Interview with: Joseph Lee, Deputy Managing Director

LVM Law Chambers LLC | View firm profile

What do you see as the main points that differentiate LVM Law Chambers LLC from your competitors?

We are a truly independent boutique disputes resolution firm with a renowned Senior Counsel at its helm.

Free from conflicts or any associations, we are free to act for and against any parties.

Although independent, our team brings with it the experience from offshore and major local firms, making us able to deliver the same level of service as our competitors, more competitively and without constraints of conflicts.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Insolvency and insurance. As businesses were hit by COVID-19 induced interruptions, those who lacked the financial wherewithal to weather the storm, or were rendered redundant by technology advancements will be looking to restructure or liquidate. Insurers worldwide have been hit by business-interruption claims.

We have also seen a spike in claims related to supply chain disruption and event cancellations as parties battle to ascribe liability for delays and cancellation occasioned by COVID-19 disruption.

Temporary relief and moratoriums that were statutorily imposed are scheduled to expire later this year. Unless extended, we anticipate more claim emerging in the last quarter of 2021.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

In early 2020, we organized our lawyers into practice areas. What this means is that every lawyer specializes at an early stage. This means that every lawyer has domain knowledge in particular areas enabling the team to respond faster and more effectively to the needs of the client.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

The drive towards paperless has made quantum leaps during COVID-19 and is here to stay. Client interactions are also now by video-conferencing as a default. This has helped our clients save travel time and costs and cut down third party disbursements dramatically.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

At LVM, we place great emphasis on commercial lawyering. We immerse ourselves deeply in our client’s business and offer tailor made solutions that take into account their commercial objectives. We share two examples.

We had a developer client who purchased a piece of prime land to redevelop into a condominium. The catch was that the land was saddled with a right of way in favour of a neighbouring development, i.e. an easement. The easement was granted more than a century ago where the neighbouring plot was a single house and relied on the easement to access the main road.

The easement was situated such that it divided the client’s plot of land into two, restricting the development potential of the land. Negotiations with the neigbour to realign the easement were futile. Anticipating that the neighbour would seek an injunction from Court to prevent our client from unilaterally realigning the easement, we went on the offensive and applied to Court for a declaration that such an injunction would not be issued if applied for.

To knowledge, such an application was the first of its kind both its novel approach and the issues it raised. The realignment of the easement greatly enhanced the value of the land to the client by opening up many design options. The Court granted the application and this case went on to be cited as precedent in future cases where developers met similar obstacles.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

We see ourselves maintaining our current course as an independent firm. However, we aim to add to our numbers in terms of targeted additions to our team in certain specialist areas.