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Mahesh Rai

Work +65 6531 2584
Drew & Napier LLC

Work Department

Dispute Resolution


Director, Dispute Resolution


Mahesh acts for clients in a broad spectrum of litigation and international arbitration matters.

He has handled disputes spanning many sectors including information technology, telecommunications, oil and gas, shipping, construction and commodities. He is adept at handling complex disputes involving multi-disciplinary technical issues. He has also acted in shareholder and joint venture disputes, employment disputes and fraud claims.

Mahesh graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2008 as a Shaw Foundation Scholar.

In 2009, he earned an LL.M. in International Arbitration & Litigation from University College London (UCL). He was an oralist in the UCL team that was the runner-up in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in 2009. Mahesh was part of the Drew & Napier team that won the inaugural Essex Court Chambers-Singapore Academy of Law Moot Competition 2012 for Singapore lawyers.

In 2012, Mahesh was also awarded an Excellence in Advocacy Award by the Singapore International Arbitration Academy.

In 2014, the Supreme Court of Singapore appointed Mahesh as Young Amicus Curiae and he assisted the High Court on novel points of law in an appeal involving money laundering. Mahesh was also awarded the Singapore Academy of Law scholarship which enabled him to work at Fountain Court Chambers with eminent Queen’s Counsel.

In 2017, the ICC appointed Mahesh as one of the regional representatives for the Young Arbitrators Forum.

Mahesh regularly acts as pro bono defence counsel under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) for impecunious accused persons. He also represents victims who appear as civil parties before the hybrid Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Mahesh also teaches advocacy to aspiring lawyers as part of the bar course.

Practice Areas:

  • Arbitration
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Corporate Litigation
  • Crime
  • Defamation
  • Energy, Transport & Infrastructure
  • Information Technology
  • International Arbitration
  • International Trade
  • Investigations
  • Shipping
  • Telecommunications, Media & Technology




  • Arbitrator, KLRCA Panel
  • Arbitrator, SIAC Reserve Panel
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Thailand Arbitration Centre (THAC)
  • Regional Representative, ICC Young Arbitrators Forum
  • Member, Inter-Pacific Bar Association
  • Member, International Bar Association
  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Committee Member, International Relations Committee of Law Society of Singapore
  • Committee Member, Criminal Legal Aid Scheme
  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law
  • Member, Young International Arbitration Group
  • Member, Young International Council for Commercial Arbitration
  • Lead Counsel, Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences


  • LL.B. (Hons), National University of Singapore (2008), Shaw Foundation Scholar
  • LL.M. International Arbitration & Litigation, University College London (2009)
  • B.Sc. (1st Class Hons) Politics & International Relations, London School of Economics, External (2006)
  • Advocate & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore (2011)
  • Attorney-at-law of the state of New York (2011)
  • Solicitor of England & Wales (2013)
  • International Lawyer, Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (2013)
  • Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators


International arbitration

Within: International arbitration

Drew & Napier LLC is a Singapore dispute resolution giant with a high degree of focus on international arbitration. It has an impressive mix of investor-state, construction and engineering, and commercial cases. Clients include the government of Laos, Lagardère Sports Asia and Longzhu Oilfield Services. The team is 'the best in town' according to one client, who praises its 'business-oriented' approach, 'deep knowledge' and 'relevant experience'. It is also commended for attracting 'big-ticket items', especially arbitration-related court proceedings, with senior figures in the team handling both litigation and arbitration work. Davinder Singh SC is chairman of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and is recommended for India-related cases, among others. Cavinder Bull SC is also recognised for Singapore-seated arbitrations, has built an impressive record in investor-state arbitrations; he is 'a great advocate in arbitration-related court proceedings', 'is smart, reasonable and fair', 'is a lethal examiner of witnesses' and 'makes a very good arbitrator'. Jimmy Yim SC is 'a super excellent lawyer', 'always provides precise and to the point advice' and 'is good at thinking out of the box'. Randolph Khoo is a go-to practitioner for China and Russia-related cases. Mahesh Rai is 'wonderfully engaging to deal with and has an incredibly relaxed manner'. Foo Yuet Min is almost exclusively focused on arbitration.

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Singapore: Projects and energy

Projects and energy – Local firms

Within: Projects and energy – Local firms

Drew & Napier LLC is active in upstream and downstream oil and gas, and has a solid presence in the mining sector. The practice has an even balance of contentious and non-contentious work for clients such as employers, contractors, concessionaires and traders. It has a particularly fine track record acting for Japanese and Korean contractors. It recently advised Reignwood International on the rationalisation of its 70% share in the Opus Group, which has ordered $840m worth of drilling ships and acquired $200m worth of semi-submersible drilling rigs; Reignwood and another creditor have presented winding-up petitions against the holding company of Opus. Jimmy Yim SC and Mahesh Rai are key names on the contentious side, with Julian Kwek having an established track record in transactions.

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