For most of the past decade, the Singapore joint law venture (JLV) program, which required international firms to pair with local firms to practice Singapore law, has been seen as an unmitigated disaster.

Of the nine such JLVs launched between 2000 and 2003, only three — Linklaters Allen & Gledhill, Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee, and Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow — remain. The rest folded, some only a few months in, with the blame cast on everything from personality conflicts to intra-venture competition. In 2008, when Singapore began licensing foreign firms to practice local law as Qualifying Foreign Law Practices (QFLPs), it seemed that the JLV’s last days were approaching.

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