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Singapore > Shipping > Shipping – Foreign firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Shipping – Foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

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Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore is commended for its 'deep and wide  knowledge of the shipping industry', 'quick turnaround, very proactive approach and commercially focused advice'. The highly regarded team is led by Asia managing director Ik Wei Chong, who is a key name for insurance and international trade, as well as shipping. The experienced Chris Metcalf has a particular focus on the insurance side of contentious and non-contentious shipping matters and Leon Alexander acts for trading and commodities clients in addition to those in the shipping sector. It advises well-known corporate, trading, insurance and shipping companies and recent work includes acting for a claimant in respect a ship's arrest, a case that was satisfactorily settled before it reached the Court of Appeal. The team also advises on collisions resulting in the damage or loss of cargo. Charmaine Fu and Shi Yi Wong were new arrivals from Ang & Partners in March 2018 and September 2017 respectively.

HFW Singapore LLP's 'top-tier' practice stands out for its industry knowledge. Its expertise spans all aspects of shipping - high-profile, contentious cases, acquisitions and sales of vessels and shipping-related financing. Toby Stephens, who transferred from the firm's London office in August 2017, heads the team and John Forrester, who also relocated from the London office, is a key name on the financing side. The team acts for P&I clubs, commodities houses, shipbuilders, clients in the offshore industries as well as financial institutions. It is handling high-profile cases concerning the grounding or collision of vessels, some of which include serious environmental damage and disputed salvage cases. The team is representing Discovery Drilling in court proceedings and an arbitration concerning an offshore rig. It is also dealing with matters that relate to the alleged breach of sanctions. The team was bolstered by the arrival of senior associate Manik Verma, who joined in August 2017 from  Watson Farley & Williams LLP, and Siri Wennevik, who joined from Wikborg Rein in January 2018. Paul Apostolis departed to join Campbell Johnston Clark Singapore LLP.

Hill Dickinson LLP is 'excellent' across all aspects of wet and dry shipping matters and 'commercially inclined, savvy, experienced and knowledgeable in comparison to other firms'. Experienced duo Tony Goldsmith and Andrew Lee 'seek out commercial solutions'. Sumeet Malhotra, who joined the team in late 2017 from the Noble Group, is noted for 'understanding commercial reality and  finding solutions that make commercial sense rather than lengthy legal routes'. Consultant Chris Quennell is 'first rate'. The team's casualty caseload includes acting for the owners of the LNG tanker Sevilla Knutsen, which was arrested in Singapore following its grounding on a coral reef off the coast of the Federated States of Micronesia; the group negotiated the security for the vessel’s release, which was subject to English law, and is handling related litigation.

Ince's 'skilled' team provides 'prompt' advice. It works with its alliance firm Incisive Law LLC and its global network of offices to provide all-round expertise across contentious and transactional maritime matters. Harry Hirst leads on admiralty work, acting for national and international clients such as shipowners, charterers, leading P&I Clubs and insurers and has handled a number of high-profile marine cases.  Devandran Karunakaran specialises in offshore energy matters and Nicholas Lum handles international trade issues and China-facing work. Maureen Poh is a key name for charterparty disputes, carriage of goods by sea and cargo claims and is 'proactive, clear and fast in analysing specific points'. The team is acting for a client in defence of two arbitrations over the failure to pay for certain cargo, which includes a counterclaim that the shipments were not of the agreed quality. Martin Brown joined Stephenson Harwood LLP in 2018. Managing partner John Simpson has left the firm.

Reed Smith LLP, which has an alliance with Resource Law LLC, 'provides commercially sound advice at a reasonable cost and is able to handle a wide variety of disputes'.  It has well-established expertise in all aspects of wet and dry shipping work together with ship finance and transactional and regulatory matters. It routinely handles charterparty work for all types of vessels including bulk carriers and tankers, casualty responses, high-value cargo claims and shipbuilding contracts. Richard Lovell is a well-known admiralty expert and Barry Stimpson heads the dry team and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrations. Senior associate (and senior mariner) James Scott is dealing with a number of ship casualties. Mohan Subbaraman, who is the managing director of Resources Law, is valued for his 'prompt responses' and for 'being able to keep his cool'. Associate Alvin Ong is recommended andBernard Yee is also noted for his abilities handling 'the substantive and procedural aspects' of shipping matters.

Stephenson Harwood LLP has a strong track record in the shipping and offshore area and considerable finance-related expertise and is able to draw on experts from the firm's global network. Gregg Johnston, who leads the finance side of the practice, and Durai Shunmugam, who has a focus on contentious marine and international trade,  jointly head the team. Iain Young, Huay Yee Kwan and Michelle Yong are the other key practitioners. The team was strengthened by the arrival of several new hires, including Timothy Cooke,  who focuses on arbitrations and mediations, and joined from Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC's Stamford office in June 2017; senior associate Justin Gan, who  transferred from the firm's Hong Kong office in January 2018; and associates Wei Dai and Sarah Kuek, joined in mid-2017 from a Chinese bank and Gurbani & Co LLC respectively. The team was further boosted by the arrival of Martin Brown, who joined from Ince. The team's recent work includes the construction, acquisition, leaseback and sale of vessels, including offshore platforms and related joint ventures as well as cargo-related and other disputes.

