Legal news in brief


SICC support bill passes

Singapore’s parliament has passed the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Bill 2017, giving the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) jurisdiction to hear international commercial arbitration-related court proceedings, CMS Singapore reported.

The amendment clarifies that the SICC can hear matters related to, among others, the enforcement or setting aside of arbitral awards that are traditionally referred to the High Court for adjudication.

BTG opens second office

Osborne Clark’s best friend in India, BTG Legal, has opened an office in Bengaluru. The office has three lawyers and is currently located in a WeWork space.

BTG Legal is headed by Prashant Mara, who was an associate at Osborne Clark in Germany before returning to Mumbai to set up the firm in 2014. BTG Legal currently has 20 lawyers, which includes four partners.

Cooley opens Beijing office

US firm Cooley has opened a Beijing office and recruited investment funds lawyer Xun Zeng from Ropes & Gray as its first resident partner.

Two Cooley associates have moved from Cooley’s Shanghai office to support the launch. The firm has four China-based partners who will be dividing their time between the Beijing and Shanghai offices: Pang Lee, Patrick Loofbourrow, James Lu and Christina Zhang.

KWM attracts virtual interns

King & Wood Mallesons has launched Australia’s first virtual experience internship programme with help from InsideSherpa, attracting more than 1,000 applications from 42 universities.

KWM chief executive partner Beverley Cox said the plan was devised to allow students to mirror the work carried out by trainees in the law firm via the online platform. InsideShepa’s website also lists Clifford Chance’s Australian offices as a participant.

Mayer assists in divestment

Mayer Brown JSM represented Standard Chartered APR and Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) on the divestment of 154 million of their shares in Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), one of Vietnam’s largest private sector banks. The shares represent 15% of ACB’s capital.

The Mayer team was led by Ho Chi Minh City-based corporate and securities partner David Harrison and included partner Hoang Anh Nguyen (Hanoi) and senior associate Orsolya Szotyory-Grove (Ho Chi Minh City).

Troutman closes doors

US law firm Troutman Sanders announced it is winding down its Asian operations and closing its offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing after 20 years in the region.

The firm said that, after a strategic review it had concluded, there was not sufficient business overlap with the rest of the firm.

The offices will close from the end of May, impacting a total of 30 lawyers.

Catherine McBride, Latham & Watkins
Catherine McBride
Latham & Watkins

Latham adds 2 HK partners

Latham & Watkins announced that Catherine McBride and Benjamin Su have joined the firm’s offices in Hong Kong.

McBride is a contentious regulatory partner and will be a member of the white collar defence & investigations practice. Su has rejoined the firm from Kirkland & Ellis as a partner in the corporate department.

Baker assists in health buy-up

Baker McKenzie acted for Australian probiotic market leader Life-Space Group owners in the sale of 100% of its shares to China-based BY-HEALTH Group.

The transaction is subject to customary approvals and implies an enterprise value for Life-Space Group of up to A$690 million (US$542 million). Baker’s lead partner on the transaction was Richard Lustig.

HHP hires M&A expert

Gerrit Jan Kleute has joined HHP Law Firm from Clifford Chance, where he worked in the firm’s offices in Amsterdam, London, Singapore and Jakarta (through its associated firm LWP).

Jan Kleute brings experience in M&A, restructuring, contractual and corporate partnerships, joint ventures and private equity.

K&L Gates adds banking counsel

K&L Gates has recruited Kamil Gerard Ahmed as a counsel in its banking and asset finance practice in Singapore.

Ahmed joins the firm from Clifford Chance, where he was a senior associate in the asset finance practice of their Bangkok and Singapore offices.

Ahmed has experience advising on the financing, leasing, trading and repackaging of aircraft and equipment assets, including tax-driven structures.

BLP closes in Myanmar

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is closing its office in Myanmar following a strategic review.

The firm has had a base in the country since late 2015, when it hired Baker McKenzie’s former Yangon office managing partner Chris Hughes to lead the launch.

Walkers hires offshore expert

Walkers announced that Callum McNeil has joined its Hong Kong office as a partner in the firm’s insolvency, restructuring and dispute resolution group.

McNeil has focused on offshore law, working in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the Cayman Islands and Guernsey, with particular expertise in investment funds disputes, shareholder disputes, cross-border insolvency and trust litigation.

HFW recruits 3 partners

Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) has hired three new partners to strengthen its Singapore office, taking the firm to 18 partners in the city-state.

Finance partner Siri Wennevik joins from Wikborg Rein, energy partner Alistair Duffield was Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Southeast Asia head until 2015 and has recently been leading a legal consultancy, while corporate partner Ivan Chia joins from Watson Farley & Williams.

2 Partners switch firms to K&L Gates

K&L Gates has appointed two partners with expertise in infrastructure to their offices in Melbourne. Luke Westmore and Zac Kerr join K&L Gates from Mills Oakley.

Westmore has more than 16 years of experience working as a projects and infrastructure lawyer, while Kerr concentrates his practice on transport, energy, water and social infrastructure projects.

Norton hires disputes expert

Norton Rose Fulbright announced that disputes lawyer Penelope Ford has been recruited as a partner in Perth.

Ford is moving from Minter Ellison, and has a particular focus on managing complex, high stakes construction disputes.

White & Case in Tashkent

White & Case has opened an office in Uzbekistan capital, Tashkent, focusing on disputes and large cross-border matters.The firm has been active in the country for more than 25 years, including representing the Uzbekistan government and overseas investors on significant arbitration and trade matters.

AnJie recruits dispute expert

AnJie Law Firm has hired Wu Yuanyuan to its Shanghai office as a partner in the firm’s antitrust practice focusing on both antitrust and commercial
dispute resolution.

Wu is a lead lawyer on antitrust compliance and risk management for Chinese and foreign-invested enterprises, and is also a member of the competition and antitrust committee with the Shanghai Bar Association.

Norton Rose adds partner

Norton Rose Fulbright has announced energy and resources partner Gavin Scott joined its Brisbane office.

Previously at Ashurst, Scott has a corporate advisory practice with a front-end energy and resources focus. He brings over 20 years’ experience of developing natural resources projects in Australia, PNG and Indonesia.

Hire for Han Kun

Yang Tiecheng has joined Han Kun Law Offices as a partner in its Beijing office. Yang has more than 20 years’ experience advising clients on financial services in China, and has moved the firm from Clifford Chance.