Firms To Watch: Leading firms

Operating from the firm's Singapore office, Shearman & Sterling LLP looks to expand its offering in Southeast Asia, by tapping into Brunei’s emerging markets.

Leading firms in Brunei

Ashurst LLP

Operating from the firm’s office in Singapore, Ashurst LLP has a long-standing presence in Brunei, catering to its infrastructure and oil and gas sectors. The firm is also a key government adviser and is noted for its strong working relationships with the Economic Development Board and Ministry of Development. Practice leader Rob Palmer specialises in contract negotiation and dispute resolution in the energy and construction sectors, while regularly advising government agencies on complex infrastructure projects. Daniel Reinbott, who heads the Southeast Asia natural resources team, has a deep understanding of the LNG industry and is experienced in handling energy sector M&A transactions. Associate Giles Ashman is also noted for his work in energy and infrastructure.

Practice head(s):

Rob Palmer; Daniel Reinbott

Other key lawyers:

Giles Ashman


‘Rob is an excellent lawyer and leads a capable team dealing with alternative dispute resolution, especially arbitration.’

‘The legal services provided by Ashurst is excellent and satisfies our needs. The team has a very detailed knowledge of transactions. Their turnaround time is very quick and they always provide high quality feedback.’

‘Rob Palmer always provides clear and concise advice. He has an excellent understanding of arbitration matters and notable knowledge of infrastructure matters.’

‘We have been working closely with Giles Ashman and Daniel Reinbott, and we find them to be highly professional and accommodating, especially in meeting tight deadlines, and generally personable all around.’

Key clients

Ministry of Development, The Government of His Majesty The Sultan and Tang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam

Hengyi Industries Sdn. Bhd.

Brunei Methanol Company Sdn. Bhd.

Brunei Economic Development Board

Brunei Investment Agency

Darussalam Enterprise (DARe)

Work highlights

  • Advised Hengyi Industries in relation to the development and expansion of an integrated crude oil refinery and aromatics complex on Pulau Muara Besar Island in Brunei Darussalam.
  • Advised Brunei Methanol Company Sdn. Bhd (as well as its shareholders, Itochu Corporation and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company) on all aspects of its methanol project in Brunei.
  • Advising the Ministry of Development in relation to the construction of the Temburong Bridge project.


Catering to international financial institutions, national flagship companies and government investment departments, the Brunei branch of Singapore firm HEP Law is a key player in the legal market. The team specialises in corporate work, employment matters, IP, and regulatory compliance issues in the finance, telecoms and infrastructure sectors. Head of the firm’s corporate and commercial practice, UK-qualified Roslyna Latif has extensive experience working in the international banking sector. Latif’s portfolio includes M&As, corporate restructurings and joint ventures. The firm is complemented by Singapore-based partners Philip Fong, Tan Chau Yee and Justin Chia, who maintain established cross-border practices. Senior associate Tracy Lai, who ‘has a gifted flair for contract drafting’, is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Roslyna Latif

Other key lawyers:

Philip Fong; Tan Chau Yee; Justin Chi; Tracy Lai


‘Strong knowledge and experiences in corporate and commercial transactions. Very people centric, highly flexible, responsive and know client’s needs well. Almost always our first choice.’

‘Tracy Lai has a gifted flair for contract drafting that is one of the bests I’ve come across – simple, concise but unambiguous, and very original. She has a very down-to-earth personality and is a pleasant to work with.’

Key clients

DST Sdn Bhd

Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd

Empire Hotel and Country Club

Bank of China (Hong Kong), Brunei Branch

Unified National Network Sdn Bhd

Muara International Fish Landing Sdn Bhd

Makan Ceria Sdn Bhd

Evyd Technology Sdn Bhd

Imagine Sdn Bhd

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

One of the leading international firms for projects in Brunei, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is regularly mandated by large-scale corporates and government bodies in complex, and often cross-border matters. The firm is well-positioned to handle significant energy, infrastructure and oil and gas transactions. Operating from its Singapore office, the firm boasts region wide experts in its front line of partners. Co-head Glynn Cooper brings considerable experience in M&As, project developments, commercial contracts and restructuring, with expertise in the transport, energy and oil and gas sectors. Seasoned litigator Alastair Henderson also leads, with a focus on international arbitration and contentious work in the oil and gas, infrastructure and construction industries. Irina Akentjeva and Daniel Waldek, who was promoted to partner in May 2022, are key contacts in the team.

Practice head(s):

Glynn Cooper; Alastair Henderson

Other key lawyers:

Irina Akentjeva; Daniel Waldek

Key clients

Brunei Economic Development Board