25 Feb 2014

Rajah & Tann excels in 2014 edition of Chambers Asia-Pacific

Eleven practices from Rajah & Tann were ranked in the top two tiers of the ranking released by Chambers & Partners in their 2014 edition.

Chambers is a prestigious legal publication based in London which seeks to identify top law firms and leading lawyers across 185 jurisdictions in the world. The publication boasts a team of over 140 researchers who conduct extensive research which include interviews with clients and lawyers and recent work highlights.

Editorials & Ranking

The relevant extracts from the 2014 edition of Chambers Asia-Pacific editorial are as follows:

Dispute Resolution: Litigation – Singapore (Band 1) 
Ranked Lawyers: Andre Yeap (Band 2), Eng Beng Lee (Band 2), Francis Xavier (Band 2), Mohammed Reza (Up and Coming) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 19 partners 
- 38 associates 

What the team is known for
Highly capable on cross-jurisdictional litigation across East and South-East Asia. Unrivalled recent experience of handling matters in Singapore's Supreme Court. Covers all contentious issues, with notable strength in banking, insolvency and estate disputes. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Commercial awareness: "We appreciate the commercial focus of the lawyers and their understanding of our business objectives." 

Solution-oriented: "They use their legal knowledge to develop solutions that make business sense." 

What's new? 
The team welcomed four new partners through recent internal promotions. 

Work highlights 
Acted for Chang Tse Wen in a successful High Court action against Deutsche Bank, it being established that the bank failed to meet its full duty of care in the wealth management advice it gave him. 

Represented the provisional liquidators of MF Global Singapore in a High Court case concerning the distribution of USD350 million of customers' funds, securing the court's approval for the laws of trust and tracing to be applied. 

Notable practitioners 
Francis Xavier SC heads the dispute resolution team and is particularly well honed where banking and finance matters are concerned. He recently acted for Standard Chartered Bank, defending it against claims of alleged misrepresentation brought by customers whose money had been invested in funds associated with disgraced financier Bernie Madoff. Clients extol him as "savvy, charismatic and a superb problem solver. He understands the roots of problems, sees our objectives and figures out a way to reach them." 

Andre Yeap SC successfully represented the provisional liquidators of MF Global Singapore in a High Court case which produced a landmark ruling concerning segregated and proprietary funds. He is a particularly prominent practitioner in matters concerning banking, insolvency, securities and shareholder issues, and is identified as"a very good trial lawyer." 

Lee Eng Beng SC is the firm's managing partner yet maintains a very active litigation practice, operating most notably in banking and finance and insolvency matters and at appellate level. He recently appeared for OCBC Bank in the Court of Appeal, where he successfully opposed a scheme of arrangement proposed by TT International. He is hugely respected in the market, with one client commenting: "For more sophisticated advocacy we'd use Lee Eng Beng, an extremely good senior counsel." 

One very satisfied client reports that Mohammed Reza "has extraordinary intellectual energy and is very good for complex cases, having the ability to distil complex ideas and communicate them in straightforward language." He is noted for his expertise in complicated corporate cases such as his recent representation of the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather in a pension benefit dispute. 

Significant clients
American Express, CIMB-GK Securities, Holcim, KPMG Advisory Services, Nomura. 


Employment: Domestic - Singapore (Band 1) 

What the team is known for
 
Large practice that advises a diverse range of clients on regional employment work and is particularly adept at managing contentious issues. Noted for its experience handling employment policy, confidentiality and occupational health and safety matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Market knowledge: "They have a good sense of industry developments." 

Client service: "Pragmatic and understanding of our organisation's culture." 

Work highlights 
Defended AXA Life Insurance Singapore against a claim of defamation and malicious falsehood. 

Advised Commerzbank in a SGD 9.5 million claim brought by ten former employees of Dresdner Kleinwort in Singapore. 

Notable practitioners 
Francis Xavier SC is the key contact partner. 

