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Singapore > International arbitration > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. International arbitration
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Brandon Bang - Shearman & Sterling LLP
    • Robert Kirkness - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Kristine Koh - Oon & Bazul LLP
    • Wei Xian Kelvin Teo - Cavenagh Law LLP
    • Daniel Waldek - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
    • Henry Winter - Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee

Who Represents Who

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Clifford Chance has a large team, including four partners who have a significant focus on international arbitration. The Singapore team has a wide geographic footprint with a notably strong record in commercial arbitration, construction and infrastructure disputes, and investment treaty cases. The department is especially noted for its β€˜commercially minded’ approach and experience in cases involving India, Indonesia, Thailand and Indochina. Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are now a regular source of instructions, particularly in disputes connected to projects. Through its formal law alliance with Cavenagh Law LLP, the firm and its lawyers are able to appear in Singapore’s domestic courts in injunctive relief cases, enforcement proceedings and challenges against arbitral awards. Paul Sandosham is identified as a β€˜star’ and a β€˜master tactician’, who is β€˜never afraid to take on difficult issues’; he is highlighted for his ability in infrastructure and construction cases. With a strong restructuring background, Nish Shetty has a β€˜niche in India-related matters’, and is β€˜extremely good with clients’ and at β€˜managing big teams in complex matters’. Harpreet Singh Nehal SC is also recommended, as is Kabir Singh, who is β€˜exceptionally hardworking and fantastically bright’, and β€˜knows the β€œins and outs” of international arbitration better than most’.

The β€˜very well-established’ and β€˜very successful’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a β€˜breadth of coverage’ with top arbitration professionals around the Asia Pacific region. The practice has experienced growth in investor-state disputes and public international law issues. It represents a range of multinationals, especially in the oil and gas, power and infrastructure sectors. Cases connected to Indonesia continue to dominate the practice, followed by Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Elsewhere, the firm advised Kot Addu Power Company (KAPCO), the Pakistani listed power producer, on a dispute with The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) relating to WAPDA’s payment defaults under a power purchase agreement and imposition of liquidated damages. The team is praised for its β€˜first-rate’ work and ability to β€˜out-manoeuvre’ the other side. The immensely experienced Alastair Henderson, who is β€˜excellent’ and β€˜accomplished’, has been in the region for nearly 20 years and leads a team of largely south-east Asian nationals.

King & Spalding LLP has a large senior team and expertise across energy, oil and gas, construction and infrastructure, and investor-state disputes. The β€˜extremely good practice’ handles β€˜the greatest depth of cases and has the broadest arbitration practice’ in Singapore, according to some. It has a mix of civil and common law practitioners and β€˜works well with other offices’ in the network. Recent work saw the team represent Shell in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Philippines relating to the allocation of petroleum revenues earned by Shell. Deputy head of the firm’s global arbitration practice and energy sector specialist Wade Coriell transferred to the Singapore office from Houston in 2016, following John Savage’s move to London; Savage maintains β€˜a position of authority in the Singapore market’ and is a regular visitor. Elodie Dulac provides a mix of common and civil law expertise and has a good record in Indonesia disputes, and Simon Dunbar provides additional commercial and energy arbitration expertise.

Allen & Gledhill LLP is recommended for β€˜complex commercial matters’. Co-head of litigation and dispute resolution Andrew Yeo is a big name in the sector, as are Dinesh Dhillon and Chong Boon Leong. Chong Yee Leong is co-head of international arbitration and is recommended for construction and infrastructure cases, an area where the firm is especially active. Peh Aik Hin is a rising star, and Chua Kee Loon is β€˜quick minded’, β€˜creative’ and a β€˜strategic thinker’.

Allen & Overy has an impressive record in investment treaty cases, acting for both investors and states. In this regard, the β€˜amazing’ Judith Gill QC has made a real impression on the market since relocating from London to Singapore in 2015; she has represented the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in a number of arbitration proceedings, including a multibillion-dollar investment treaty claim brought by Turkish company Karkey Karadeniz. Moreover, she worked alongside Hong Kong partner Matthew Gearing QC to represent Baggerwerken Decloedt En Zoon in ICSID proceedings against the Republic of Philippines for breach of its obligations under a bilateral investment treaty (BIT). Andrew Battisson was promoted to partner in 2016, while Andrew Pullen joined Fountain Court Chambers in 2017.

