Lawyers in Bangkok: A List of Recommended Law Firms

To me, finding a great law firm in Bangkok has always felt a bit like trying to find a straw needle in a haystack: it’s not only that I might have no idea what exactly I should be looking for, but I might not even realize when I’ve found one.

There are some very general resources: embassies have lawyer lists and Legal 500 ranks commercial lawyers in different categories. But beyond that, it’s tremendously hard to find information about law firms – unlike smart phones, you don’t find many reviews about them online and unlike baristas, your friends don’t tend to tweet about them (of course, Starbucks doesn’t sue you if you disagree with their latte art, so that might explain that…).

In the past, I just ended up working my way down the above lists, setting up meetings, talking to lawyers and gauging if they are a fit for the problem at hand. That’s not only a bit unreliable, but very time intensive as well.

In order to save other people the same kind of work, I’ve put together a list of lawyers in Bangkok (there is also a much briefer list of Phuket law firms) and some general guidelines on dealing with lawyers in Thailand. While I have personal experiences with only a handful of them, the majority are firms that I’ve included based on what I heard from fellow entrepreneurs, academics and legal professionals who are in a better position to provide a qualified opinion. I especially would like to thank the people over at /r/Thailand for the contributions they made to this article.

The listings of firms in different categories is done alphabetically and not intended to imply a ranking. While the companies and lawyers listed in this article were mentioned to me in a positive context, I’m unable to provide personal endorsements of individual firms.

But if you want me to find a law firm for your case, please feel free to get in touch.

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What You’re In For

I’ve opted to include both commercial (e.g. incorporations, tax, intellectual property…) and personal law (e.g. criminal, divorce, estate planning …) firms in this article. In order to make browsing and reading easier, I took some editorial liberty with the categorization of firms and topics which may not be completely in line with industry standards.

Lawyers and Law Firms By Field of Practice

I’ve asked around quite a bit to get an idea who fellow entrepreneurs, retirees, HR managers and industry professionals like to hire. In addition, I have my own experience to fall back on, but that’s a very limited pool of experience given how infrequent I interact with lawyers. Regardless of input, it’s a subjective list of impressions that’s not necessarily representative.

My main objective was to find firms used repeatedly by at least two independent persons. One of the main issues I encountered is that small firms with less than five lawyers rarely meet those criteria, simply because they have a lot fewer clients (and often clients who tend to hire firms on a much less frequent basis) than larger firms with a large number of legal professionals on staff.

Firms dealing primarily with large, multinational clients are similarly difficult to cover adequately. These lawyers often provide very specialized services that you neither use nor encounter as the average entrepreneur or private individual.

In the end, this list is a starting point for people looking to hire a lawyer that’s provided as is and without any warranties. It’s not an authoritative evaluation of law firms on the market. If you simply need help finding a lawyer, you can find a reputable lawyer by filling out your information on this page.

Commercial Law

It’s fairly easy to track down law firms with a particularly strong reputation in a certain field of practice – often with rates to match. What is a lot harder is to find firms that have a reputation for solid work, a track record working with international clients while not charging an arm and a leg for that.

The most hassle-free and time-saving procedure is to go with a top tier lawyer. It may end up costing you more at the end of the day, but the chances of having to do something over again (if it’s even possible) are lower. High end lawyers will tell you that their services include more pointers, attention to detail and, maybe most importantly, advice.

Which type of firm is suited for your needs, depends on the specific issue, your company, the environment in which you find yourself in, your language skills as well as your budget.

General Commercial Law Issues

There are a number of firms that cover a broad coverage of commercial law fields at competitive rates ranging from bankruptcies to real estate. Some of them may be specialized in specific areas – you can check their websites for further details. I’ve opted to include top tier firms as well, so rates quoted by the firms in this section can vary significantly.

Frank Legal & Tax is a boutique international law firm with a team of Thai and international lawyers who specialize not only in commercial law but provide a wide range of legal services, such as real estate law, litigation, visa and work permits as well as accounting services.

