Asia Business Law Journal names the country’s top law firms. Lim Miran and Linda Silaen report
outheast Asia’s largest economy is demonstrating firm resilience to compounding global headwinds, with anticipated GDP growth of 5% this year and 5.2% in 2023, reflected by a flurry of projects, M&A transactions and listings on the Indonesia Stock Exchange that have kept leading law firms busy.
Harnessing digitalisation is recognised as key to raising productivity and helping the country achieve its higher-income goals by 2045, with the pace set by this year’s headline USD1.1 billion listing of Indonesia’s largest technology group, GoTo. Created from merging the country’s two biggest startups, ride-hailing giant Gojek and e-commerce marketplace Tokopedia, GoTo was the third-largest IPO in Asia and the fifth-largest globally to date this year.
Yet while Indonesia doubtless represents an attractive market for its growing middle class and purchasing power in the world’s fourth most populous country, key underlying challenges remain, not least legal uncertainty due to constant policy changes and bureaucracy, ambiguity of laws, and co-ordination issues between central and local governments.
Among glaring examples, the Ministry of Communication and IT recently blocked many major websites including Yahoo, PayPal and gaming platform Steam for falling short of an amended ministerial regulation criticised as posing a threat to freedom of expression. Late last year, the Constitutional Court of Indonesia also declared the Omnibus Law on Job Creation – which revised 78 laws and regulations in 2020 – as unconstitutional and necessitating revision within two years.
These numerous dynamic changes in a constantly evolving regulatory environment make it more imperative than ever for international businesses to have prudent and reliable legal advisers by their side.
From this perspective, the Asia Business Law Journal’s 2022 Indonesia Law Firm Awards present an interesting mix of traditional independent law firms, major international players and disruptive competitors in a vigorous legal market.
We have identified four law firms that have proven to be the best in the country, and among them, one has risen to the top as Law Firm of the Year. Across the other 22 categories, we have four equal-standing winners.
- Law firm of the year
- Best overall law firms
- Banking & finance
- Capital markets
- Competition & antitrust
- Corporate & commercial
- Data compliance
- Insurance & reinsurance
- IP enforcement
- IP protection
- Labour & employment
- Mergers & acquisitions
- Private equity & venture capital
- Projects & infrastructure
- Real estate
- Restructuring, refinancing & insolvency
- Shipping & maritime
- Structured finance & securitisation
- Technology, media & telecoms
Hadiputranto Hadinoto & Partners (HHP), a member firm of Baker McKenzie, is widely renowned as pre-eminent, with more than 120 lawyers, including 16 partners and two foreign legal consultants, offering state-of-the-art advice on corporate and commercial transactions across a wide range of industries.
HHP has brought a rich understanding of Indonesia’s unique legal and business culture over more than three decades to help its clients execute the most challenging transactions. The international network bolsters integrated solutions across borders by actively sharing the latest legal knowledge and market intelligence with nearly 4,250 attorneys in key business centres.
The firm has recently boosted its management systems by collaborating with legaltech startups on IP portfolio management and AI-powered contract analysis platforms, as well as establishing a digital transformation committee focusing on assisting clients towards digitalisation.
Earlier this year, the firm advised Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings and telecommunications provider Hutchison 3 Indonesia in their landmark USD6 billion merger with Indosat, the Indonesian telecommunications business of Ooredoo, to create Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison. Late last year, HHP also advised Toyota Tsusho’s newly established operating company, Patimban International Car Terminal, on their participation in the car terminal operating business at Patimban New International Port, the first public-private partnership (PPP) in Indonesia’s port sector.
“HHP is the best law firm, their individuals are distinguished from other law firms,” says Rizki Indra Kusuma, managing director of legal at an investment holding company, Rajawali Corpora, in Jakarta.
Marco Dira, compliance manager at plastic products distributor Sekisui Indonesia in Jakarta, agrees. “I believe that HHP is still the market leader,” says Dira.
Ali Budiardjo Nugroho Reksodiputro (ABNR) is one of Indonesia’s oldest law firms, founded in 1967. Backed by 25 partners and more than 100 lawyers, the firm has made its name handling large and complex deals across a spectrum of practice areas over the years.