Significant clients Nagender Chilkuri, Eversheds, Singapore Petroleum. 


Investment Funds: Domestic - Singapore (Band 1) 
Ranked Lawyers: Arnold Tan (Band 1), Anne Yeo (Band 3), Lu Yueh Leong (Up and Coming)
 

Basic facts about the department 
- 4 partners 
- 5 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
Experts on all aspects of private fund work, most notably fund formation and regulation. Has helped to set up several new funds in Singapore of late, on behalf of clients based in a variety of countries. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Value for money: "They provided a high-quality service at a reasonable price." 

Efficiency: "Very diligent and detail-oriented." 

Technical ability: "They are technically very sound on what can and can't be done, and their speed of execution is quick." 

What's new? Everest Capital, Nezu Asia Capital Management and RS Investment Management are new client wins. 

Notable practitioners 
Head of the practice group Arnold Tan is "one of the most well-known private funds and hedge fund lawyers in town," and has "a very good understanding of the local requirements with respect to how funds need to position themselves." He has recently led the formation of several funds, including a USD150 million private equity fund. 

Clients say that Anne Yeo "is very competent and knows the rules of the game," singling out her expertise in Cayman Islands law. She regularly represents institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds, and specialises in fund formation. 

One satisfied client enthused that Leong Lu Yueh is "fantastic: she produces high-quality work and gives really good advice." Aside from her primary role in advising on fund establishment, Leong also advises on seed capital arrangements. 

Significant clients 
New Silk Road Investment, Havenport Asset Management, Charlie Chan Capital Partners, Eastspring Investments, Ellis Munro Asset Management. 


Restructuring/Insolvency: Domestic- Singapore (Band 1) 
Ranked Lawyers: Eng Beng Lee (Band 1), Patrick Ang (Band 1), Lionel Tay (Band 2) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 17 partners 
- 13 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
Represents creditors and liquidators in large insolvency matters, particularly in the shipping industry. Acts for leading Singaporean banks. Increasing presence across South-East Asia, and broadening scope to conduct restructuring and insolvency work in other countries in the region. 

What's new? 
Farrah Salam was recently promoted to partner. 

Work highlights 
Representing the liquidators of MF Global in the Singaporean courts in a huge, high-profile insolvency case with customers seeking to recover funds of over USD400 million in Singapore and other jurisdictions. 

Representing the substantial creditors in the restructuring of companies in the Dubai-based Drydocks World group, with total debts of more than USD100 million. 

Notable practitioners 
Managing partner Lee Eng Beng SC is "highly regarded as a leading insolvency practitioner in Singapore." A highlight saw him represent the creditors in the restructuring of companies in the Dubai-based Drydocks World group, with total debts of more than USD100 million. 

Patrick Ang is "very knowledgeable in his field." He has been advising the liquidators of Lehman Brothers on a variety of issues, including on the winding-down and disposal of a number of businesses and assets of Lehman entities across Asia. 

Lionel Tay is said to "interact very well with clients, and never fails to provide practical legal solutions." He has been involved in the team's work acting for the liquidators of MF Global, with customers seeking to recover funds of over USD400 million from MF Global in Singapore and other jurisdictions. 

Significant clients 
PwC, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte, HSBC. 


Shipping: Domestic- Singapore (Band 1) 
Ranked Lawyers: Kah Wah Leong (Band 1), Kian Sing Toh (Band 1), Winston Kwek (Band 1), Ian Teo (Band 3), Jainil Bhandari (Band 3), Kendall Tan (Up and Coming) 

Basic facts about the department
 
- 12 partners 
- 16 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
Exceptionally well-staffed bench, focusing closely on high-stakes contentious issues. A strong regional footprint, with offices or allied firms in ten Asian jurisdictions. Also active on maritime commodities trading and restructuring matters in the non-contentious space. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Efficiency: "A great firm with a very strong shipping practice." 

