Green Guide Profile: Shook Lin & Bok


Shook Lin & Bok is a full service law firm in Singapore that works across the ESG, and energy and natural resources spaces. Its expertise includes advising clients on ESG disclosures and sustainability reporting, greenwashing risks, ESG investment and finance initiatives, and sustainable infrastructure projects.

Leading the ESG practice is Joseph Chun, who teaches environmental law at the National University of Singapore and co-authored Singapore’s first and only environmental law textbook, ‘Environmental Law in Singapore’. Chun also provides pro bono legal support for environmental advocacy and law reform projects, such as working with civil society groups to propose a legal reform on indiscriminate abandonment of fishing lines and nets. Additionally, he is often consulted by government agencies on proposals to amend environmental legislation, notably the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act.

In a recent work highlight, the firm acted as lead counsel for DBS Bank in connection with its $115m green loan facility for Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center, one of the first electronic vehicle manufacturing facilities in Singapore. The firm also advised a leading real estate sponsor based in Singapore in relation to the development of two green certified business parks in two different locations in India which implement environmentally conscious measures in their construction and operation.

Joseph Chun

Dr Joseph Chun is an environmental lawyer. He leads the Firm’s Environmental, Social and Governance practice and is concurrently an adjunct associate professor and a member of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law (APCEL) at the Faculty of Law in the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he teaches environmental law. He has written widely on environmental law and ESG, and is the lead author of Singapore’s only environmental law textbook. Joseph is a member of the Singapore Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s (SVCA) ESG Committee and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Commission on Environmental Law. He also regularly works with local green civil society groups on advocacy projects and reports, and is a member of the Mandai Wildlife Group’s Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee.

Aditi Mathur

Aditi has extensive experience in and is qualified to practice both Indian law and English law. She has expertise over a wide range of finance transactions including green finance, sustainability-linked finance, acquisition finance, structured finance, property finance, asset-backed finance, working capital finance, ship finance, project finance, refinancings, inter-bank borrowings and Indian external commercial borrowings. She brings value to her clients having handled deals from varied perspectives including that of lenders, borrowers, agents and trustees. Aditi also regularly speaks at knowledge sharing sessions for clients on sustainability and sustainable finance.

Eric Chan

Eric Chan heads the financial services regulation practice. His work includes advising and helping banks and other financial institutions to understand and comply with Singapore financial regulatory rules and regulations. He works with financial institutions new to the Singapore market in helping them secure the requisite approvals, authorisations or exemptions, as well as existing financial institutions in relation to ongoing compliance issues. Eric’s work covers the full spectrum of the financial services sector in Singapore, and he works regularly with banks, financial advisers, insurers and insurance brokers, fund managers, securities brokers and other intermediaries. Eric is also extensively involved in advising various financial institutions as well as corporate clients on privacy and personal data protection, as well as anti-bribery controls.

Liew Kai Zee

Liew Kai Zee heads the Banking & Finance Practice.  He has over 25 years of experience advising financial institutions and major corporates on a broad range of domestic and international financing, securitisation and debt restructuring and maintains his position as the only ranked lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific Hall of Fame for Banking & Finance. He has also advised and spoken extensively on ESG opportunities and risks including green and sustainability-linked finance, transition finance and financing the circular economy.

Tan Wei Shyan

Tan Wei Shyan focuses on corporate finance and securities transactions, including initial public offerings (IPOs), dual/secondary listings, strategic investments, corporate restructuring, fund-raising exercises and securities regulation compliance by public listed companies. He is also active in commercial transactions covering various areas of corporate practice, including joint ventures and acquisitions and disposals of corporate assets involving public and private companies.

Teo Mae Shaan

Teo Mae Shaan’s area of practice comprises a broad range of corporate matters, with a particular focus on mergers and acquisitions, corporate, employment and regulatory compliance. Her particular focus is in the healthcare sector where she has assisted clients in the due diligence, negotiations and acquisitions of healthcare institutions and advising on various regulatory and compliance matters. Mae Shaan’s expertise in employment includes advising clients on compliance with employment, workplace safety and health legislation, drafting and advising clients on employment contracts, employee share and incentive schemes, employment handbooks, organisational restructuring issues, redundancy exercises and termination of employees, as well as advising on restrictive covenants and fiduciary duties. She also acts for companies and financial institutions on initial public offerings, secondary offerings and debt issuances.

Joseph Tay

Joseph Tay specialises in Litigation & Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration and Construction & Projects. Joseph has experience in an extensive range of legal disputes including matters relating to financial services and securities, building and construction, infrastructure and projects, real estate sale and lease, employment laws and directors’ duties, commodities and trade, restructuring and insolvency, shareholders’ disputes and commercial fraud.