ABNR is the exclusive member for Indonesia of Lex Mundi, a leading global network of more than 100 independent law firms, giving it the ability to provide clients with a choice of more than 21,000 lawyers from around the world. This collaboration allows the firm to handle even the most difficult cross-border transactions and disputes more easily.
In June, ABNR advised Indonesian retail company Sarinah in a joint venture agreement with Mexico-based conglomerates Omega Group and Swiss-headquartered retailer Dufry to capitalise on the growing opportunities in the airport duty-free business, on the back of an anticipated surge in tourism to Indonesia.
“I have used ABNR for more than 20 years in my three different jobs,” says Sim Siong-Koon, general counsel of Asia-Pacific and Middle East and Africa at Electrolux in Singapore. “They have displayed a high sense of professionalism together with requisite integrity, especially in tricky situations with potential risk exposure.”
Lusia Mira Buanawati, head of legal and corporate affairs at food processing company Kraft Heinz Indonesia in Jakarta, praises the firm for its eagerness to listen and always come up with solutions.
“One of our projects is very challenging in nature and has been ongoing for more than a year, but we are fortunate to have the ABNR team supporting us in solving the challenges,” says Buanawati.
Assegaf Hamzah & Partners (AHP), established in 2001 by Ahmad Fikri Assegaf and Chandra Hamzah, is experiencing consistent and rapid growth, with a reputation for providing high-quality advice to clients, assisting investors in accessing capital, advising financial institutions on their investments, and advising government agencies on breakthrough transactions.
To improve high-end cross-border legal services, AHP has been a member of Singapore’s Rajah & Tann Asia network since 2014. This enables the firm to work seamlessly with domestic, regional and international companies in transactions both in Indonesia and abroad, supported by the combined expertise of more than 500 leading lawyers across the region.
The firm has reaffirmed its renown, navigating featured corporate clients, high net-worth individuals and publicly traded companies through today’s global uncertainty. Most recently, AHP acted as legal adviser for GoTo in its IPO. The company offered 40.61 billion shares at IDR338 per share, making it the largest in the country with a market capitalisation of USD28 billion.
“AHP are a leading firm, and they provide reliable advice,” says Philip Lee, a partner at DLA Piper in Singapore. “They are our go-to firm where the price point permits.”
SSEK Legal Consultants was founded in 1992 by four well-known female lawyers – Dyah Soewito, Retty Suhardiman, Ira Eddymurthy and Agustina Kardono – to form Soewito Suhardiman Eddymurthy Kardono (SSEK). As one of Indonesia’s most respected full-service law firms, it now benefits from three decades of experience helping foreign and local companies navigate Indonesia’s complex regulatory environment to minimise risk, maximise investment and achieve business goals.
In May, SSEK advised Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison in the USD300 million joint venture of its IT subsidiary, Lintasarta, and data centre company Big Data Exchange, establishing the Asia-Pacific’s premier data centre and cloud solutions provider in Indonesia, the largest foreign investment in the country’s data centre sector.
In addition, SSEK advised South Korea’s trading company, POSCO International, in equity transfers with its Singapore holding company, AGPA, and also assisted POSCO to transfer its 85% stake in Indonesian plantation company Bio Inti Agrindo to AGPA.
“With their knowledge and positive attitude, SSEK listens to everything we want in our M&A transactions, even very complicated ones, and delivers exactly that every time,” says Tika Amrina, head of legal advisory at Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison in Jakarta.
Ignatius Andy Law Offices was established in 2014 and has since been recognised as a leading boutique law firm, growing substantially from the rapid expansion of its legal services and client base.
The firm focuses on antitrust matters and dispute resolution, as well as corporate and commercial matters. Its dispute resolution and corporate commercial services include domestic and international civil and commercial proceedings, insolvency, suspension of payments, business competition litigation, domestic and international arbitration, debt restructuring, and corporate and commercial transactions.
As one of the oldest law firms in Indonesia, Dentons HPRP has a team of experienced lawyers highly valued and renowned for being strong and active in the region. With knowledge of regional laws, languages and business customs, the firm offers clients deep local expertise with a global perspective.