Drew & Napier LLC has emerged as a genuinely formidable player in the international arbitration scene, and is praised for its β€˜management of expectations’ and β€˜value for money’. The strength of its practice and the eminence of its senior team members has led it to be engaged in a series of major arbitrations, including a number of investor-state disputes. The firm represented the government of Laos in a challenge to an international arbitral tribunal’s ruling that a Macau-based investor may bring expropriation claims, valued at some $900m, against the state under a BIT between Laos and the People’s Republic of China (PRC); lead partner on the case Cavinder Bull SC is a β€˜fabulous lawyer’, β€˜a big name’, a β€˜very astute lawyer on strategy and law’ and his β€˜experience is invaluable’. Davinder Singh SC is another outstanding advocate, Jimmy Yim SC is commended for his β€˜advocacy skills and in-depth knowledge’, and Foo Yuet Min is making an impression.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s practice is largely centred on investor-state disputes with a healthy remainder of commercial arbitrations and a growing number of construction cases. The team is β€˜distinctive in its outstanding legal precision and clarity of its work, the depth and sophistication of its strategic analysis and advice, and its high success rate’; for some, it is β€˜simply the best for complex cases’. Clients include a number of sovereign states, Japanese trading houses and oil and gas companies; the government of Japan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), ConocoPhillips, General Motors and BP feature on the roster, for example. It represented Eurus Energy Holdings (a subsidiary of the Toyota Group) in an ICSID Energy Charter Treaty claim against Spain linked to Spain’s changes to its renewables tariff regime; this was only the third known investment treaty claim brought by a Japanese company. The department is led by β€˜very good advocate’ Nicholas Lingard, who has β€˜very broad and extensive arbitration experience’ and is widely recognised for his investor-state arbitration expertise, as is Robert Kirkness, who is β€˜strategic and commercial in his approach’, and β€˜highly personable, accessible and a pleasure to work with’. On the construction side, Erin Miller Rankin splits her time between Singapore and Dubai and has β€˜very deep knowledge of her field’.

Norton Rose Fulbright is especially prominent in intra-Asia cases, particularly those linked to power projects, oil and gas transactions, and joint ventures. The firm has a range of solid corporate relationships, such as NestlΓ© and Royal Brunei Airlines, with department head KC Lye maintaining a strong reputation. Illustrious arbitration practitioner and former department head Guy Spooner left the firm, while Katie Chung has been promoted to of counsel. Fellow of counsel Daniel Perera specialises in commodity and LNG disputes. The firm regularly collaborates with Singapore dispute resolution boutique Ascendant Legal LLC, where Darius Chan and Kei-Jin Chew are recommended.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP’s breadth of practice ranges from investor-state disputes to major infrastructure cases. Clients include the Republic of the Philippines, Kingdom of Lesotho, Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production, GD Media and China New Machine Company. The firm represented the Republic of Philippines in arbitration proceedings before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in a dispute over claims of breach of contract relating to income taxes brought by Chevron and Shell. It also acted for the Philippines in proceedings before the Permanent Court of Arbitration over claims brought by Maynilad Water Services, a domestic water and public utilities company. Paul Tan is an β€˜absolute star’ and a β€˜senior counsel in waiting’, whose status has ascended for him to be β€˜known outside Asia as a first-rate lawyer’ in investor-state disputes right through to construction cases. Francis Xavier SC and Andre Yeap SC are also recommended.

WongPartnership LLP handles an impressive volume of commercial arbitration work and is building its profile in investor-state and investment treaty disputes. The firm represented Swissbourgh Diamond Mines in an investment treaty arbitration against the Kingdom of Lesotho concerning the cancellation and expropriation of diamond mining licenses in Lesotho. Team members are β€˜best in class’, β€˜very professional’, β€˜equipped with excellent legal logic’, β€˜acute business understanding’ and an enthusiasm for β€˜litigation strategy’. Alvin Yeo SC is a genuine market leader, who is β€˜incredibly smart’ and has a true international profile. Other key names include Andre Maniam SC, Tan Chee Meng SC and infrastructure and construction specialist Christopher Chuah. Chan Hock Keng and Wendy Lin have β€˜sharp analytical skills’ and Smitha Menon is a β€˜good young partner’.

