Publisiti oleh Peguam: Profesionalisme v. Komersialisme (Publicity by Lawyers: Professionalism v. Commercialism)

Harlina Mohamed On

Abstract


Kaedah publisiti yang mengawal profesion guaman di seluruh dunia secara tradisinya mengandungi banyak larangan dan sekatan. Disebabkan amalan guaman dianggap sebagai terhormat dan merupakan suatu bentuk perkhidmatan awam, tradisi melarang peguam mencari klien dan memandang rendah terhadap segala amalan berbentuk komersial dan persaingan di kalangan peguam, lantaran ia dikatakan boleh memudaratkan profesionalisme peguam. Namun begitu, semenjak tiga dekad yang lalu, larangan dan sekatan dalam kaedah publisiti mula diliberal secara beransur-ansur di negara luar seperti Amerika Syarikat, United Kingdom dan Australia, disebabkan ia boleh menghalang kecekapan dan inovasi dalam memasar dan menyediakan perkhidmatan. Makalah ini menelusuri hujah teoritis yang diperdebat di negara luar tersebut berhubung kesan publisiti oleh peguam terhadap profesionalisme. Memandangkan isu ini masih belum diberi perhatian di Malaysia dan kaedah publisiti yang mengawal peguam tempatan masih berada di takuk lama, penulis telah menjalankan soal selidik berkaitan persepsi peguam Malaysia berhubung kesan publisiti terhadap profesionalisme. Dapatan menunjukkan bahawa majoriti peguam Malaysia bersetuju bahawa publisiti oleh peguam tidak akan menjejaskan profesionalisme jika ia dilakukan dalam wadah yang terkawal. Justeru, terdapat keperluan di pihak Majlis Peguam untuk membangunkan kaedah publisitinya dengan lebih konsisten dan mengawal pelaksanaannya agar ia tidak mengorbankan nilai-nilai profesionalisme.

Publicity rules which govern the legal profession around the world traditionally involve many prohibitions and restrictions. As traditions regarded the practice of law as dignified and a form of public service, it forbade lawyers from seeking clients and looked down on all forms of commercial activities and competition among lawyers, as it could jeopardize the lawyers’ professionalism. However, since several decades ago, prohibitions and restrictions in publicity rules have been liberalized gradually in other countries such as United States of America, United Kingdom and Australia, as it can be an impediment to efficiency and innovation in marketing and providing services. This paper explores the theoretical arguments forwarded by such countries in relation to the impact of publicity by lawyers toward professionalism. As this issue has not been discussed yet in Malaysia and the publicity rules which govern the local lawyers are rather archaic, the author carried out a survey pertaining to the perceptions of Malaysian lawyers on the impact of publicity toward professionalism. The findings reveal that majority of the Malaysian lawyers agreed that publicity by lawyers would not affect the professionalism if it is done in a regulated manner. Hence, there is a need for the Bar Council to develop the publicity rules more consistently and to regulate its enforcement so that it would not jeopardize the values of professionalism.


Keywords


Legal profession; traditions; publicity rules; professionalism; commercialism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/ajag-2012-3-6520

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