Domestic lawyers and law firms are less effective than those from many other countries, according to a report presented to a conference held by the Ministry of Justice in Ho Chi Minh City on October 10.

The conference addressed the implementation of the revised Law on Lawyers and the strategy to develop the profession by 2020.

According to the ministry's General Department of Judicial Assistance, by mid-September this year, 11,285 lawyers had been granted work licences. There were also 3,408 law firms in the country.

So far this year, the lawyers have handled more than 70,000 cases and produced a total income of 70 billion VND (3.3 million USD). Meanwhile, 400 foreign lawyers and 67 foreign law firms have handled 4,000 cases with a total income of 700 billion VND (33.3 million USD).

This shows that foreign law firms are operating more effectively, according to the department.

The conference also noted the large gap in the distribution of lawyers in Vietnam. Most work in Hanoi and HCM City and there are few in rural areas.

It was reported that many localities did not even have three legal people to set up a local bar association.

Participants at the conference agreed that many bar associations did not have the funds to operate, and some lawyers lacked professional or foreign language skills.

They urged the Vietnam Bar Federation to cooperate with the Ministry of Justice to establish a training centre for lawyers in international economic integration.

The Government wants to achieve a rate of one lawyer for every 4,500 people. At the moment, the rate is one lawyer for every 14,000 people, much lower than in regional countries such as Thailand (1/1,526), Singapore (1/1,000) and Japan (1/4,546).

By 2020, the country is expected to have 30 law firms, each with 50 to 100 lawyers.-VNA