Asia Law Profiles 2013

Rajah & Tann, the largest firm in Singapore by number of fee-earners, has full-service capabilities combined with a strong regional presence. The firm prides itself on its regional capabilities. It has a Malaysian associate firm, Kamilah & Chong, as well as offices in China, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand.

The firm’s corporate group acts in relation to some of the largest transactions in the market. Goh Kian Hwee, Serene Yeo, Lawrence Tan and Cynthia Goh advised Singapore listed SMB United as the target company in two competing takeover offers. In equity capital markets, partner Chia Kim Huat acted for Singapore listed China Paper Holdings in respect of its S$32.69 million rights issue.

The firm is noted for its litigation prowess. It has 14 dedicated partners led by senior counsel Francis Xavier. The firm regularly advises clients in connection with corporate and commercial matters.

One of the firm’s outstanding practices is its restructuring and insolvency group. The firm’s practice bridges its corporate and litigation strengths. A peer summed up the firm’s attributes in this practice area, saying, “What clients need to understand is that restructuring and insolvency is not just strict law. You need to offer something to creditors so that they back down from a certain course of action. You need to find them a better deal. Success very much depends on the clout of the practitioner. I’d say Rajah & Tann is the best restructuring and insolvency firm in Singapore.”

The practice boasts many top restructuring and insolvency lawyers, including managing partner Lee Eng Beng and deputy managing partner Patrick Ang, who both gain praise from clients and peers alike. Clients have also noted Danny Ong and Nigel Pereira. “Danny is one of the most commercially minded restructuring advisors in Singapore, while Nigel is very responsive and service-driven,” said a restructuring agency client, adding, “At Singapore firms, you don’t come across people who are willing to think outside the box in restructuring, and Danny is the complete opposite.”

In a competitive shipping, maritime and aviation market, the firm possesses one of the strongest practices in Singapore, with ten partners in the department. Clients commend Toh Kian Sing for both contentious and non-contentious work and recommend him for his client focus, “I have a great relationship with Kian Sing and can reach him by e-mail or on his mobile whenever I need him,” said one client. Rajah & Tann has a leading labour and employment practice that handles both contentious and advisory work for clients such as Thomson Reuters and Moody’s. The firm is also well known for its shipping and maritime work. Partner Ian Teo wins praise from clients. One client described him as very “switched on and always has a great turnaround time.”