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DLA last week became the second national firm to venture into the fast-growing Singapore market, as the firm signed up a new member for its international alliance – at the same time as opening a local office. From 1 October, the 21-lawyer J Koh & Co will formally join D&P, the UK firm’s exclusive alliance of international firms, building on DLA’s presence in France, Belgium, Spain and Hong Kong.The firm is the third alliance member DLA has bagged in recent months, with Dutch firm Schut & Grosheide and Italian firm De Berti Jacchia Perno & Associati now both signed up to become full D&P members from 1 January.Formed in 1995, J Koh specialises in project finance, M&A, structured debt and securities.The Singapore office, which will be headed by DLA’s Hong Kong-based partner Mike Melwood-Smith, will initially focus on shipping, marine insurance and international trade disputes.DLA’s Singapore venture is the latest evidence of the firm’s increasing focus on the Far East, having recently applied for a license to allow it to open an office in Shanghai.Commenting on the move, DLA managing partner Nigel Knowles said: “We could not ignore [Singapore's] importance to our clients. It was the natural choice for DLA to open here and, because of the Singapore practice rules, enter into an exclusive alliance with J Koh.”DLA’s move comes after national rival Eversheds set up a formal alliance in August with Singapore firm Khattar Wong & Partners.Eversheds head of international, Victor Semmens, said that Singapore was becoming one of the most important markets in Southeast Asia. “It is very dynamic and it is where the clients want you to be.”

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