Corporates are becoming more mindful of the need to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in their investments, business planning and operations. This awareness is driven partly by regulatory and other external pressures for disclosure and management of material ESG risks, and by growth opportunities for ESG-minded businesses to contribute to a sustainable economy. Shook Lin & Bok’s integrated ESG Practice is finely calibrated to provide its clients with innovative and commercially sound advice that aligns with the businesses and markets they operate in while promoting sustainable practices that lead to enduring positive environmental and social impacts.

Led by Dr Joseph Chun, the team stays abreast with the current market trends and practices, and with the support of the other practices within the firm, are able to provide holistic bespoke solutions that meet voluntary and regulatory standards in the markets and jurisdictions where our clients operate.

Our ESG team assists in both contentious and non-contentious ESG-related matters, including the following:

  • ESG risk and liability management, controls and compliance advisory against regulatory, contractual, and voluntary requirements and standards
  • ESG disclosures and sustainability reporting, and greenwashing risks
  • ESG compliance audits and due diligence
  • Corporate governance controls and ethics, including anti-corruption controls, business ethics, misconduct whistle-blowing regimes, internal investigation and disciplinary processes, corporate workplace health and safety
  • ESG investment and finance initiatives, including loans, bonds, equities and funds
  • Sustainable infrastructure projects
  • Circular product design contracts
  • ESG issues in the context of corporate insolvency and restructuring
  • ESG litigation risks

Has your firm established a dedicated ESG/climate change/sustainability practice, team or task force?
Shook Lin & Bok has a dedicated ESG practice. It is led by an environmental lawyer and draws in partners from all relevant ESG related practices to provide holistic ESG advice.

What type of work do you handle in connection with “green change”?

Our ESG work ranges from advising on compliance with ESG reporting and disclosure requirements, and greenwashing risks, environmental law, workplace safety and health laws, and cybersecurity and data privacy laws; and advising on legal asepcts of ESG-related transactional work including sustainability financing and sustainabilty investing and due diligence.

Would you like to highlight a particular area of strength?

We are among the pioneers in sustainability financing and have been active in advising a wide of range of sustainability finance instruments.

Has your firm implemented any internal best practices?
We have an internal committee that oversees the preparation and regular review of the firm’s ESG policies and practices.

Has your firm joined any external ESG-related projects, networks or initiatives?

We are a supporting firm of The Chancery Lane Project. One of our partners is a member of the Singapore Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s (SVCA) ESG Committee, and the Global Alliance of Impact Lawyers (GAIL).

What are your firm’s ESG-related goals?

We are committed to contributing to the sustainability of our clients, our lawyers and staff, and our community.

Is your firm involved in any relevant pro bono work?

Our environmental lawyer regularly contributes pro bono to the legal aspects of green civil society’s advocacy projects, such as a report on the state of Singapore’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity and recommendations for the enhancing its protection; and a multi-jurisdiction white paper on law and policy efforts in mitigating microplastic pollution for aquaculture food safety in the region.

Our firm actively supports two key pro bono initiatives by the Law Society of Singapore, namely the Law Society Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) and the Community Legal Clinics @ CDC. Under the CLAS, our firm’s lawyers have committed to and do take up 10 or more cases each year, where our lawyers act for accused persons pro bono. Under the Community Legal Clinics @ CDC scheme, volunteer lawyers from our firm attend at the Community Legal Clinics each month to provide legal consultations to needy Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. Our firm aims to foster a robust spirit of volunteerism amongst our lawyers and has set up an internal Pro Bono / CSR committee to lead this initiative.

Is your firm involved in any public outreach or client education?

We regularly organize ESG webinars for existing and prospective clients and also participate in university, industry and client-organised ESG webinars.

Have there been any recent non-confidential stand-out matters that were particularly innovative, pioneering or complex?

We are advising a major state-owned enterprise in the first comprehensive internal environmental legal compliance audit of its current and legacy operations and activities going back decades, covering an extensive e range of environmental issues, including air and noise emissions, wastewater discharges, and toxic industrial waste disposal.

When did ESG, climate change and/or sustainability become an area of focus at your firm?
We started advising on green financing in 2017/2018 and set up our ESG practice in January 2019.

What has driven your firm’s involvement in a green transition? (Client demand? Business case? Personal attitudes/beliefs/initiatives?)

Initially, it was client interest in demand, but we are also convinced that ESG is not merely a practice area, but a practice lens that will transform every area of practice in the firm, and we start the transition in the way we operate and practice.

Do you have any strategic plans to expand your work or your initiatives in this area in the future?

We will continue to identify areas where we can contribute to our clients’ transition toward greater awareness of and sensitivity to material ESG issues in every aspect of their work and develop competence in these areas. We will also continue to develop a greater awareness of and sensitivity to the ESG issues that are material in our own operations.

Where do you see the future of ESG/sustainability in the legal community (both in terms of legal offerings and firms’ best practices)?

Law firms will not only be expected to have an ESG practice. ESG will infuse every practice area and the very DNA of firms. It will influence the way firms select their clients, and the way they advise every client.