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Myanmar > Foreign desks > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

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  2. Leading individuals
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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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    • Josh Htet - Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd

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Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd’s ‘outstanding’ team includes Hong Kong-based practice head and ‘great commercial lawyer’ Simon Makinson, who has ‘a deep understanding of South East Asia’s business and political context’, and Bangkok-based Stephen Jaggs, a ‘great projects lawyer whose expertise on power is unparalleled’. The firm advised the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and government entities on the full international suite of documentation for the Myingyang IPP and acted for Telenor on the legal issues surrounding the rollout of its telecoms network in Myanmar. In terms of local personnel, the group can rely on associate and ‘rising star’ Josh Htet, while associate Sarah Wilson, who clients describe as ‘strong on power’, works from the Bangkok office. Senior associate Chris Burkett divides his time between Bangkok and Yangon and is also a name to note.

Nathan Dodd sits at the helm of Mayer Brown JSM’s Southeast Asia projects group, which was recently bolstered by the arrival of counsel Sean Prior from Ashurst LLP and Bangkok-based associate Akemi Kishimoto from DFDL. The practice has particular strength in power infrastructure projects; Dodd and banking specialist Benjamin Thompson acted for the lenders to Sembcorp with regards to its mandate to procure and operate the Myingyang gas-fired project. However, the team also has substantial capabilities in the telecoms space, where Thompson advised the Asian Development Bank and the IFC on loans extended to Ooredoo in connection with the expansion of its mobile services network in Myanmar. Other key clients include Clifford Capital, Toyo-Thai Power and Marubeni. All individuals mentioned are based in Singapore.

The ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright has recently recruited as of counsel ‘excellent and extremely experienced telecoms practitioner’ David Olds, who was formerly based in Yangon as legal director for Ooredoo. The group is spearheaded from the Singapore office by Yu-En Ong, who has significant expertise in banking and finance matters, and acts for clients such as Daewoo, Standard Chartered Bank and the International Finance Corporation. In recent highlights, of counsel Janelene Chen assisted Ong with the upsizing of a loan by FMO and a group of foreign investors which was originally granted to Irrawaddy Towers for the construction of 2000 telecoms towers; and of counsel Laurie Pearson was part of the team assisting Daewoo with its bid for the Shwe Tuang gas-fired independent power project. Sheela Moorthy also teamed up with Ong to counsel Abax Global Capital on a facility agreement with Hyalroute Communication Group for the rollout of telecoms infrastructure in Cambodia and Myanmar. All mentioned individuals are based in the Singapore office.

The Myanmar practice at DLA Piper is headed by Myles Hankin from Singapore with the support of infrastructure expert Alex Guy, who sits in the Brisbane office, and consultant Mohammed Rakinul Hakim, who has significant experience in handling commercial and regulatory issues in Bangkok. The group’s recent workload includes some significant matters in the hospitality and leisure space, as shown by Guy’s current advice to a construction contractor with regards to the Peninsula Yangon hotel project and the Landmark project. Hakim is acting for a pro bono client in the incorporation of one of its branch offices and recently assisted a client with the legal terms and conditions arising from the setting up of a Southeast Asian ship tour.

The Myanmar group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is headed by Robert Ashworth, who sits in the Hong Kong office and specialises in M&A and private equity work. In recent highlights, a cross-office team led from Ho Chi Minh and New York acted for OPIC as lender on the financing of cell tower infrastructure projects for Apollo Towers in Myanmar. Don Stokes, who is based in Ho Chi Minh City, led the advice to Viettel, a Vietnamese military telecoms company, on its joint venture with two Burmese companies to invest a combined $1.7bn into Myanmar’s telecoms sector. Disputes specialist William Robinson sits in Hong Kong and recently represented a telecoms company considering supplying services and equipment to a joint venture operating in Myanmar in due diligence and risk analysis with regards to the potential repercussions of the transaction under US sanctions law.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP showcases ‘a strong team with on-the-ground experience in Myanmar’ which clients note for being ‘responsive, business-oriented and overall excellent’. The ‘commercially aware’ David Clinch’s ‘knowledge of the region is second to none’; he works alongside senior associate Sally Austen, who provides ‘excellent analysis and sound advice’. Group head Brian Scott advised Puma Energy on all aspects of its expansion into Myanmar, including joint venture agreements with MPPE and Asia Sun Energy. Other highlights included assisting Edotco with its acquisition of a further 12.5% interest in Myanmar Tower Company from YSH Finance under the leadership of Mark Robinson, who also counselled on the group financing debt facilities and release of existing facilities acquired through the transaction. Other names to note include senior associate Guillaume Stafford, who is based in Yangon full-time on secondment with a local firm and has broad experience in the corporate space. All individuals named are based in Singapore unless otherwise stated.