Aside from a number of positive mentions I’ve seen for this firm (and especially for John Lewis), Anglo Thai Legal (ALT) also stands out through the variety of languages covered by their lawyers (see the section on ‘foreign language lawyers’).

Blumenthal Richter & Sumet

Blumenthal Richter & Sumet was one the firms I saw mentioned positively quite frequently during my research for this article. Their rates are at the higher end, but that seems to be in line with their reputation.

DFDL

An international commercial law firm with representations all across South East Asia that by commercial law standards offers competitive rates. DFDL maintains an office in Koh Samui.

Duensing Kippen

A small firm run by lawyers with an absolutely outstanding personal and professional reputation. Duensing Kippen maintains offices in Bangkok and Phuket.

JNP Legal was recommended to me as a general commercial and personal law practice, including litigation, and especially for tech companies and startups. Their lawyers are all foreign-educated and speak excellent English.

Law Plus Limited

Law Plus Limited, and especially Kowit Somwaiya, was recommended to me as a general commercial and personal law practice, including litigation.

Natee International Law Office

Natee International Law Office was recommended to me as a general commercial and personal law practice. Prices vary, depending if you work directly with Natee Thongdee or one of the more junior staff members.

Rajah & Tann

Rajah & Tann is an international law firm with offices through Southeast and East Asia that’s been recommended to me by a number of different lawyers.

Seri Manop & Doyle

Seri Manop & Doyle that was recommended to me as a general go-to firm in areas of commercial law (including anything form joint ventures to litigation). Particularly strong recommendations came for entrepreneurs seeking counsel and advice. Lawyers aren’t cheap, but their rates are more on the affordable side of things.

Tilleke & Gibbins

Tilleke & Gibbins is the oldest law firm in Bangkok (which even has their own museum). Specifically recommended in compliance, labor and intellectual property issues (including litigation), this 150+ lawyer firm covers a very broad range of commercial law topics and can be found on pretty much every lawyer list out there.

The main reason people decide not to hire them are usually their rates. However, if you’re looking at litigation, you may consider their prices a suitable investment.

Intellectual Property

Similar to labor law there’s usually two sides to intellectual property: On behalf of the rights owners or on behalf of those accused of violating said rights. In Thailand, a lot of the work for these companies comes from the former, but they are open to all clients. If your main concern is to go after intellectual property infringement within Thailand, there are also ‘investigative’ firms with in-house lawyers like Orion which might be cheaper than going with a big name law firm.

Rouse

Rouse is an international boutique firm of specialized lawyers for intellectual property issues. Rates are competitive.

Tilleke & Gibbins

The market leader firm in intellectual property in Bangkok. See the entry under ‘commercial law’ for more details on them.

Labor Law

A lot firms doing labor law limit themselves to either only representing employers or employees to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Some firms offer consultations for either side. If in doubt, I recommend contact the individual firms to check.

Pramuanchai Law Office

I’ve seen Pramuanchai Law Office hired by European multinationals to consult and represent them in labor disputes.

Seri Manop & Doyle

This firm has been recommended to me for both defendants and plaintiffs in labor law disputes. Their hourly rates are a bit more on the competitive side. I’ve asked a contact for a recommendation for a lawyer in hypothetical case of a wrongful dismissal for someone working a job for more than three years at a monthly salary of THB 50,000. The first recommendation that came up was Mike Doyle. You can find further details about Seri Manop & Doyle in the general commercial law section.

Tilleke & Gibbins

If there’s a lot of money at stake (think wrongful dismissal of a CEO of an MNC), you can consider Tilleke & Gibbins. Probably not worth it for smaller disputes, the firm has an excellent reputation for high end labor disputes (among the many other fields they cover). See the entry under ‘commercial law’ for more details on them.

Multinational Corporate Issues

These firms predominantly work with multinational corporate clients. Of course there’s a significant overlap: some of the firms mentioned in other sections have a significant practice involving corporate clients, and some of these corporate firms may also serve smaller clients. Nevertheless, I opted for a rough classification. If you believe one of the firms in this article should be listed in another section (or vice versa), feel free to drop me a line.

