1. With a strong network across ASEAN, what are the strengths of LS Horizon as a regional legal services firm?
Among the strength of LS Horizon is the local talent of the lawyers in their respective markets. These lawyers live and work in the region so they understand the political, economic, and legal/regulatory framework of their regions. Their local knowledge and in-country presence adds great value because it means we can act quickly or directly assess the investment climate in a way that a firm with nominal presence in the local market cannot. While English remains the lingua franca there is something to be said about a law firm whose lawyers have strong linguistic and cultural proficiency in the region in which they operate. Once deemed an extraneous skill set, possessing linguistic and cultural proficiency is increasingly necessary for the international lawyer in the Asian Century.
Our firm’s local talent, who make up our strong network,has these necessary skills as well as the hard legal skills to provide high quality, value-added legal services in a competitive market.
2. How important is the relationship between Thailand and Singapore in terms of business and trade?
The ties are very important.Thailand is the second largest ASEAN economy and Singapore is the most developed ASEAN nation. Business and trade between the two economies is only expected to grow over the next decade. Furthermore, Thailand serves as a gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion, a region of 300 million people. This fact explains the linkage between Thai-Singaporean business and trade. Just as Thailand is strategically situated at the intersection between the various economic corridors of the GMS, LS Horizon’s core business in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia puts our firm in the center of that growth. We feel pretty good about our position in the coming years.
3. What challenges do clients face when doing business in Thailand? What solutions is LS Horizon able to deliver to these clients?
The major challenge for doing business in Thailand is navigating the often complex investment regime which can be confusing without the assistance of local counsel.For instance, certain investments may invoke overlapping jurisdiction by a number of government authorities, thereby requiring the investor to initiate the investment process with one regulatory authority but petition another for the operating license.Additionally, the list of investment activities that are on the negative (i.e., prohibited), restricted or promoted list may contain additional exemptions, carve outs, or restrictions within a particular investment activity. Without the guidance of local counsel the investor may miss out on the benefits and incentives by merely restructuring their investment. Our firm regularly advises multi-national clients on a full range of options available to them when investing in Thailand or elsewhere.
Another challenge of doing business in Thailand is the investor’s occasional need to challenge unlawful regulations or administrative decisions. Our administrative law practice is robust and innovative, and we have represented clients in landmark cases in challenging numerous administrative actions. These are some of the solutions we offer our clients.
4. What message do you have for our readers across ASEAN regarding LS Horizon’s plans for 2018 and the firm’s commitment to delivering international quality legal services?
There is no better time to invest in ASEAN than now. This year we marked a milestone – the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis that crippled many of the Asian economies. Since the Asian Financial Crisis ASEAN economies have grown stronger and more resilient.As cross-border investments have increased our firm has considered expanding to areas where our clients see opportunities and growth. For 2018, LS Horizon is considering expanding to Vietnam due to our client interest. As we decide to expand to other jurisdictions we are careful to ensure to maintain the highest standard of legal services. We do this by our commitment to developing local talent, investing in our lawyers, and strengthening our network of specialists. We believe this level of commitment ensures that we can continue to deliver international quality legal services.