Market standing: "The largest number of lawyers and a corresponding market share - deservedly." 

What's new? 
Vellayappan Balasubramaniyam and Koh See Bin became partners through internal promotion. 

Work highlights 
Represented leading PRC shipowner Shagang Shipping with regard to charter claims worth some USD176 million, arising from the insolvency of Glory Wealth Shipping. 

Acted as local counsel for the bank lenders involved in the worldwide restructuring of a major Scandinavian oil transportation shipping group, including its Singapore subsidiary.

Notable practitioners 
Clients laud Toh Kian Sing SC for his "expertise, ability and hard work," adding that he is "highly skilled in shipping matters, in terms of both law and practice, and offers excellent advice." He heads the admiralty and shipping practice, focusing on contentious and non-contentious financing matters. 

Dispute resolution specialist Winston Kwek is particularly respected for his marine insurance and mortgage enforcement work, and is also an adept handler of other contentious issues. He recently represented Petromarine Energy Services in a USD650 million claim against the owners of the 'Aban Pearl' gas rig, which sank off the Venezuelan coast. 

Leong Kah Wah handles both wet and dry shipping disputes and is described by clients as a "very sensible yet charismatic lawyer who does a good job." He is also admired for his "very good way with opposing counsel" and for striking just the right balance between a will to win and a readiness to find a mutually agreeable solution. 

Dual-qualified in Singapore and Malaysia, Jainil Bhandari has over 20 years' experience in the litigation and arbitration fields, where he tackles a broad range of shipping and trade-related issues. He enjoys "a good reputation for sound and practical work." 

Ian Teo has expertise in contentious and non-contentious dry shipping matters. A recent cross-jurisdictional litigation mandate for a Vietnamese shipowner illustrates his versatility: the other parties involved came from four different countries and the case involved issues of Singaporean, South Korean and Panamanian law. 

Kendall Tan enters the rankings thanks to numerous tributes to his combination of diligence and expertise. One source observes: "If you want someone who will work very hard for you and give his all, that's Kendall." Others cite his knowledge of the law and"efficient, quick, pragmatic" service. He handles wet and dry shipping disputes and recently represented Chinese shipowners Shagang Shipping in a high-value charter claims matter. 

Significant clients 
BHP Billiton, Britannia, Itochu, Marubeni, Trafigura 


TMT: Domestic- Singapore (Band 1) 
Ranked Lawyers: Rajesh Sreenivasan (Band 1), Steve Tan (Band 3) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 6 partners 
- 6 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
A strong team of TMT specialists that is adept at handling transactional and regulatory work, both in Singapore and elsewhere in the region. Particularly active on data protection advice since the introduction of the new Personal Data Protection Law. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Efficiency: "They are dynamic, efficient and professional." 

What's new? 
Lionel Tan has made an internal move from the IP group into the TMT group. Benjamin Cheong joins the firm from Baker & McKenzie's Shanghai office. 

Work highlights 
Advising the Election Commission of the Government of Bangladesh on regulatory and legislative issues connected to its Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services (IDEA) project. 

Acted for Chartis Singapore Insurance on compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act. 

Notable practitioners
Rajesh Sreenivasan is one of Singapore's most prominent specialists in the TMT field, with a practice that spans technology, telecoms and digital media. He has an active regional practice and is instructed by overseas governments and corporates. Notably he led the team advising the Election Commission of the Government of Bangladesh on establishing a secure and reliable national ID system. 

Steve Tan is singled out as "knowledgeable, approachable and always willing to help."His practice has a focus on commercial and regulatory advice in the technology and media sectors, including a specialism in data protection work. 

Significant clients 
Government of Bangladesh, Citibank, Facebook, Singapore Technologies Electronics, Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam. 