At Wikborg Rein, managing partner Ian Teare has a substantial marine and shipping law practice with an emphasis on casualty matters. In conjunction with colleagues in Oslo, London and Shanghai, he represented a Chinese shipyard in a high-value dispute relating to non payment by a vessel owner for services rendered under a contract to convert a tanker to a floating production, storage and offloading unit. He is also acting for Gard (Singapore) P&I Club in connection with a fire and explosion and the total loss of the geotechnical survey vessel Geos off East Malaysia. Robert Joiner's expertise lies in disputes involving charterparties and bills of lading, which often include arbitration, and he also advises on marine insurance. Associate Emma Binnersley joined the team in March 2018 from Bentleys, Stokes and Lowless in London bringing expertise in a range of dry shipping disputes. Associate Hélène Sironneau joined in April 2018 from Winter Scott LLP in London. Siri Wennevik is now with HFW Singapore LLP.

Ian Short heads the group at Campbell Johnston Clark Singapore LLP, which undertakes the full range of shipping mandates ranging from transactional matters to casualties involving litigation and arbitrations. Recent work includes acting for a client whose vessel was involved in a collision resulting in its sinking and the loss of life, which involved advising on the salvage and rescue organisation, and assisting P&I Clubs with insurance coverage issues. Other disputes include matters of unpaid demurrage, contamination and environmental issues and ships arrests as well as the sale and acquisition of vessels. The team has been bolstered by the arrival, in August 2018, of Paul Apostolis and Gareth Williams from HFW Singapore LLP and master mariner Andrew Gray from Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore.

The team at Kennedys Legal Solutions, which is led by Karnan Thirupathy, has  'a no-fuss and no drama approach to managing disputes, is thoughtful and measured' and 'is mindful of cost expectations and represents good value for money'. Nick Francis, who jointly heads the team, is valued for 'his insights into commercial and disputed' matters. The team provides comprehensive shipping advice across marine, shipping and international trade matters, where it acts for P&l Clubs, insurers, shipowners, charterers and financial institutions. It is acting for Taiwanese Unison Marine and Japan P&I in a dispute pertaining to a high-value contamination claim concerning cargo that was discharged in Peru, which involves two London-based arbitrations - one defending against certain South American cargo interests and a second commenced against the charterers.

Norton Rose Fulbright's 'extensive network of offices around the world is useful for multi-disciplinary and cross-border transactions' and the team is 'responsive and able to distinguish for its clients what they really need in a deal and what is "nice to have”'. Ben Rose specialises in offshore oil and gas and shipping finance transactions and Stephen Woods' expertise is in corporate and commercial work including mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures in the shipping, transport and offshore sectors. The 'responsive and pragmatic' of counsel Sue Ann Gan stands out for her ability 'to think outside the box in cross-border transactions and her drive to get the deal done'.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP 'really understands shipping and has great industry knowledge' and managing partner Mei Lin Goh is 'a great lawyer, a great managing partner and an amazing role model for women'. Simon Petch has extensive experience of shipping finance and transactions and 'has a good sense of finding mutually acceptable solutions'. Dan Thompson 'is a personable, heavy-hitting partner that rightly obtains instructions from top clients across the Asia Pacific region; his knowledge of arbitration is second to none and his strategic awareness is unsurpassed.' He advises shipowners and financial institutions on a range of transactions and disputes. Andrew Nimmo is another name to note. The team acted for a client in a high-profile case involving defects in vessels it had commissioned, where all of the shipbuilding contracts were in dispute.

The group at RPC Premier Law is led by Iain Anderson , who counts Allied World Assurance, AXA Corporate Solutions, Chubb and QBE among his  clients. He represented international reinsurers in a case concerning a sizeable claim by an oil major for alleged pipeline damage caused by the insured's drilling rig. Marine casualty work is another area of expertise and the group advised a consortium of reinsurers on developing a damage apportionment solution between the clients and the FPSO operator, the mortgagee bank and the insurers following significant damage to a floating production storage and offloading unit operating off the coast of Vietnam . Senior associate Grant Pilkington and associate Nazirah Kairo Din are other key team members.

Thomas Cooper Singapore LLP's team, which is jointly headed by Johan Wong and the 'very commercial, smart and quick' Steffen Pedersen, provides 'a very good level of service'. Clients include P&I clubs, major shipowners and hull insurers and those in the offshore industry. The team specialises in contentious matters spanning marine, shipping and offshore disputes as well as handling ship sales and leasebacks and arbitration work in London and Hong Kong and Singapore. The group was instructed by Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association to act for the owners of the Thor Achiever following a collision and handled the casualty investigation and the negotiations pertaining to liability and quantum and also arranged for an application to be filed to establish a limitation fund.

The team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is 'highly efficient and very knowledgeable in the shipping and offshore industry'. It acts for global clients especially financial and leasing companies. Highlights included advising on the refinancing of two container ships that were on charter, which involved an analysis of the underlying bareboat charters to ensure the interests of the financiers were protected. Practice head Simon Spells is 'commercially minded and responsive'.

Clifford Chance is well regarded for its expertise in the areas of offshore oil and gas and the LNG sector and it is able to draw on its global network to handle corporate, financial and restructuring matters and litigation. The team advised the International Finance Corporation and others on the debt financing of an LNG import terminal, a matter valued at $180m. The work included compiling commissioning procedures, advising on a range of regulatory issues and advising on infrastructure delivery and safety matters. Gervais Green  and Kate Sherrard  are the names to note.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

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