Sycamore Legal is a commercial legal practice based in Sydney which operates on the New Law model. Our practice areas include not only domestic legal issues in Australia but more importantly also cross-border legal matters among Australia, Hong Kong and Mainland China. We fully leverage on the opportunities presented by the recently concluded free trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong, and those arising from the Greater Bay Area, an initiative orchestrated by China’s central government to coalesce Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and 7 other cities in Southern China into a mega financial, technological and innovative hub rivalling the San Francisco and Tokyo Bay Areas. We provide affordable yet quality cross-border legal services to help Australian businesses (particularly SMEs) to tap into the rich business opportunities deriving from the Hong Kong – Australia Free Trade Agreement as well as the Greater Bay Area.
Sycamore Legal is partnering with SimplifyLaw, a Hong Kong New Law Practice providing legal and commercial consultancy to SMEs, to offer full-scale cross-border commercial legal services to Australian businesses (especially the SMEs) investing or doing businesses in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and the Mainland China.
Our commercial practice (both on Australian domestic law and cross-border matters between Australia, Hong Kong and China) is based entirely on the New Law Model, which means we offer fix-fee legal services and using Legal Tech to streamline work process. This New Law Model however does not apply to contentious matters like civil proceedings.
What is New Law?
“Any model, process, or tool that represents a significantly different approach to the creation or provision of legal services than what the legal profession traditionally has employed.”
~ Jordan Furlong
There is no universal definition of NewLaw. Loosely defined, it is an alternative model of legal services which flourished after the GFC when in-house legal departments of Wall Street’s big names were called upon to cut legal budgets. Although it was incapable of concise definition, two features of NewLaw stand out – the extensive use of the so-called Legal Tech and the adoption of an alternative pricing model. The former enables value-added legal services to be provided to clients by using apps and software that streamline workflow, facilitates speedy communications between lawyers and clients and more importantly, enhance the efficiency of delivering legal services. The latter essentially means abandoning billable hours and the adoption of fixed fees, which provides cost certainty and very affordable legal services to clients. To this may be added a third attribute – NewLaw lawyers do not stick to their offices, and instead, they run out of it and work in situ at client’s offices, help resolve legal problems right at the spot.
We provide comprehensive legal advice and services regarding Australian domestic law, as well as cross –border legal matters among Australia, Hong Kong and Mainland China, with a focus on corporate and commercial matters. Specifically, we are specialised and experienced in handling the following types of legal issues and cases affecting or involving both Australia and Hong Kong/Mainland China:
For individuals, our services range from cross-border matrimonial matters such divorce, spouse and children maintenance and support, custody, adoption, estate succession, where for example the deceased’s estate comprising assets located in both jurisdictions, and personal investments in both jurisdictions, cross-border asset and fund re-organisation and restructuring.
For businesses and corporations, we are experienced in handling cross-border M&A, investment projects, insolvency, debt and asset restructuring, regulatory investigations, civil proceedings and various types of immigration cases (including business visas, family & partner visas and employer nomination scheme etc.).
WE CHARGE FIXED FEES!
We have scrapped the much hated and indeed tyrannical billable hour model, and replace it with a client-friendly one of fixed fee.
Our fees are extremely competitive, and in most cases, lower by 30% to 50%, compared to traditional law firms or even other NewLaw practices in Hong Kong, for three reasons.
First, we have completely got rid of the “brokers” in the provision of legal services, so a large slice of fees payable to them as commissions is saved.
Second, our extensive use of Legal Tech streamlines and automates work process, strengthens legal team collaboration, cuts expensive human power, thereby saving the time of lawyers and thus costs of clients.
Third, but not the least, we benchmark the unit time costs of our lawyers on in-house lawyers’ rate, not traditional law firms’, the former being only 50 – 60% of the latter or even less.
We provide customised fee structure for clients. Clients can choose to pay for a specific piece of work requested (such as drafting a legal document), on a project basis (for example, an offshore M&A) or on monthly or yearly retainer.
Mr. Edward Tai is the principal of our firm. Born and educated in Hong Kong, he is a solicitor admitted in Australia (NSW & SA), Hong Kong and England & Wales. He started off his legal career by practicing as a commercial litigator in Hong Kong, handling primarily cross-border commercial disputes involving companies investing in Mainland China, disputes over landed properties and legal proceedings relating to corporate insolvency and restructuring.
After that, he went in-house and worked with such prominent listed Chinese and Hong Kong corporations as China Everbright Holding Ltd., Phoenix Satellite TV, Hong Kong TV etc. in different roles of counsel, head of legal and/or company secretary etc. In the last 10 years, he has been mainly focused in the law and commercial practice relating to cross-border M&A, corporate finance and listing compliance, while helping Chinese enterprises acquire strategic assets overseas. Recently, he also served as the legal and executive director of an ASX listed gold mining company based in Perth.
Edward holds a Bachelor of Law (Hon.) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Law from the University of Hong Kong, a Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Master of Law (Corporate & Commercial Law) from the University of New South Wales.
Edward is fully bilingual in English and Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and is capable of providing legal advice and drafting legal documents in both languages.
Edward is currently a consultant to Yan Lawyers, a Hong Kong law firm.