Competition/Antitrust: Domestic - Singapore (Band 2) 
Ranked Lawyers: Kala Anandarajah (Band 1), Dominique Lombardi (Band 3)
 

Basic facts about the department 
- 6 partners 
- 5 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
Strong knowledge of competition law regulations in other ASEAN jurisdictions. Notable experience in handling investigations, merger notifications, disputes and appeals as well as a host of other competition matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Expertise: "They have a keen sense of the local regulatory framework and provides commercially oriented and practical advice." 

Regional knowledge: "They add value by giving us a sense of not just what is happening on the Singapore side, but also what the regulators in the region are thinking." 

Client service: "They are extremely client-focused and are very strong in terms of understanding the clients' business and needs." 

What's new? 
Benjamin Cheong joined the team, bolstering its East Asia competition expertise. 

New clients include Itochu. 

Work highlights 
Acted for Asia Renal Care on the merger notification for its acquisition of Orthe. 

Represented Itochu Techno-Solutions and Itochu Corporation in competition issues stemming from their acquisition of the enterprise solutions and integration business of CSC Asia Holdings and CSC Malaysia. 

Notable practitioners
Practice head Kala Anandarajah has substantial experience in a wide range of competition matters, including investigations, merger notifications and leniency applications. She is lauded for her "solid, can-do attitude and excellent client management skills." "She is top-notch in competition law matters and is very good at working out a strategic solution to a legal problem," sources note. 

Dominique Lombardi brings invaluable expertise in European competition laws and regulatory issues, with commentators remarking: "Her grounding in EU law is helpful."She also wins praise for her "business-oriented advice and very reliable legal analysis." 

Significant clients 
Coca-Cola Singapore Beverages, UOB, Singapore Airlines Cargo, NYK Line, Holcim. 


Corporate/M&A: Domestic - Singapore (Band 2) 
Ranked Lawyers: Goh Kian Hwee (Band 1) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 21 partners 
- 18 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
Excels in handling cross-border deals with its extensive network in South-East Asia and China. Has an impressive track record in advising on competing takeover offers, and is particularly strong in the insurance, healthcare, banking and real estate sectors. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Bench strength: "A knowledgeable and cohesive team." 

Regional capability: "They have done a good job in creating a greater presence in Asia and greater depth in the practice." 

What's new? 
Chum China Growth Equity Investment and TCA International secured as new clients. 

Work highlights 
Advised United Engineers and its subsidiary UE Centennial Venture in relation to takeover offers for WBL, at a value of around SGD713 million. 

Acted for Gallant Venture on its SGD1.56 billion takeover of Indomobil Sukses Internasional. 

Notable practitioners 
Observers agree that Goh Kian Hwee is "definitely one of the most experienced M&A lawyers in town." His wealth of experience includes takeovers and reverse takeovers, mergers of financial institutions, divestments, privatisations and delistings. Recent work includes advising United Engineers and UE Centennial Venture on their takeover of WBL. 

Significant clients 
AXA Singapore, OCBC, Lazard Asia, Gallant Venture, CIMB. 


Insurance: Domestic - Singapore (Band 2) 
Ranked Lawyers: Simon Goh (Band 2), Elaine Tay (Band 3) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 5 partners 
- 6 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
Established adviser on insurance-related dispute resolution, acting on both litigation and arbitration. Advises insurers and reinsurers on corporate and regulatory issues, and experienced in handling insurance business transfers. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Clarity of advice: "Precise and well-balanced advice." 

Solution-oriented: "Their partners work very well as a team across different practice areas and are able to deliver swift and commercially sensible solutions." 

Work highlights 
Acted successfully for Hanwha Non-Life Insurance on its dispute with a Lloyd's syndicate over an open cover reinsurance policy for a Korean housing project. The complex matter produced the first reported decision by a Singapore court on a reinsurance matter. 

Represented AXA Insurance Singapore during its acquisition of the general insurance portfolio of HSBC Insurance, one of the most significant transactions of its kind in 2012.

