Norton Rose Fulbright has entered into a formal law alliance in Singapore with disputes boutique Ascendant Legal.
Founded in 2016, Ascendant has seven lawyers and is headed by managing director Chew Kei-Jin, a former partner of disputes boutique Tan Rajah & Cheah. A second director, Yeo Chuan-Tat, was a former partner of commercial boutique Oon & Bazul.
The alliance, Norton Rose Fulbright Ascendant, allows Norton Rose Fulbright to provide local litigation advice in addition to its current offering. The global firm has a Qualifying Foreign Law Practices (QFLP) license, which allows it to practice limited areas of Singaporean law that do not include litigation. The firm’s current license is due to expire in 2020.
Norton Rose Fulbright is the second QFLP firm to also enter into a formal law alliance, following Clifford Chance’s arrangement with Cavenagh Law in 2012. Former QFLP firm Herbert Smith Freehills formed its alliance in 2015 with local firm Prolegis after dropping the license the previous year.
Ong Yu-En, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Singapore office head, said in a statement that the alliance represents the firm’s commitment to continue investing in the city-state and Southeast Asia. The firm opened its Singapore office in 1982 and has more than 60 lawyers, including 19 partners.
International firms have been expanding their Singapore practice in recent years. Earlier this month, K&L Gates and Withers each merged with Singapore firms, and in 2017, Ashurst, CMS, and Watson Farley & Williams all formed formal law alliances.