Chandler & Thong-Ek

Chandler & Thong-Ek of about 40 lawyers was positively mentioned to me by other lawyers. The firm describes its primary area of practice as cross-border corporate transactions.

Koerner & Associates

Koerner & Associates is a smaller firm that primarily seems to work for a selected number of multinational corporations.

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams having more than 450 lawyers worldwide that has an excellent reputation when it comes to arbitration and litigation. I’ve seen them endorsed across the board for their fields of practice – assuming you can afford them. Their clients are mostly multinational corporations. It’s not for their lack of a reputation that you can’t find them in any of the embassy lists.

Real Estate

A number of firms were brought up when I asked people about lawyers to work with in property.

Frank Legal & Tax has a good record of real estate laws especially in their Phuket office. They also regularly publish property related publications on various medias such as the Bangkok Post and the Property Report South-East Asia.

Baker & McKenzie

From what gather, Baker and McKenzie in Thailand is a predominantly ‘Thai law firm’ that has a very small number of foreign lawyers on payroll. In spite of that, you’ll find them on many embassy lists. Numerous people in the industry mentioned them in a positive context for different fields of practice, but their reputation in real estate stands out particularly.

Hughes Krupica

The firm operates offices in Bangkok and Phuket. People I’ve talked to have been happy working with the firm in both locations. Contact details can be found in the ‘Phuket’ section.

Pugnatorius

German-managed Pugnatorius and its managing director Dr. Eder have been mentioned to me in a very positive context for real estate transactions.

Taxation

For tax issues, you usually have to see if you need to work with an accountant or a tax lawyer. Contact a proficient lawyer; they’re usually not shy about referring you to an accountant if they consider that a better choice.

Some people tend to wait until they’re in trouble before hiring a tax lawyer. However, in this field it can be really worthwhile to look at potential issues in advance. There are a number of very positive aspects to the tax system in Thailand – making it one reason why I recommend doing business in Thailand – but a much more significant number of pitfalls can quickly turn this boon into an existential threat to your business if you don’t dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Similar to lawyers, it depends on the amount and complexity of the issue on what kind of firm you want to hire – you have the choice from small local firms to KPMG. I’ve opted to add some accounting firms in this section.

BGL

BGL is a competitive priced firm that was recommended to me for taxation issues.

Law Alliance

Law Alliance is a boutique tax law firm with an outstanding reputation in this field.

PKF Tax and Consulting Services (Thailand) Ltd.

PKF, and especially John Casella, were recommended to me for anything dealing with the revenue department.

Fix Priced Work

There are a number of smaller law firms that are used to handle general, more administrative issues – which can be anything from incorporations to work permits. The mostly local-owned firms tend to be cheaper than many of the law firms listed in other categories and often provide a one-stop shop that includes accounting services. The downside is that firms with more economic rates tend to have few specialists, meaning you’ll have to frequently do your own research. If you’re bootstrapping a lifestyle business and are more limited by cash than time, that can make sense. However, it gets tricky once you get to more complex legal issues or if you’re not so familiar with the laws involved.

An entrepreneur I know uses Thai Legal Counsels as a one-stop shop for everything from accounting to work permits.

Phattankan Account and Tax

Another entrepreneur I know uses this as a one-stop shop for everything from accounting to work permits.

Private Law

In private law, firms seem to be much less specialized than in commercial areas. There are still certain firms that get recommended for specific fields, but overall coverage tends to be broader. This includes an individual lawyer such as Aom. I’ve thus opted not to further categorize firms in this category and rather just mention in which context I heard good things about them.

Most private law practices only employ a handful of lawyers. As such, it’s harder to come by names of law firms that have been used and recommended by multiple people. I definitely recommend setting up informal meetings (or one-hour consultations) to see which lawyers ‘get you’ and who you can think you can work with. Remember that the person running the meeting might not be the person who handles your case from there onwards. It’s best to clarify who will work on your issue going forward and meet them as well.

If you just want something in writing and know it won’t be worthwhile to pursue it in court (e.g. for a personal small loan, a rental contract), you can also check out the ‘Contracts and Other Legal Documents’ section in this guide.