At Stephenson Harwood LLP, Tom Platts and of counsel Helen Rhind-Hufnagel impress clients through their ‘professional demeanour and ability to instil great confidence’. The team has a strong track record advising the government on highly-regulated transactions across a broad range of industries and recently opened an office in Yangon. Associate Kyaw Zin Htet teamed up with Platts and Rhind-Hufnagel to advise Myanmar Investments International on its investment in Apollo Tower. Other highlights included assisting the Campana Group with its sub-sea fibre optic cable project linking Myanmar to Thailand and Malaysia, and advising Myanmar Red Dot Network, a subsidiary of Digicel, on the rollout of its electronic transaction payment processing service across Myanmar. All individuals mentioned work from Singapore unless otherwise stated.

Ashurst’s six-partner Myanmar group has particular strength in the energy and telecoms infrastructure space through its group leaders Matthew Rickards and Andrew Digges, who are based in Tokyo and Singapore, respectively. Another name to note in Singapore is Daniel Reinbott; he heads the firm’s Southeast Asia energy and natural resources team and recently advised an international oil company on its proposed acquisition of a competitor’s interest in offshore blocks, as well as providing ongoing advice to Total E&P with regards to its upstream oil and gas operations in Myanmar. Oher highlights included acting for Karpowership on its successful bid for the supply of power to the Yangon region for a period of five years (also handling the negotiations of offtake agreements with state-owned Electric Power Generation Enterprise), and advising Mitsui, with Rickards leading, on its acquisition of a 44% stake in Myanmar Power.

At Hunton & Williams, Edward Koehler works across energy and infrastructure projects, cross-border financing matters and M&A transactions. Stephen Bennett is also active in the telecoms, energy and petrochemical spaces, and Manida Zinmerman is the name to note for class action litigation, as well as civil and commercial disputes. All individuals mentioned are based in Bangkok.

Clients note King & Spalding for its ‘experience and expertise’, and the ‘precise and sensible’ Tokyo-based managing partner John McClenahan is lauded for his ‘strong knowledge and substantial experience in the oil and gas space’. In Singapore, Richard Nelson was part of the team advising Daewoo on the issues arising from the proposed expansion and operation of the Shwe Tuang gas power project. He also led a cross-office team assisting Daewoo with the development of gas reserves in offshore Myanmar. In other highlights, the team is currently acting for a foreign client on the acquisition of a stake in an offshore gas field, and is advising an association of shipping companies on the establishment of a logistics base to service the oil and gas industry in Myanmar.

The Myanmar work at Linklaters is handled from the Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok offices and led by Bangkok’s Wilailuk Okarunak and Wanwisar Nakarat. The group is currently acting for a leading Southeast Asian telecoms client on its proposed acquisition of a nationwide internet service and fibre optic development business in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw; Bank of China also instructed the firm on the financing of a 4500km fibre optic development project in Myanmar. In other highlights the team assisted the Japan Bank for International Cooperation with its investment in the Japan ASEAN Women Empowerment Fund which aims to provide debt to microfinance institutions in target regions in Myanmar and other South East Asian regions, and advised Bangkok Bank Public on opening its Yangon branch. Counsel Adrian Fisher has a particular expertise in communications and technology law and is a key contact in the Singapore office alongside corporate partner Niranjan Arasaratnam.

Singapore’s Giles Kennedy heads Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s Myanmar offering and has significant experience in advising clients on finance and corporate matters in the telecoms, energy and natural resources, and infrastructure sectors. On the transactional side, the group advised an independent provider of passive telecoms infrastructure on the potential sale of all of its equity, while on the projects front, Singapore-based associate James McFarlane worked with Kennedy to act for a telecoms infrastructure company on its agreement with a partially state-owned mobile communications service provider to construct towers.

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