Ashurst LLP is especially prominent in infrastructure and construction disputes, though with the presence of Singapore managing partner Ronnie King, the firm has additional energy, oil and gas, and natural resources expertise at a senior level. The team has a particularly strong record in Indonesia disputes and acts for a number of major Japanese construction companies; other clients include Leighton Offshore, Murray & Roberts, North-West Shelf, PTT and Total. Rob Palmer is the key infrastructure and construction arbitration specialist, who is a regular in SIAC proceedings.

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow handles a mix of commercial, infrastructure and construction, and energy and natural resources cases. The team has a formidable regional presence with an excellent record in disputes involving Indonesia and other key South-East Asia jurisdictions. Nandakumar Ponniya is recommended for construction and infrastructure cases and Andy Leck is noted for commercial and intellectual property disputes.

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore is β€˜consistently outstanding’ and is especially well known for arbitrations involving parties from India, Indonesia, China and Korea. Cases linked to the insurance, shipping, infrastructure and construction, and international trade and commodities sectors are a particular strength of the firm. Clients include CRW Joint Operation (Indonesia), Wyndham Worldwide, Hilton Worldwide and Banyan Tree. The firm also has a local litigation capability to support the arbitration practice. Prakash Pillai is a leader in India disputes, along with Sapna Jhangiani, while Eugene Tan is recommended for construction cases. June Yeum has a fine record in infrastructure and construction disputes for Korean clients.

Dechert has an impressive market share of major energy and natural resources disputes, thanks in part to the presence of β€˜innovative’ and β€˜hands-on’ partner Mark Mangan, who β€˜has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the SIAC rules and Singapore arbitration practice’. Mangan has represented ExxonMobil for many years and the Singapore office’s wider client base includes SK Engineering & Construction, PetroVietnam, Rio Tinto and TWC Ventures. The team is engaged in a growing number of construction disputes and has an impressive record in investor-state cases, including for both investor and state clients.

The β€˜responsive and reliable’ team at Dentons Rodyk has a strong presence in infrastructure cases and joint venture disputes, and it has leveraged its formidable shipping practice to build a fine practice in international commodities and trade arbitration. As part of a growing international firm, the Singapore practice has also experienced a significant uptick in China-related cases, especially those involving Chinese contractors. The β€˜responsive, reliable and clear-thinking’ Philip Jeyaretnam SC has renowned advocacy skills that are frequently used in cases where arbitration awards are challenged. Lawrence Teh is noted for shipping and trade disputes, as is Ajinderpal Singh and China specialist Foo Maw Shen.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP handles an impressive mix of construction cases, commercial disputes, and public international law and investment treaty work. According to some, it has β€˜the leading public international law practice in Singapore’ thanks to the presence of senior figure Rodman Bundy. The team represents a range of local SMEs, multinational companies and state entities. Clients include Himalaya International, the government of India and the government of Timor-Leste. The Singapore team represented Himalaya International in a SIAC arbitration concerning a breach of a shareholder agreement relating to agricultural produce in India. It also acted for the government of India in a case brought by the government of Italy under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee continues to forge ahead following the hire of Kent Phillips from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP in 2016, where he was the global head of international arbitration. The practice is focused on energy, mining, infrastructure and financial services matters, and has seen a growing number of instructions from Japanese trading houses and US businesses that have disputes in the South-East Asia region; clients include General Electric, Marubeni, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Samsung E&C and Standard Chartered. Indonesia and Vietnam are key markets, followed by the Philippines and Malaysia. Head of the South-East Asia dispute resolution practice Maurice Burke provides further firepower to the international arbitration practice, as does the firm’s wider Asia Pacific and global arbitration team.

The β€˜top-notch’ team at Jones Day is recognised for construction arbitration, acting for a range of North Asia, US and Australian clients. The arrival of counsel Zachary Sharpe in 2016 has helped expand the team’s work on behalf of Korean contractors, particularly in mainstream construction and offshore marine construction. The Singapore team has also experienced growth in joint venture and M&A disputes in the oil and gas sector and has appeared in a series of ICSID proceedings. Clients include Chevron, Duro Felguera, Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Jacobs Engineering Group. Matthew Skinner β€˜can deal with big-picture strategic matters’ and β€˜has an excellent network’.

