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.

Singapore Business Review - - RANKING: LAW FIRMS -

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

Tremen­dous prospects

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

Jaa­far, Az­man

There were tremen­dous prospects in the re­gion as well as those aris­ing from tech­nol­ogy and so­cio-eco­nomic changes.

New Me­di­a­tion Act will make in­ter­na­tional com­mer­cial set­tle­ments more en­force­able

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