [Legal Profession Act (“LPA”)]. Please note that approval is required even if the employee will be a salaried partner or director.

Such non-lawyer employee participation in a law practice is subject to certain statutory requirements, including the limits set out in the Legal Profession (Regulated Individuals) Rules 2015 (“RIR”).


A foreign lawyer being a partner, director or shareholder in, or sharing in the profits of, an SLP

The approval of DLS under s 176 of the LPA is required before a foreign lawyer registered under ss 36B, 36C or 36D of the LPA can be a partner, director or shareholder in, or share in the profits of, an SLP. Please note that approval is required even if the foreign lawyer will be a salaried partner or director in the SLP.

Such foreign lawyer participation in an SLP is subject to certain statutory requirements, including the limits set out in the LPER.


An SLP must satisfy the threshold requirements set out in rule 3 of the Legal Profession (Law Practice Entities) Rules 2015 for so long as its licence remains in force. The threshold requirements include limits on the number of foreign lawyers who can practise in, or be directors, partners or shareholders in, or share in the profits of, the SLP.


Time taken for LSRA to process application


The application may take about 3 to 16 weeks to process.


Fee


The application fee, which is non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the application, can be found in the First Schedule of the Legal Profession (Law Practice Entities) Rules 2015.


The licence fee can be found in the First Schedule of the Legal Profession (Law Practice Entities) Rules 2015.


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