The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2016 Edition)
Rajah & Tann Singapore has maintained its rankings across practices with an additional ranking this year as the only Singapore firm to be ranked for international arbitration under the Regional International Arbitration category.
Editorials & Ranking
The relevant extracts from the Asia Pacific Legal 500 editorial are as follows:
Rajah & Tann
Regional International Arbitration (Tier 3)
Rajah & Tann LLP has one of the leading practices in Singapore in terms of strength in depth and breadth of expertise in high-end matters. It is also able to call upon the knowledge of individuals within its sizeable network of offices (and alliances with local firms), which spans South East Asia, including countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. In Singapore, Andre Yeap SC’s team has a strong track-record representing both states and investors in the investment treaty arena. On the international commercial arbitration side, it acts for parties from all over the world on matters spanning a broad spectrum of industries, with arbitrations seated in Asia and beyond. Further afield, Logan Leung and Chau Huy Quang are names to note in Vietnam.
Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP
International Arbitration (Tier 2)
Leading Individuals: Francis Xavier SC, Andre Yeap SC
Rajah & Tann LLP’s team has a strong track-record in high-stakes commercial arbitrations, spanning a wide range of areas, including shipping and insolvency. Kelvin Poon is representing a German technology company in a €100m joint venture dispute. Elsewhere, investment treaty arbitrations are a particular strong suit of the practice. Andre Yeap SC’s group includes the ‘exceptionally bright’ Paul Tan and recent hire Tan Chuan Thye SC, who joined from Stamford Law Corporation.
Banking and finance: Local firms (Tier 2)
Leading Individual(s): Choo Hock Soon
The ‘client-focused’ team at Rajah & Tann LLP shines in high-end domestic and cross-border transactions, acting for borrowers and lenders. In 2014, Angela Lim, Tan Shu Fern, Shemane Chan and Tan Suyin acted for Panca Amara Utama in financing the $800m development of a greenfield ammonia production plant in Indonesia. On the lender side, Lim led the advice to a syndicate of international banks in relation to S$2.1bn syndicated revolving credit facilities to Singtel Group. The group has notable regulatory capabilities, where Regina Liew is singled out for her ‘strong technical skills’.
Capital Markets: Local firms (Tier 2)
Leading Individual(s): Kim Huat Chia
Rajah & Tann LLP’s ‘strong, responsive team’ handled five IPOs in 2014. It also worked with other offices within the firm’s regional network to act as issuer’s counsel in Japfa’s S$1.38bn IPO and listing on the SGX main board. In addition to equity transactions, the practice is recommended for debt work, structured finance and securitisations. Another area of strength is in REITs and business trusts, where practitioners act for both issuers and underwriters. Key individuals in the group include Serene Yeo, Chia Kim Huat and Evelyn Wee.
Corporate and M&A: Local firms (Tier 2)
Rajah & Tann LLP has a strong track record in both public and private M&A, and leverages its extensive regional network of offices and associations with other firms across South East Asia and China to provide a full service to clients on cross-border matters. It also has dedicated Singapore-based desks focusing on Japan and South Asia transactions. Reflecting the bench strength of the heavyweight team in Singapore, 55 lawyers specialise in M&A, while 30 advise on related matters such as competition, regulatory and insurance issues. Goh Kian Hwee, Lawrence Tan and Serene Yeo are leading the advice to United Overseas Bank in its proposed acquisition of Far Eastern Bank. Other notable individuals in the team include Abdul Jabbar Bin Karam Din, Cynthia Goh and Desmond Wee.
Dispute Resolution: Local firms (Tier 1)
Leading Individuals: Francis Xavier SC, Andre Yeap SC
Rajah & Tann LLP has ‘some of the best lawyers in the region; they are quick, commercial and practical’. With a deep bench of Singapore-based practitioners, and an extensive regional network, it is well placed to handle domestic and cross-border disputes, across areas such as banking and finance, shareholders’ disputes and corporate insolvency. Francis Xavier SC is representing White Energy Company in a $750m cross-border joint venture dispute. Patrick Ang is defending Standard Chartered in litigation arising from the multibillion-dollar fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff. Lee Eng Beng SC has ‘a sharp legal mind’, and Andre Yeap SC, Danny Ong and ‘leading financial services lawyer’ K Muralidharan Pillai are also recommended. Tan Chuan Thye SC joined from Stamford Law Corporation, and Mohammed Reza moved to JWS Asia Law Corporation.
Employment: Local firms (Tier 1)
Leading Individual(s): Desmond Wee
Rajah & Tann LLP acts for clients such as Hewlett-Packard and Procter & Gamble. The sizable team includes Francis Xavier SC, who heads the contentious side of the practice, and Desmond Wee, who leads in non-contentious work. K Muralidharan Pillai recently defended AXA against breach of duty, defamation and malicious falsehood claims made by an ex-director.
Intellectual Property: Local firms (Tier 2)
Leading Individual: Kok Keng Lau
Department head Lau Kok Keng, Nicholas Lauw and Wendy Low are stand-out practitioners at Rajah & Tann LLP. The former advised the Singapore Sports Council on Southeast Asian Games matters, including logo registration. The firm is adept in local and cross-border trade mark and patent disputes.
Projects and Energy: Local firms (Tier 1)
Rajah & Tann LLP’s wide-ranging practice includes areas such as mining, infrastructure, oil and gas, and power. The team is regularly sought after to advise on matters ranging from inception and development of projects to financing and disputes for a broad base of regional and international clients. Shemane Chan, Angela Lim, Tan Suyin and Tan Shu Fern were the key partners involved in advising PAU on a circa-$800m greenfield ammonia plant in Indonesia, including assisting with the procurement structure and negotiating project finance. Andre Yeap SC and Soh Lip San jointly lead the team.
Real Estate and Construction: Local firms (Tier 1)
Andre Yeap SC and Soh Lip San jointly lead Rajah & Tann LLP’s construction practice, which has a strong focus on disputes, and spans projects involving land reclamation, oil and gas, and transport infrastructure. Margaret Chin and Elsa Chai head the real estate group, where expertise includes investments, financing, joint ventures and en bloc transactions. In 2014, Lim Mei Ann acted for the vendor in the S$170m sale and leaseback of a REIT.
Restructuring and Insolvency: Local firms (Tier 1)
Leading Individuals: Patrick Ang, Eng Beng Lee SC
Rajah & Tann LLP’s sector expertise in areas such as shipping, energy and financial services strengthens its capabilities in large, complex mandates. Danny Ong is leading the team’s advice to the liquidators of Dynamic Oil Trading, while Sim Kwan Kiat is acting for PT Bumi Resources and its Singapore subsidiaries in a high-profile debt restructuring; both matters have cross-border complexities.
Shipping: Local firms (Tier 1)
Leading Individuals: Leong Kah Wah, Kian Sing Toh SC
Rajah & Tann LLP successfully acted for Transocean Oil in the Court of Appeal. Toh Kian Sing SC leads the 15-partner team, which is ‘undisputedly’ a ‘market leader’. Leong Kah Wah, Jainil Bhandari and Ian Teo are esteemed. Kendall Tan is ‘exceptionally knowledgeable’ in both dry and wet matters.
TMT: Local firms (Tier 1)
Leading Individuals: Rajesh Sreenivasan, Steve Tan
Rajah & Tann LLP provides ‘one of the best legal service experiences’. The team thrived on data protection matters during 2014 and 2015, and in this context, Lionel Tan advised Fitness First on compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act. Practice head Rajesh Sreenivasan is highly regarded and Steve Tan’s ‘expertise is infectious’. Clients include Red Bull Media House and Google Asia Pacific.