We are on a journey to deconstruct
how we practise law
What we do
Redesigning corporate legal vehicles for competitiveness in a world with new expectations
Helping thought leaders think about ESG better, aligning intelligence with purpose
Strengthening civil society groups and NGOs for higher performance
Corporate & Commercial Work
Advising on corporate structures; negotiating and preparing commercial agreements
Building multi-party, cross-sectorial partnerships for positive impact
Projects for the furtherance of human aspirations which do not fit within traditional categories
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We are a sustainable development law firm. We help leaders and change makers bring about positive change. In doing so, we also work on becoming better versions of ourselves.
Kiu & Co.'s purpose is to make progress on sustainable development. This is our raison d'être.
This is premised upon the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The 17 SDGs are the world's best plan to build a better world for people and the planet by 2030.
Sustainable development refers to development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It also means development that leaves no one behind.
We are designed as a for-purpose law firm. Our why governs what we do and how we do it.
As this firm exists to serve a purpose larger than itself, revenue generation is subordinate to this purpose. This is not to say that financial stability isn't a priority. In fact, it is particularly challenging to take the narrow path. This speaks more of the importance of the purpose we serve and our understanding that it is important to have clarity of our priorities.
Hence, the firm's secondary purpose is to provide financial security for our people through carrying out work that serves the firm's stated purpose. We undertake conventional legal work on the condition that it is consistent with our purpose and values.
This completely outlines our firm's agenda.
Accountability by purpose
We are developing an accountability framework so that all our stakeholders - our internal team, clients, collaborators and more - can use our purpose statement to help us to say what we mean and mean what we say.
Our intentional articulation of purpose is borne out of our awareness of our place in the world.
About Kiu Jia Yaw
Jia Yaw was called to the Malaysian Bar in 2004.
He works on systemic change and institutional and policy reforms, particularly in enhancing public participation, purpose-orientated business and climate and environmental justice.
Jia Yaw is a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia. He is a member of the team presently developing the National Planetary Health Action Plan.
He is the co-chair of the Malaysian CSO-SDG Alliance, a cross-thematic network of more than 90 civil society organisations working towards achieving the SDGs. The Alliance is a partner to the Government of Malaysia with regard to the SDGs, recently working with the Ministry of Economy in the development of the Malaysian SDG Roadmap (Phase II) and mid-term review of the 12th Malaysian Plan in relation to ESG.
He is a resource person to the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Malaysia on the Sustainable Development Goals (APPGM-SDG) which was established by Parliament to help Malaysia achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through the localisation of the goals at the constituency level.
He serves on the Bar Council Environment and Climate Change Committee which advises the Malaysian Bar Council in matters related to the environment and climate change. He also serves on the ESG Committee of the Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KLSCCCI).
Combining lateral thinking with a cross-sectorial perspective, Jia Yaw advises consultants, policy makers, lawyers, businesses, social enterprises, non-profits and government bodies on a range of issues related to sustainable development.
He was a Chevening Scholar, having read a master's degree in environmental law (LL.M.) at SOAS, University of London.
His trivial pursuits include coffee and mechanical keyboards.
Kiu Jia Yaw FASc
LL.B. (Hons), LL.M.
Kiu & Co.
Member, ESG Committee,
Here is my lens. Climate change, air pollution and various other challenges we face today are the result of organised irresponsibility (borrowing from Ulrich Beck). They are the consequences of the de-prioritisation of environmental concerns and human rights in our legacy systems formed over the decades in the pursuit of our more primal needs. Our most urgent agenda today is to transition from exploitative development to sustainable development. The blueprint for that is outlined in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals all nations have pledged to achieve.
In our complex world, lawyers are like modern day alchemists. Ultimately, we can either reinforce old world systems or help build better ones. Realising I needed a purpose-built organisation and platform, I set up Kiu & Co. in 2020.
Our work here involves deconstructing the social constructs in our existing systems, identifying their essence, aligning them with our values, needs and possibilities today, and rebuilding everything into better components and systems.
My approach at the macro level (societal), is to focus on intentional cross-sector collaborations. Inter-sectoral encounters unlock possibilities and break down assumptions and anxieties about the unknown. Simultaneously, it allows the interacting actors to exercise underutilised muscles, become comfortable with vulnerability and build trust with each other. As that happens, our civic space expands, which in turn encourages more participation on issues that involve everyone (and a re-democratisation of the political). As actors weave themselves into the fabric of community, society becomes more resilient. A robust civic space is our antidote to the "banality of evil" (to borrow from Hannah Arendt) confronting our generation.
At the micro level (organisational), I work on alternative designs to the conventional corporate vehicle. The joint stock corporate design that brought us here, will not get us there. Entrepreneurs building business enterprises that seek to solve our challenges today need better legal vehicles that are anchored to their purpose and mission, not the legacy design that is chained to shareholder primacy. Simple as it may appear, a re-prioritisation of purpose in corporate legal design is linked to a wide array of essential things, at the micro level and the macro - including providing the scaffolding for value-rich civic engagement.
Legal work provides the fascinating opportunity to look at systemic structures and their dynamic relationships with people and organisations. My journey has led me to work with people and organisations changing things up in the private, public and third sectors.
If these themes resonate with you, I'd love to hear from you.