The β€˜learned team’ at K&L Gates has seen significant growth in cases involving corruption, fraud and compliance, and is also known for power disputes, particularly those involving India. The β€˜truly impressive’ Ashish Chugh is β€˜very incisive and a go-to lawyer in Singapore’ thanks to his ability to β€˜get to the crux of the problem quickly’ and offer β€˜advice that is sensible and commercially viable’; one client reports that β€˜he was able to effectively outflank the other side throughout arbitral proceedings’. Raja Bose and construction specialist Glenn Cheng, who covers both front-end matters and disputes, are also prominent figures. Associate Andrea Utasy Clark is a β€˜rising star’, β€˜very hardworking, clever and easy to work with’.

Mayer Brown JSM is making an impression in the international arbitration space, especially following the lateral hire of the high-profile and immensely experienced Yu-Jin Tay from DLA Piper in 2017; clients praise his β€˜deep understanding of the industry’, his β€˜strong intellectual interest in arbitration’, his β€˜open mind and willingness to listen’. The Singapore practice is β€˜excellent, creative and on the ball’ and covers a range of Asia-related cases for Asian and international clients. Much of the case list is linked to Japanese, Korean and Chinese business operating in the construction and infrastructure, energy and natural resources sectors. The Singapore team works closely with the firm’s large Hong Kong office and other offices around the global network, including investment treaty arbitration specialists in Paris.

Pinsent Masons MPillay has a fine regional practice with strengths in infrastructure, energy and technology cases. The firm is especially known for representing North Asian contractors and a number of Singapore government agencies. With the launch of the firm’s Australian offices, the Singapore office has also experienced growth in further infrastructure, mining and resources cases. Jon Howes has an extensive record in arbitration, Nicholas Brown represents a variety of Japanese contractors and Mohan Pillay provides the court expertise for injunctions and the enforcement of arbitration awards. Pillay is a β€˜very detailed individual with strong management and interpersonal skills’.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a fast-growing arbitration practice, focused primarily on oil and gas assets, shipbuilding, commodity disputes and aviation cases. The firm has a significant market share of disputes relating to FPSOs and drillships, oil field licenses and production sharing contracts. Its client base consists of oil and gas companies, charterers, FPSO equipment suppliers, FPSO owners, shipbuilders, shipowners and commodity traders. Marcus Gordon and Dan Thompson are well-established figures within the Singapore arbitration scene.

White & Case Pte. Ltd. has an impressive mix of Japanese and Korean clients that it frequently represents in big-ticket energy and construction-related arbitrations. Matthew Secomb is a β€˜rising star’ having established himself in the market since relocating to Singapore from Paris in 2015. Aloke Ray transferred to London in 2016, though remains actively involved in South-East Asia cases.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP reinvigorated its international arbitration practice in 2017 with the hire of experienced Asia-hand Gavin Margetson from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and the relocation of construction and infrastructure specialist James Clarke from the London office to Singapore. They link up with prominent counsel Roger Milburn, who is β€˜very attentive and detail-oriented’, and β€˜very good at producing quality work under pressure’. The Singapore office represents a number of Japanese and Korean contractors and is best known for construction and engineering arbitrations.

Braddell Brothers LLP has demonstrated genuine commitment to the arbitration field with regular engagements in cases under SIAC, ICC and UNCITRAL rules. Arbitration cases now accounts for at least 50% of the firm’s sizeable dispute resolution practice. Edmund Kronenburg has a fine reputation in Singapore and throughout South-East Asia; he frequently sits as an arbitrator in Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. He also acts for a range of regional and international clients in SIAC and other arbitral venues.

CMS is a strong choice for construction, general commercial and technology disputes. Jeremie Witt relocated to Singapore from Dubai in 2017 to reinforce the firm’s standing in the construction space. Work highlights saw the team represent a number of international oil and gas companies, a range of construction contractors (including Korean contractors) and a variety of substantial Asian corporates. Steven Lim is very much part of the Singapore arbitration fabric and counsel Asya Jamaludin is an emerging talent in offshore construction matters.

HFW Singapore LLP has an impressive standing in shipping, trade and commodities, non-marine insurance, and energy and resources disputes. The Singapore team has experienced growth in oil and gas cases and represents a number of major oil companies and subsidiaries of Chinese state-owned oil entities. Paul Aston has the β€˜ability to see issues and provide roadmaps for resolution’ and has a β€˜commitment and ability to understand and deal with complex technical issues and work with experts’. Chris Swart is recommended for commodities disputes and Chanaka Kumarasinghe is noted for energy and offshore oil and gas arbitrations.