Notable practitioners 
Department head Simon Goh expertly handles some of the largest and most complex insurance disputes in the market. He recently represented hospital insurers in business interruption claims arising from the mandatory governmental closure of public hospitals during a SARS outbreak. Clients describe him as a "very calm, very measured practitioner who doesn't become aggressive or get agitated by opponents' tactics," and value his "clear, comprehensive and concise advice." 

Elaine Tay has more than a decade of experience in both contentious and non-contentious insurance cases. Clients appreciate "her very levelheaded advice, which demonstrates her experience and strong expertise in the insurance field." She acted as lead counsel advising Hanwha Non-Life Insurance in recent high-profile suit concerning reinsurance issues. 

Significant clients
 
United Overseas Insurance, QBE Insurance (International), China 
Taiping Insurance (Singapore), ACE Insurance, Tokio Marine Insurance Singapore.


Private Client/Wealth Management - Singapore (Band 2) 
Ranked Lawyers: Ronald Choo (Band 1) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 6 partners 
- 4 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
A go-to firm for Singapore law advice on private client matters, including business succession planning, wills and probate, trusts, and estate wealth planning and structuring, as well as family and matrimonial law. Also active in handling disputes related to private clients and trusts. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Expertise: "They have a wealth of experience and are up to date with current developments." 

What's new? 
Michelle Yeo joined the team from an in-house position. Lee Xin Mei was promoted to the partnership. 

Work highlights 
Advised a high net worth individual on establishing a trust in Singapore, with initial funding of USD25 million. 

Notable practitioners 

Ronald Choo is widely viewed as "one of the most prominent and experienced trust lawyers in the market." He is a popular choice among private banks, trust companies and fiduciary service providers, which he advises on matters such as the establishment and administration of trusts. 


Projects & Energy: Domestic- Singapore (Band 2) 
Ranked Lawyer: Shemane Chan (Band 3) 

What the team is known for
 
A broad practice acting for project developers, project sponsors, IPPs and contractors on various elements of project development. Active on significant transactions in the energy sector. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Pragmatic advice: "They really understand issues and provide practical advice." 

Breadth of services: "They have a broad base of expertise in projects and construction."

Work highlights 
Acts for the project sponsor on all aspects of the establishment and operation of a coal-fired power plant in Malaysia, including the financing, development and power purchase arrangements. 

Acts for two IPPs in relation to the disposal of their assets, addressing significant regulatory hurdles. 

Notable practitioners 
Shemane Chan has acted for a range of sponsors and contractors on project financing and development. Recent highlights include acting on a major infrastructure development in a South Pacific jurisdiction, and handling EPC contract work for a Chinese state-owned enterprise. 

Significant clients
Thiess Contractors Indonesia, Downer Engineering, Senoko Energy, Marubeni. 


Banking & Finance: Domestic - Singapore (Band 3) 
Ranked Lawyers: Angela Lim (Band 2), Terence Choo (Band 3) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 6 partners 
- 4 qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
An all-round practice that covers the gamut of transactional, regulatory and contentious banking matters. Active in cross-border deals, particularly those involving Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China and Malaysia. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Client service: "They are able to communicate very well and are patient with clients." 

What's new? 
CWT, Bank Permata and Starhill Global Real Estate Investment Trust secured as new clients. 

Work highlights 
Advised Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust on a syndicated loan of HKD12.15 billion to finance its acquisition of a retail mall in Hong Kong and an office building in Beijing. 

Notable practitioners 
Angela Lim has significant experience in cross-border transactions, particularly in Thailand and Indonesia. She was a lead partner for Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust on a syndicated loan to finance its acquisition of real estate in Hong Kong and Beijing and is praised for being "a very client-oriented lawyer with a practical approach to negotiation." 

Terence Choo is highly regarded for his broad expertise, which encompasses acquisition, project and trade finance as well as debt restructuring. 

Significant clients 
United Overseas Bank, OCBC, DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, CIMB. 


