Asia Business Law Journal reveals Indonesia’s top 100 lawyers in 2020. Putro Harnowo reports

To be one of Indonesia’s top lawyers, one needs a “broad range of experience which will guarantee that clients receive a full range of services to their satisfaction,” according Yudhistira Setiawan, vice president, corporate legal and litigation, of Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), describing Soenardi Pardi, a partner at Hendra Soenardi.

“Dedicated and very talented,” is the way Peter Lawrence, an associate general counsel at Kofax in the US, describes M Iqbal Hadromi, the founding partner of Hadromi & Partners.

“[Hadromi] helped our international business overcome several obstacles and challenges in various complex corporate business and litigation matters. His professionalism and pragmatic solution-oriented approach to handling client legal matters are strong assets and attributes that in-house counsel value above all else,” he adds.

These are just a few of the many comments and nominations submitted by the clients of Indonesian lawyers, suggesting that they not only look for lawyers with a deep knowledge of the law, but those who are responsive and offering the best customer service, apart from also providing practical business advice.

Such qualities are particularly important for helping clients stay informed about the country’s complex legal landscape. Many A-List lawyers have been trusted by loyal clients for decades as the go-to person for dealing with litigation and dispute resolution matters.

In addition, most international clients seek out Indonesian lawyers who have a range of expertise, and an international mindset.

top lawyersSpotlighting the individual

The fourth-most-populous country in the world, and the largest economy in Southeast Asia, is home to a young workforce – about 60% of the population is 40 or under and the median age is 29 – making it appealing to start-ups. The digital economy has a special place in the country of more than 143 million internet users, and home to most of Southeast Asia’s unicorns.

In an orchestrated effort to boost investment, the archipelago has geared up to tackle supply chain problems that it has faced for decades by drafting infrastructure projects worth US$429.7 billion for 2020-2024. This figure is up 20% from US$359.2 billion in projects completed in 2015-2019.

However, the country remains in the same spot as last year on the Ease of Doing Business 2020 report’s index, at 73 of 190 countries, and it is ranked fifth among ASEAN countries. The report points out rigid labour and minimum wage regulations as the main issues. Amid a worsening global economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges in the legal landscape for businesses may increase significantly in the near future.

It is against this backdrop that Asia Business Law Journal presents its A-list of the top 100 lawyers (including foreign legal consultants/advisers/counsel) practising in Indonesia (see the list of all 100 lawyers and the key practice areas for which they are endorsed). The list is based on extensive research conducted and nominations received from in-house counsel based in Indonesia and elsewhere, as well as Indonesia-focused partners at international law firms based outside the country.

Most of the A-List lawyers are located in the country’s massive capital and largest central business district, Jakarta, which serves as a melting pot of state-owned enterprises and central government offices, a financial hub of the archipelago, and an incubator for many exciting start-ups. As would be expected, the A-list comprises the heads of many of Indonesia’s top law firms, as well as talented practitioners at several smaller and specialist firms. They include: Ahmad Fikri Assegaf, a partner and co-founder at Assegaf Hamzah and Partners; Tony Budidjaja, a managing partner at Budidjaja International Lawyers; Bagus Nur Buwono, a managing partner at Bagus Enrico & Partners; Mohamed Idwan Ganie, a managing partner at Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo; Luhut Pangaribuan, the founder of Luhut Marihot Parulian Pangaribuan; Suhardi Somomoeljono, a managing partner at SSA Advocates; Fred Tumbuan, a founder and senior partner at Tumbuan & Partners; and Ary Zulfikar, a managing partner at AZP Legal Consultants.

International accolade

Jason Lloyd, a partner at Porter Hedge in the US, recommends Hadromi for being “very responsive and, aside from his deep knowledge of Indonesian law, he provides practical business advice that is indispensable in helping us and our clients make informed, prudent decisions”.

top lawyers“Iqbal is prompt, provides clear, sound advice not just on the law, but more importantly, giving a solution-based approach towards resolution of disputes and recovery for the clients,” says John Sze, the deputy managing partner at JTJB in Singapore, who also praises Hadromi’s colleague, Alexander Nainggolan.

“Alex is a very experienced corporate lawyer who always provides clearly thought-out advice for execution of corporate deals in Indonesia. His meticulous approach gives clients great assurance that they will be able to conclude their deals and execute their business plans in Indonesia without unexpected hurdles or regulatory issues.”

Another A-List lawyer, Rio Lassatrio, partner at LHBM Counsel, received high praise from H Jay Kallman at the US-based Law Offices of H Jay Kallman, as “an outstanding, knowledgeable and diligent lawyer. The best lawyer I have interacted with in Indonesia, from among many.”

Ikang Dharyanto, a counsel at Nishimura Asahi in Singapore, agrees. “Rio is very professional and an experienced lawyer. He always has practical solutions to our issues,” he says.

