Singapore. Photo:

Watson Farley & Williams has entered a new relationship in Singapore by forming a formal law alliance with local firm Wong Tan & Molly Lim.

The new alliance, dubbed WFW & WTL, followed a breakup of the U.K. firm’s previous Singapore relationship in 2016 when it ended a five-year joint venture with local firm Asia Practice.

Wong Tan & Molly Lim is led by managing director Sunny Wong and chair Molly Lim, who co-founded the firm in 1987 after practicing at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in the city-state. Wong is a banking and finance lawyer while Lim specializes in litigation.

The firm, which has six directors, focuses on corporate and banking, litigation and arbitration and real estate.

The tie-up gives Watson Farley a full-service Singapore law practice, including the ability to handle local court proceedings.

“Our alliance with Wong Tan & Molly Lim is another step forward in our strategic focus on strengthening our services offering within our core sectors,” said Watson Farley managing partner Chris Lowe, who also oversaw the firm’s Singapore operation between 2001 and 2012.

Joint Law Ventures and Formal Law Alliances were introduced by the Singapore government in the early 2000s to encourage collaboration between Singapore and international legal professions. The two structures are similar in that they both grant foreign firm access to full-service Singaporean law practice. However, formal law alliances are generally considered the more flexible option as they do not require the creation of a separate legal entity. Under a joint law venture, firms collaborate while remaining distinct entities.

Other firms that recently launched an FLA in Singapore include CMS and Reed Smith. Simmons & Simmons formed a JLV with local firm JWS Asia Law in 2016.