The award categories for The Legal 500’s inaugural Southeast Asia Awards 20/21 have been specifically chosen from the key jurisdictions and prominent practice areas found within our annual research of Asia Pacific-based private practice law firms and in-house legal teams.

Law Firm Categories

Law Firms of the Year

Our ten country awards take a holistic look at the key players in each Southeast Asia jurisdiction (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.

Antitrust and competition Team of the Year

With antitrust and competition a growing practice across the Asia Pacific region, this award will be presented to the Southeast Asia team that can demonstrate crucial advice to clients on complex transactions, investigations, or regulatory issues.

Banking and finance Team of the Year

This award recognises the practice that undertakes the most complex banking and finance matters, including syndicated lending, trade finance, project finance, aircraft and shipping finance, and acquisition finance across key Southeast Asia markets.

Corporate and M&A Team of the Year

The judges for this award will be looking for outstanding advice to clients on high-value, high-profile, complex, and strategic mergers and acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, and private equity investments across the Southeast Asia region and beyond.

Capital markets Team of the Year

The winner of this award will have acted in some of the most high-profile and complex finance matters in the Southeast Asia market, including debt, equity, structured finance, derivatives, and securitisation for leading players in the finance industry.

Construction and Real Estate Team of the Year

This category will consider the full spectrum of construction work including early-stage project advice, administration, procurement, project financing, as well as litigation and adjudication of significant infrastructure and real estate developments across Southeast Asia.

Litigation Team of the Year

This award highlights the Southeast Asia practice that stands out for its impressive disputes performance over the past year. Key factors considered will be an impressive record in winning high-end disputes, achieving impressive results for the client, including the provision of commercial advice along with innovation and leadership in the disputes arena.

International arbitration Team of the Year

The winner of this award must demonstrate pre-eminent advice in complex and high-value international arbitrations across Southeast Asia, acting for private corporates, investors, state-owned enterprises, or states themselves in international commercial arbitration or investment treaty arbitration.

Intellectual property Team of the Year

This category recognises the practice that has demonstrated a practical commercial approach to contentious and transactional IP matters across the copyright, design, trademark, patent, and trade secrets disciplines for clients in a range of industries.

Labour and employment Team of the Year

This award recognises the regional labour and employment practice that has assisted clients with dispute resolution, including dismissals, investigations, crisis management, and disciplinary measures, as well as the complex employment aspects of major transactions, restructurings, and reorganisations.

Projects and energy Team of the Year

The judges of this award will be considering evidence of contentious and non-contentious expertise in high-end project development, project finance expertise, as well as energy transactions and advice across the utilities, oil and gas, conventional power, and renewables sectors.

Maritime or Transport Team of the Year

This award considers the full spectrum of transport-related work, including both contentious and non-contentious instructions undertaken by firms for clients in the aviation, road, rail, and shipping industries.

TMT Team of the Year

The winner of this regional category will demonstrate market-leading commercial or regulatory expertise through advice on high-value and complex technology, media, and telecom disputes or transactions.

Lawyer of the Year (private practice)

This category acknowledges exceptional individual contributions to the practice of law over the past 12 months from individuals across all levels of seniority. Judges will be looking for exceptional performance in any area of law that makes the chosen lawyer stand out from their peers.

Rising Law Firm of the Year

This category acknowledges the Southeast Asia firm that has performed exceptionally over the last 12 months in terms of rapidly establishing itself, achieving impressive recent growth, approaching its chosen market creatively, and/or effectively competing against larger competition.

Regional Law Firm of the Year

The most outstanding Southeast Asia law firms of the last 12 months, either independent, regional, or international, make the shortlist in this, our most prestigious award. Judges will be looking for firms that have taken the regional market by storm and have achieved more than their competitors in the countries in which they operate. Achievements may include the successful development of new practices, expansion into new markets, new client wins, improved financial performance, or a successful recruitment policy.

In-House Categories

In-house Lawyer of the Year

Recognising the in-house lawyers with the most excellent all around innovation and skill. This involves going beyond the average competence and demonstrating insightful quality across practice areas. The winner also displays a culmination of excellence across the other award categories.

In-house Team of the Year

In association with

Recognising the in-house legal teams that have demonstrated excellent all around innovation and skill – going beyond marketing superficiality to provide real insight and quality across numerous categories in supporting their organisations. The winning team also displays a culmination of excellence across the other award categories.

In-house M&A Team of the Year

Recognising the in-house team for its role in the most significant M&A deal of the past year. Taken into consideration are the value, complexity and influence of the deal within the regional legal and business market. Shortlisted teams have demonstrated a crucial involvement in the deal and strong cooperation with external law firms, regulators and other actors.

Diversity Champion of the Year

The shortlisted in-house teams have demonstrated their leadership on this issue within the Southeast Asia in-house legal market. Considerations include the quality of the company’s diversity and inclusion policies either as locally initiated or locally implemented policy, and the company’s public outreach on this subject. We consider evidence of the legal team’s direct involvement in this area and how it impacts the company’s behaviour, for example, its external counsel appointment and hiring policy.

In-house use of Technology

As legal technology becomes ubiquitous within in-house legal management, the teams recognised display exceptional and innovative use of technology and lead the field in this regard. The winning team clearly demonstrates the value that this has brought to their organisation in the form of legal operational management or a new business model.