JLC Advisors LLP has a well-developed arbitration practice in Singapore, handling a healthy influx of commodity contract disputes and joint venture and partnership cases. The β€˜very knowledgeable and responsive’ team has an impressive record in disputes emanating from Indonesia, and a large number of Japanese and Korean clients thanks to the presence of Japanese and Korean nationals in the team. Shem Khoo is the key partner in the practice, while counsel and β€˜effective advocate’ Dan Tan is well known in Singapore, despite being primarily based in the US. The arrival of the β€˜quality and responsive’ Mark Tan from Asia Practice LLC in 2016 further enhanced the practice. Senior associate Nichol Yeo is β€˜attentive’ and β€˜sharp’.

Linklaters has been building its arbitration presence in Singapore since Jelita Pandjaitan relocated there from Hong Kong in 2014. Much of the practice is connected to Indonesia with the team working closely with its Hong Kong office and Jarkarta-based alliance firm Widyawan & Partners on a regular basis. The Singapore office is widely noted for its expertise in energy and resources; it represents a range of major oil and gas players, particularly in disputes connected to production-sharing contracts, joint ventures and divestments.

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC lost key player Timothy Cooke to Stephenson Harwood LLP, but remains noted for shipping and insurance disputes. It also handles construction, restructuring and insolvency matters. The team represented resort developer Bonaventure (Maldives) in an arbitration brought by its contractor Keong Hong Construction over the building contract. Wendy Tan is recommended for shipping disputes and Justyn Jagger for insurance cases. Kelvin Aw is another key name.

Oon & Bazul LLP has particular expertise in shipping and maritime cases, general commercial arbitration, and oil and gas disputes. The firm represents a number of significant Japanese clients in big-ticket cases and benefits from its Singapore court experience for ancillary orders, enforcement of arbitral awards and other arbitration-related litigation. Suresh Divyanathan heads the arbitration practice.

RPC Premier Law is recommended for insurance, reinsurance, marine and offshore energy, international trade, and general commercial arbitrations. Siraj Omar leads the team, which includes Mark Errington, Iain Anderson, See Chern Yang and Jonathan Wood.

Reed Smith LLP has demonstrated a real commitment to arbitration in Singapore with particular experience in shipping and maritime, international trade, and energy and natural resources cases. Calvin Chan and Kohe Hasan are key names in the team, which represents a number of Singapore-listed companies and South-East Asia corporates.

The team at Shearman & Sterling LLP is β€˜very responsive’ and β€˜commercial’, has a β€˜strong business sense’, is β€˜excellent in its legal analysis’, provides β€˜workable and efficient advice in light of clients’ best interests’, and has an β€˜outstanding track record’. The firm consistently impresses in energy and investment treaty arbitrations. Clients include Cairn Energy, Areva, Atlas Power and Sonatrach. Daryl Chew displays a β€˜solid understanding’ of cases and provides β€˜valuable strategic input’. He is also β€˜personable, professional and industrious, β€˜an asset to the firm’ and β€˜able to provide creative solutions to complicated issues’. Emmanuel Jacomy, who splits his time between Beijing and Singapore, was promoted to the partnership in January 2017, and associate Brandon Bang is β€˜outstanding’ and β€˜his work product is immaculate’.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP has a sizeable arbitration practice with a particularly fine standing in financial services disputes. The team routinely appears in arbitral venues throughout the Asia Pacific region. It recently acted for FTI, the receivers of a number of related companies, in resisting an effort to set aside an arbitration award connected to the financing of a resort project in Thailand. Sarjit Singh Gill SC is a big name in arbitration. Former partner Edmund Eng has left the firm to establish Fullerton Law Chambers LLC .

Stephenson Harwood LLP is noted for shipping, trade and commodities, and oil and gas disputes. The Singapore office has developed a client base of impressive regional clients and investors going into markets such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines and other developing economies. β€˜Good operator’ Timothy Cooke, who has an especially strong record in Indonesia disputes, joined the firm in June 2017 from Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC to reinforce the commercial arbitration side of the practice and Michelle Yong is recommended for shipping arbitration.

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