“The firm provides prompt and expert advice on insolvency and commercial points,” says Gerard Melling, senior vice president of legal at M&T Aviation USA in California.
Having been assisted on his company’s IPO, Agung Cucun Setiawan, business development director and corporate secretary at real estate developer Saraswanti Indoland Development in Yogyakarta, says: “The lawyers of the firm are very detailed, have strong legal analysis and work on a very on-time schedule.”
Abdul Razzak, managing director at freight forwarder Senator International Indonesia in Jakarta, is also very satisfied with the firm’s assistance. “Dentons HPRP has always been our first choice pertaining to corporate matters and legal representation,” says Razzak.
“The team always rendered us with transparent, sound and practical legal advice towards a successful resolution.”
Nurjadin Sumono Mulyadi & Partners (NSMP) has handled various complex and sophisticated transactions as well as high-profile cases since its establishment in 2006 by Iwan Nurjadin, Ilya Utama Sumono and Mulyadi.
NSMP has collaborated with London-based law firm Bird & Bird since 2014 and has been affiliated with Singapore law firm Wong Alliance since 2010.
The firm’s aviation practice is known for its holistic industry knowledge and significant capability in providing legal services related to aircraft leasing, financing and reorganisation, as well as airport management and dispute resolution. Recently, NSMP acted as the administrator in national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia’s postponement of its debt payment obligation, with total claims exceeding IDR1 trillion (USD70 million).
“NSMP continues to provide high-quality legal advice while understanding the business needs involved in our very niche industry,” says Mita Thalib, head of legal and corporate secretary at beer brewery Multi Bintang Indonesia in Jakarta. “NSMP provides a variety of legal services to our company, from corporate matters to litigation issues, and consistently handles every project in a timely, efficient and excellent manner.”
TNB & Partners is the associate office of Norton Rose Fulbright established in 2016 to offer the world’s leading companies and financial institutions the benefit of corporate, banking and finance and disputes expertise from longstanding local knowledge across a wide range of industry sectors.
TNB & Partners has a strong aviation asset finance practice advising financiers and lessors of various airlines in expanding their fleets in Indonesia. It recently assisted Malaysia’s Aminvestment Bank as facility agent for a number of financiers in a restructuring of financing to Weststar Aviation Services relating to several aircraft, a number of which were leased to Weststar Aviation Indonesia.
The law firm’s aviation practice head, Tasdikiah Siregar, is a member of the Aviation Working Group, a non-profit legal entity of major aircraft manufacturers, financiers and lessors contributing to policies, laws and regulations concerning aircraft leasing and financing globally.
Ginting & Reksodiputro, an associate of UK magic circle law firm Allen & Overy, was founded by Daniel Ginting and Harun Reksodiputro in 2010. For more than a decade, the firm has assisted national, foreign and multinational clients in achieving business goals through valuable advice in navigating the complexities and challenges of Indonesia’s legal environment.
Ginting, the managing partner, is known as one of the leading lawyers in banking, finance and project transactions. Meanwhile, co-founder Reksodiputro is highly respected for his work in M&A, and skills in navigating the intricacies of corporate matters, including share and asset acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate restructurings, investments and divestments.
Makes & Partners proudly holds by its philosophy “solving a legal problem means more than knowing the law” to achieve a result-oriented approach and high completion rate. The independent law firm was founded in 1993 by Yozua Makes to provide clients with high-quality, aggressive, dynamic and innovative services.
Supported by 30 lawyers, including six partners and two foreign lawyers, the law firm established a strategic alliance with Singapore law firm WongPartnership since 2014. In February, Makes & Partners assisted Indonesia’s investment marketplace Nanovest to conduct an initial coin offering of Nanobyte Token through a decentralised crypto exchange.
Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung is a top commercial law firm in Indonesia with a longstanding relationship with Herbert Smith Freehills. The firm offers an unrivalled combination of first-class local knowledge and the highest international standards, advising on some of the country’s most innovative deals and projects, as well as dealing with complex disputes, investigations and regulatory issues.
