Clifford Chance has entered into a formal law alliance with newly established Singapore litigation boutique Cavenagh Law.
The U.K. Magic Circle firm says the alliance is intended to help its clients gain access to local litigation and dispute resolution counsel in the city-state. Clifford Chance holds a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice license, which allows it to practice Singapore law in corporate and commercial transactions but not to litigate in local courts.
Cavenagh Law was created in October for the purpose of entering into a formal alliance with Clifford Chance. The firm has three partners, two of whom — managing partner Harpreet Singh and energy and infrastructure disputes specialist Paul Sandosham — joined from WongPartnership, one of Singapore’s largest firms and Clifford Chance’s former partner in a joint law venture. The third is current Clifford Chance partner Nish Shetty, who heads the firm’s Singapore international arbitration and disputes resolution practice.
According to Shetty, who joined Clifford Chance from WongPartnership in 2009, all three will be partners concurrently at both Cavenagh and Clifford Chance. Cavenagh takes its name from a Victorian-era pedestrian bridge that crosses the Singapore River near the financial district.
A firm spokeswoman says Singapore regulations permit the allied firms to market themselves under a common brand. For Clifford Chance and Cavenagh, that will be “Clifford Chance Asia.”
“We can now offer our clients high quality advice and service across the broadest range of Singapore and international law expertise available in the market,” says Geraint Hughes, Clifford Chance’s Singapore managing partner, in a statement. “As transactions and, consequently, disputes become ever more cross-border, our clients increasingly need and want to access this expertise from one platform in Singapore.”
Singh only joined WongPartnership earlier this year from another major Singapore firm, Drew & Napier, where he had also been a partner and practiced for 18 years. Singh, who was appointed a Singapore Senior Counsel, the local equivalent of a British Queen’s Counsel, in 2007, has been active in many of the island nation’s highest-profile criminal cases. He recently represented Howard Shaw, a member of one of Singapore’s wealthiest families and one of 51 men accused in a major scandal of having sex with an underage prostitute. Shaw pleaded guilty and received a three-month sentence in July.
Sandosham is returning to Singapore to join Cavenagh after leading the Middle East expansion for WongPartnership for several years, mainly out of that firm’s Abu Dhabi office.
Clifford Chance’s predecessor firms have been operating in Singapore since 1981 and, according to its website, the firm now has more than 60 lawyers in its office there. The firm entered into a joint venture with WongPartnership in 2002 but the firms ended their relationship in November 2008, just before Clifford Chance became one of the first six firms to be granted QFLP status. This year, Singapore opened up more applications to international firms; approvals have not yet been announced.