Regional demand provides opportunities for law firms
Notable changes happened in 2016, including the setting up of a unified One Judiciary IT Steering Committee and the Technology Blueprint for courts.
As 2016 unfolded, Singapore’s largest law firms saw their international clients shifting their focus on winning in Southeast Asia and the larger Asia Pacific region. Stuttering economic growth and surprising global events in the past year convinced more clients to seek cross-border advice from local firms, and leverage on the latter’s regional expertise to ride out the uncertainty.
“There was a greater demand for advice on cross-border debt restructuring as clients sought to deal with the economic headwinds,” says K Anparasan, partner at Withers Khattarwong. “Surprises presented by global events in the past year, such as the outcomes of the UK’S Brexit referendum and the US elections, also contributed to an increase in demand for cross-border advice.” He adds, “Clients with investments overseas, or plans to invest overseas, are increasingly looking for international law firms with a strong local presence and expertise in the jurisdictions they are investing in.”
In response to a client landscape that placed greater value in regional prowess, Khattarwong grew two practices: Corporate and Hotels & Hospitality. The existing corporate team was expanded through the hires of well recognised partners Farhana Siddiqui and Mahesh Kumar in
2016. Khattarwong also expanded their presence in the region with the appointment of the Hotels & Hospitality team. In early 2016, the law firm began with the strategic hire of lawyers specialising in hotels and hospitality in Singapore and Australia, led by Asia Pacific Hotels & Hospitality leader Robert Williams.
Recent milestones for the practice include acting for Marriott International on its appointment to operate the first JW Marriott and
Falling commodity prices and China’s economic slowdown further dampened the outlook in 2016, but clients continued to see opportunities in the region and call for legal and professional services. “There were tremendous prospects in the region as well as those arising from technology and socioeconomic changes,” says
deputy managing partner at RHTLAW Taylor Wessing.
“Our active presence in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) kept us busy since the beginning of the year.”
He cites a few key themes in 2016: Chinese funds looking at mergers and acquisitions activities outside of China, Indonesia’s recent easing of foreign investment restrictions, and Vietnam’s emergence as one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Amongst the sectors, life sciences, technology, and cleantech industries were teeming with opportunities.
Keeping up with these deal trends, RHTLAW Taylor Wessing strengthened their regional crossborder practice through the merger with PBC PARTNERS & RHTLAW to form RHTLAW Taylor Wessing Vietnam, which was launched
There were tremendous prospects in the region as well as those arising from technology and socio-economic changes.
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