David Duncan, consultant at Tilleke & Gibbins International in Thailand, describes Agus Ahadi Deradjat, a senior partner at ABNR, as “knowledgeable as an individual, and also has a great team with whom he works. I am continually impressed with his knowledge and how efficiently and quickly he produces quality work.”

Bintang Hidayanto, a partner at Guido Hidyanto & Partners, is praised by David Platt, a partner at Pinsent Masons MPillay in Singapore, as “an enthusiastic and extremely commercial and responsive oil and gas, corporate, and M&A lawyer”.

High praise

Soenardi Pardi, of Hendra Soenardi, receives praise from a number of clients in Indonesia. “Soenardi is really sharp at grasping and dissecting the issues, which leads to the most efficient solution,” says PrivyID’s CEO, Marshall Pribadi, who also praises other Hendra Soenardi partner Oscar Damarjati, for having “a keen understanding about our deep-tech business, which is the most needed skill for lawyers in this 4.0 era.”

Damarjati is also recommended by Setiawan, of ITDC, as, “a young energetic lawyer who has broad legal knowledge. He always finds alternative solutions to any legal matters of the client, and gives us an example in a simple way so that the client can easily understand his advice or opinion.”

Andreas Hartono, a senior partner at Andreas Sheila & Partners, is “a very thorough and competent, professional lawyer who always has my company’s best interests in mind,” says Isti Kusumawati, legal group head at Shimizu Corporation in Indonesia. “We are always well informed in almost all matters related to our business, and we always feel like our company is in very good hands.”

top lawyersIrawan Wijayanto, a group financial controller at Bintraco Dharma in Indonesia, recommends ABNR’s partner, Freddy Karyadi, for “his deep knowledge in law related to public company and advisory in corporate action”.

In a similar note, Leks &Co’s managing partner, Eddy Leks, is recommended by Rama Mahendra, a legal manager at Country Garden Group in Indonesia, as “one of the experts in Indonesian real estate law”.

A-list women lawyers

Chandrawati Dewi, partner at ABNR, is described as “very capable, experienced and dependable” by Cheon Kim, international legal director of Alticor Inc, in the US.

Not to be outshone by their male peers, a good portion of the A-list was filled by Indonesia’s leading women lawyers including: Helena Adnan, a senior partner at Adnan Kelana Haryanto & Hermanto; Melli Darsa, founder and senior partner at Melli Darsa & Co, who was recently named one of Globe Asia’s 99 most powerful woman in Indonesia; Ira Eddymurthy, a founding partner at SSEK Legal Consultants, who is a member of the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA); Irawati Hermawan, managing partner at Hermawan Juniarto, who is currently active in several organizations such as the Indonesia Chambers of Commerce, the Indonesia Transport Society and the Indonesia Advocates Association; and Aurora Nia Holm, the co-founder of Kyora Law Firm, with extensive expertise in corporate law in Indonesia and Singapore.

Compiling the A-List

The A-List is based on extensive research conducted by Asia Business Law Journal. To identify the top 100 lawyers in Indonesia, we turned to thousands of in-house counsel in Indonesia and around the world – as well as partners at international law firms – and asked them to tell us which lawyers should make the cut.

Nominations were made by professionals at a wide range of Indonesian and global companies, financial institutions and law firms, including: Adaro Energy, Agung Podomoro Group, Alticor Inc, Aplika Karya Solusi Bisnis, Aquifer COnsulting, Archi Indonesia, Assuranceforeningen Skuld, Astra International, Austrex, Bali Towerindo Sentra, Bank BTN, BFI Finance, Bird & Bird ATMD, Bireven and Partners, Clyde & Co, Country Garden Group, DOP Law Corporation, East Ventures, Elken Global, Henkel, Indonesia Stock Exchange, Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), JTJB, Kalla Group, Kennedys, Kofax, MDI Venture, Milbank, Nishimura & Asahi, Pinsent Masons MPillay, PT AXA Mandiri, PT Berau Coal, PT SMART, Reckitt Benckiser, Saratoga Investama Sedaya, Shimizu Corporation, Tilleke & Gibbins International, Tokopedia, Vantage Drilling International, ZICO Holdings, and many more.

The final list reflects the nominations received combined with Asia Business Law Journal editorial team’s more than 30 years of collective experience in documenting and analyzing Indonesia’s legal market.

All Indonesian private-practice lawyers were automatically eligible for inclusion in the nominations process and, as always, there were no fees or any other requirements for entry.

The names and photographs of all 100 A-list lawyers are published here. In addition, each A-list lawyer was given the opportunity to include their biography and contact details, for which a publishing fee was charged.

It is important to note that while the compilation of the A-list was based solely on independent editorial research, the biographies and contact details that appear alongside many of the listings have been written by the participating lawyers and the content has not been independently verified by Asia Business Law Journal.

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