Australian firm Gadens Lawyers has opened an office in Singapore.

Gadens has recruited former Clifford Chance energy counsel Marc Rathbone to serve as managing partner of the new office. Gadens real estate partner Laresa Koscharsky has also relocated from Sydney to Singapore.

“Australian companies are looking at Asia for their growth. So consequently it’s a natural progression for us” to open in Singapore, Rathbone said in an interview. He added that the office initially would focus on the two partners’ specialty areas but expected to expand into other areas with time.

Rathbone specializes in oil and gas, petrochemicals, mining and power-related transactions, particularly in Southeast Asian emerging markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar. Prior to joining Clifford Chance six years ago, he was an in-house counsel at Australia’s national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Koscharsky joined 550-lawyer Gadens slightly over a year ago from DLA Piper, where she was also a partner and had worked at the firm for 11 years.

The Singapore office is Gadens’ first operation outside of Australia aside from an office in Papua New Guinea.