Shortlist Overview

Celebrating the best of the best in Southeast Asia

Asia Pacific editor John van der Luit-Drummond reveals the law firms with the most shortlisted gongs ahead of the Southeast Asia Awards ceremony in May 2020

After months of thorough, in-depth research into Asia Pacific’s legal market, 2020 saw the launch of The Legal 500’s latest rankings of the best law firms and lawyers across the 25 jurisdictions that make up our Asia Pacific guide. However, this year comes with an added bonus for the crème de la crème of the legal community – the launch of our inaugural Southeast Asia Awards.

These new awards recognise and reward the best of the best across the legal industry in Southeast Asia. They follow the tried and trusted criteria of our annual UK awards which, simply put, identify the law firms and individual lawyers that particularly stood out this past year, regardless of size or current tiering in our guide.
The awards ceremony, set to be held on the evening of Thursday 14 May at the Pan Pacific Singapore, will consist of 30 awards: five in-house legal team prizes, ten country-specific firm of the year awards, 13 practice area awards, a private practice lawyer of the year gong, and our headline award for Regional Law Firm of the Year.

The categories for these awards have been specifically chosen from the key jurisdictions and prominent practice areas found within our annual research of Southeast Asia-based private practice law firms.

Thanks to our colleagues carrying out research for our GC Powerlist series, we have also been able to recognise the in-house legal teams and individuals that have been involved in the standout transactions for their companies in recent months, as well as making advances in the use of legal technology and championing diversity within the profession.

Our ten country awards take a holistic look at the key players in each Southeast Asia nation covered in our guide (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), their individual practices, star individuals, recent performance, and overall growth to crown the overall best firm in each nation.

Meanwhile, our practice area awards recognise those firms that have undertaken the most high-profile, high-value, and complex transactions and disputes over the last 12 months, as well as highlight those practices which have achieved significant growth and exceeded market expectations to challenge the established players across the region.

We are delighted to unveil that, in total, 100 of the best and up-and-coming law firms feature in our inaugural shortlist. But which ones come out on top ahead of our awards ceremony in May?

Well, leading our shortlist of 25 law firm awards – and with an impressive ten nominations each – are two regional heavyweights: Rajah & Tann and Bangkok-headquartered Tilleke & Gibbins.

The Magic Circle’s Allen & Overy is not far behind with seven nominations, while Little Red Dot goliath Allen & Gledhill ties with the multinational Baker McKenzie on six nominations each, and Anglo-Australian Herbert Smith Freehills and Singapore-headquartered Drew & Napier have five nominations apiece.

Next, Indonesia’s Assegaf Hamzah & Partners matches Linklaters’ total of four nominations, while WongPartnership – the last of Singapore’s ‘Big Four’ to feature in our shortlist – has three chances of winning alongside VDB Loi, DFDL, and Thailand’s Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners.

Which firm will take home the most prizes? Who will be crowned Regional Law Firm of the Year? All will be revealed in Singapore this May. We look forward to seeing all our shortlisted law firms, in-house teams, and their star lawyers in Singapore very soon.