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Singapore shipping firm Joseph Tan Jude Benny Anne Choo (JTJB) has started a law office franchise system in a bid to rapidly build a global maritime practice.The first franchise buyer is a Canadian shipping boutique Koh, based in Vancouver, and will pay the Singapore firm an undisclosed annual fee for the use of the name.Franchisees are expected to work within the JTJB group and refer work to the other firms. However, they will not share profits.Lawyers from the 10 equity partner JTJB head office in Singapore will take responsibility for monitoring the franchise and marketing in each jurisdiction.Once the Vancouver franchise is up and running the firm plans to add new members to the network in cities with major ports such as New York, Montreal and Bombay.The JTJB firm already has three foreign offices in Piraeus, Bangkok and Hamburg, which are each staffed by an equity partner of the Singapore firm.Name partner Jude Benny said the firm would not aim to merge with the franchises and instead was focussed on building a global shipping firm that could compete with other major players in the niche practice area.Benny added that the firm would not be looking for a franchise in London as the firm already had referral relations with a number of City firms, including Richards Butler.He added that although firms such as Baker & McKenzie had been criticised in the past over setting up offices in a franchise-style structure he was not worried.“If we could be as successful as Baker & McKenzie that would be great,” he said.

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