Capital Markets: Domestic - Singapore (Band 3) 
Ranked Lawyers: Chia Kim Huat (Band 2), Evelyn Wee (Band 3) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 15 partners 
- 16 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
Handles both domestic deals and cross-border transactions covering jurisdictions such as Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Hong Kong. Enjoys a strong standing with many S-chips listed on the Main Board of the SGX-ST, due to the firm's deep experience of the PRC market. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
International expertise: "We wanted somebody who could understand the complications related to cross-border deals and they have responded particularly well to our needs." 

Turnaround time: "They work almost 24-hour days and that ensured we were able to push through the deal within a short window." 

What's new? 
Secured Chum China Growth Equity Investment and TCA International as new clients. 

Work highlights
Acted for Religare Health Trust Trustee Manager and Fortis Healthcare on the SGD510.7 million IPO of Religare Health Trust. 

Advised GLL IHT as the issuer and GuocoLand as the guarantor on a SGD3 billion multicurrency MTN and perpetual securities programme. 

Notable practitioners 
Head of the corporate and capital markets practice Chia Kim Huat is acknowledged for his skilled handling of IPOs, secondary fund-raising and debt transactions. His practice also includes advising companies on sponsoring REITs and business trusts. Recent mandates include the Religare Health Trust IPO. 

Sources describe Evelyn Wee as "a very detailed lawyer who puts in a lot of care for her clients." Her practice spans listings, M&A, joint ventures, and private equity and venture capital investments. 

Significant clients 
China Minzhong Food, Gallant Venture, OCBC, CIMB, Minerva Capital. 


Dispute Resolution: Arbitration - Singapore (Band 3) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 12 partners 
- 15 associates 

What the team is known for 
Long experience in handling cross-border arbitrations for domestic and international clients. An extensive network of branches and affiliate offices provides coverage from the Middle East to Japan. Wide range of industry areas covered, including construction, energy and resources, hospitality, shipping and telecommunications. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Efficiency: "They were great: impressive legal knowledge and very efficient." 

Responsiveness: "They met deadlines, were always available, even given a substantial time difference, and came up to speed quickly on our business needs." 

What's new? 
Hazel Tang and Paul Tan were promoted to the partnership, and partner Kelvin Poon joined the practice through an internal transfer. 

Notable practitioners 
Andre Yeap SC heads the practice. 


Tax: Domestic- Singapore (Band 3) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 3 partners 
- 3 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
A broad practice that is particularly active on income tax and stamp duty matters. 

What's new? 
Partner Irving Aw joined the team in June 2013. He was previously at Jones Day. 

Notable practitioners 
Irving Aw is a key contact for the team. 


Intellectual Property: Domestic - Singapore (Band 4) 

Basic facts about the department 
- 5 partners 
- 5 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for 
Noted for IP work in the technology space, including handling a range of patent and copyright-related disputes. Also active on other enforcement, licensing and transactional matters. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Depth of knowledge: "I am very happy – the quality of the work is excellent and their analysis is very good." 

What's new? 
New client wins include Tiong Seng Holdings and Onward Kashiyama Singapore. 

Work highlights 
Advised UEFA on IP enforcement issues connected to the Euro 2012 tournament. 

Notable practitioners 
Kok Keng Lau heads the IP department. 

Significant clients 
Temenos Singapore, Government of Singapore, ST Electronics, Sony, Lenovo. 


Asia Pacific Region – Arbitration (International) (Band 4) 

What the team is known for 
Established presence across a number of Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, with particularly long-standing prominence in the Singapore arbitration market. Recently active on international disputes for clients across South-East Asia, in such sectors as manufacturing, real estate and IT. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Market standing: "Increasingly on the radar of both domestic clients wanting to use them for international work, and of international clients." 

Pragmatic advice: "A really responsive team, providing tactical advice." 

Notable practitioners
Andre Yeap SC is the head of the firm's international arbitration team and the primary point of contact. 

Date of Story:25 February 2014