If you’re looking at litigation (including criminal cases, defamation and libel), you may also want to check the commercial law firms that were mentioned in connection with litigation. Some of them also cover private law topics and may be a suitable choice in that case. This overlap also exists the other way round: many firms handling private law issues also cover a lot of the general ‘fix priced’ commercial areas like company incorporations, work permits and BOI applications.

A commercial law firm that I’ve seen mentioned for personal law and litigation. More details in their listing under ‘commercial law’.

Law Plus Limited

A commercial law firm that I’ve seen mentioned for personal law and litigation. More details in their listing under ‘commercial law’.

Natee International Law Office

A commercial law firm that I’ve seen mentioned for personal law. More details in their listing under ‘commercial law’.

PloyPrathip

Ann Ploysongsan and Edward Ploysongsan from PloyPrathip have been recommended to me for anything from custody and divorce to inheritance by a several people. While family law was mentioned specifically, they also seem to be a good choice for a number of other fields. They get described as easy to work with and speak excellent English.

Foreign Language Lawyers

While several embassies feature lists of lawyers, often with details of their covered languages, not all do. I’ve put together a quick sample of foreign language law firms catering to nationalities not covered by any of the embassy lists.

Please note that I have no specific experience working with any of them and often have to rely on information provided by these firms themselves for this section. I figured this would however provide a good starting point – especially for any friends of yours who might only speak limited English and Thai.

The majority of this section is based on public information provided by the British, German and Swedish embassies as well as selected input from friends who helped with foreign language research. Since I don’t speak most of these languages, I’m not able to verify the availability or quality of consultation in any way. The list is provided as is and without any warranties whatsoever.

Arabic

Anglo Thai Legal employs at least one Arabic-speaking lawyer.

Chinese

Baker & MckenzieRespondek & FanRödl & Partner as well as Schaefke Legal Services each employ at least one Chinese-speaking lawyer. According to their websites, DTL Law OfficesKrisana Borvornluck Law & Accounting Office and Suriyaphan Solicitors and Advocates also offer legal consultation in Chinese. Anglo Thai Legal have lawyers covering Mandarin and Cantonese.

Antares/Bangkok Base also employs a Chinese-speaking lawyer who graduated from Thammasat university in Bangkok, allowing them to consult Chinese clients on accounting and taxation issues in their native language. For other firms you can also ask around on the Chinese expat forum.

Greek

Tilleke & Gibbins employs at least one Greek-speaking lawyer.

Italian

Tilleke & Gibbins employs at least one Italian-speaking lawyer. Another law firm I saw mentioned positively is the Italian-managed Legal and Commercial Services International. According to their website, The Social Lawyers provide legal assistance in Italian as well.

Japanese

Baker & MckenzieSiam City Law International and Tilleke & Gibbins each employ at least one Japanese-speaking lawyer.

Pashto

Anglo Thai Legal employs at least one Pashto-speaking lawyer.

Russian

In general, a lot of Russian-speaking lawyers are located outside of Bangkok.

There’s a Ukrainian lawyer who runs a personal blog on law issues in Thailand who is also a shareholder and director of a law firm in Chonburi which seems to cater primarily to Russian-speaking clients.

The very well regarded ILO in Phuket and Hughes Krupica (see their full description under ‘Phuket Lawyers’) both offer consultations in Russian.

Spanish

Lorenz & Partners, Respondek & Fan as well as Tilleke & Gibbins each employ at least one Spanish-speaking lawyer.

Urdu

Anglo Thai Legal employs at least one Urdu-speaking lawyer.

Vietnamese

Anglo Thai Legal employs at least one Vietnamese-speaking lawyer.

Additional Resources

I hope this provides you with a rough starting point when trying to determine which law firms to contact, call and meet. In practice it most likely depends on your specific issue and how well you get along with the lawyer handling your case on which firm would be the best choice. In case you want to do some homework before you get in touch with them, you can read up on this Thailand lawyer guide and familiarize yourself with a number of peculiarities in regards to legal issues in Thailand.

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