In June, the firm advised 13 of Garuda Indonesia’s lessors on a restructuring plan that won approval from the vast majority of the airline’s creditors, staving off the airline’s risk of bankruptcy and involving 511 creditors with total debt of USD13.8 billion. Last year, the firm advised Indonesia’s largest cellular operator, Telkomsel, on the USD434 million sale and leaseback of 4,000 telecommunication towers to cellular tower company Mitratel.
AKSET maintains the highest international standards in providing legal services to international and domestic clients.
In 2016, AKSET entered into collaboration with Japanese law firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, and three years later a non-exclusive partnership with Korean law firm Shin & Kim was established.
“AKSET provides us with legal support on various matters,” says Jason Toh, lead commercial counsel in Asean for agricultural chemical and seed company Corteva Agriscience in Singapore. “The advice given was succinct, easy to understand and practical. There was also follow-up when the matter had subsided for a while, and an invitation to reach out to them again should the matter reignite.”
Filza Adwani, senior legal counsel at bookkeeping platform BukuWarung in Jakarta, says AKSET has assisted the company well in licensing and other transactional deals. “AKSET was always ready to give us the most feasible options of solutions during tough times,” says Adwani. “AKSET lawyers have in-depth legal knowledge, not just from a theoretical point of view, but also from a practical perspective. Their lawyers are easily reachable, very helpful and highly responsive.”
Founded in 1971, Mochtar Karuwin Komar (MKK) is among the oldest and largest law firms in the country. Today, MKK has grown to bring more than five decades’ experience and insights covering almost all modern commercial developments in Indonesia. The firm has extensive experience with drafting and advising in all areas of Indonesian commercial law and has particular strengths in project, financial and regulatory matters.
IABF has been providing legal services since 2003, tapping into its strong network of both private and public sector networks connecting clients with relevant market intelligence and opportunities. The law firm has a non-exclusive strategic alliance with global business law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.
Managing partner Ivan Ferdiansyah Baely has particular expertise in advising on M&A, banking and finance, debt restructuring, foreign investment, energy and mining, corporate and commercial, labour and employment, and bankruptcy.
Recently, the firm advised mining company Black Diamond Resources in its IPOs in Indonesia, as well as advising liquefied petroleum gas manufacturer Arsynergy Resources on its sale and purchase of processed gas valued at USD75 million. The firm also assisted the Indonesia Stock Exchange in standardising its licence, data feed and data rack collocation agreements.
“I genuinely appreciate the extra mile IABF has shown, a law firm with outstanding professionalism, caring advice, knowledge of international law and attention to detail,” says Indria Sidarta, CEO of chemical and medical technology Megasetia Agung Kimia in Jakarta. “We have developed a relationship over the years for M&A projects, and enjoy immensely working with them on all types of projects.”
Makarim & Taira S was founded by two Harvard graduates, Nono Anwar Makarim and Frank Taira Supit, in 1980. With more than 40 years’ experience, the firm has had much success dealing with top-rated cases and is internationally recognised.
The firm has formed regional legal alliances through Drew Network Asia since 2020, with blue-chip Singapore firm Drew & Napier, Shearn Delamore & Co in Malaysia, and Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano in the Philippines.
Recently, the firm advised operation and maintenance company Bhumi Jati Power in the expansion of local steam-electric power plant Tanjung Jati. It also represented a consortium led by Chinese state-owned coal mining enterprise China Shenhua Energy in the development of the Sumsel-1 Mine Mouth coal-fired steam power plant.
Since opening its litigation department 15 years ago, the firm has continued to establish itself in this area, assisting clients in disputes ranging from general commercial litigation to complex labour disputes and controversial insolvency issues.
Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo (LGS) is Indonesia’s oldest and largest full-service law firm, founded in 1985 by Timbul Thomas Lubis, Mohamed Idwan Ganie and Arief Tarunakarya Surowidjojo. The firm is supported by more than 100 lawyers providing solutions tailored to the unique needs of clients according to their motto: “Law on your side”.
Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo’s experience dealing with complex projects in various industries is complemented by a wide knowledge of insurance matters, which covers all possible risks faced by clients.
The firm also serves international insurance companies and brokers in their dealings with insurance cover, contracts, and claims and litigation processes.
Januar Jahja & Partners is a leading boutique IP law firm, founded in 1986 and serving a wide range of clients worldwide, including international and domestic businesses from various sectors. The firm has more than 25 attorneys, a foreign legal consultant and staff specialising in five main areas: trademarks, patents, copyright, industrial designs and patent litigation.
Managing partner Prudence Jahja is widely regarded as one of Indonesia’s leading IP lawyers, focused on trademark prosecution and litigation, as well as IP enforcement, including infringement matters and website takedowns. Jahja is also experienced in advising on patent prosecution, industrial design and copyright matters.
K&K Advocates has earned a reputation as a leading boutique IP law firm in Indonesia, having assisted multinational and local clients in several key copyright, patent and trademark cases, from registration to enforcement and dispute resolution.
Recently, K&K Advocates assisted a decacorn platform company with IP enforcement and litigation matters against its main competitors, with a USD2 billion trademark infringement case and an ongoing case of copyright infringement valued at USD24 billion.
Since its founding in 2011, IP law firm SKC Law has gained impressive recognition for its work in anti-counterfeiting and IP rights protection.
Founded by Purnomo Suryomurcito, Nidya Kalangie and Andrew Conduit, the firm designs a unique service offering that addresses clients’ commercial interests with innovation and assurance of quality and service. Several domestic and international brands have trusted their litigation and consulting work to SKC Law including Honda, Yamaha, FIFA and Nike.
Suryomurcito & Co is a specialist IP law firm established in 1997, and serving all types of work related to the prosecution and protection of IP rights. The firm is an associated firm of the renowned international IP firm Rouse, and is widely recognised for providing effective IP rights protection and enforcement in Indonesia and East Timor.
Gunawan Suryomurcito, the founder, is well known as a leading expert in IP and is currently president of the Indonesian IP Society. The firm specialises in IP rights infringement investigation and enforcement, as well as court representatives on invalidation, and invalidation of infringing IP registrations by third parties.
AFFA Intellectual Property Rights was founded in July 1999 by IP expert Achmad Fatchy. Currently, the firm is led by Emirsyah Dinar and Fariz Syah Alam, who remain committed to providing the best service for national and international clients.
Apart from IP issues, AFFA also provides services related to other legal issues, such as business law, registration with the Indonesian Food and Drug Supervisory Agency, the establishment of limited liability companies, domain name registration, creation and review of licence agreements, franchising and IP investigations.
Soemadipradja & Taher is a leading law firm in Indonesia, founded in 1991 by partners Rahmat Soemadipradja and Hafzan Taher. The firm assists national, foreign and multinational clients to achieve their business objectives in Indonesia with the support of its 10 partners, two foreign counsel, an international counsel and 35 associates.
To expand and maintain its presence in the region, Soemadipradja & Taher has formed relationships with a number of leading international and regional law firms, including a strategic alliance with Singapore law firm Allen & Gledhill.
The firm recently advised Sequoia Capital India’s Surge as lead investor on the USD3 million financing of Indonesia-based social commerce platform Grupin.
“The enemy of law firms is the honesty of their clients, and Soemadipradja & Taher knows when the client is honest or not,” says Andi Hartanto, corporate secretary and general counsel at motorcycle manufacturer Astra Honda Motor in Jakarta. “They serve us well.”
Hendra Soenardi is known for its extensive international experience and has tackled some of the biggest and most complex problems in Indonesia. Since founding in 2004, the firm has focused primarily on corporate and M&A, banking and finance, energy and infrastructure, dispute resolution and telecommunications, and media and technology.
Most recently, it advised the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation and racing circuit operator Mandalika Grand Prix Association in constructing the Mandalika International Street Circuit, from project financing through to hosting the country’s first MotoGP in March.
“Hendra Soenardi ran with a large, multi-layered, multi-party M&A transaction,” says Kristian Wilson, a partner at Bedell Cristin in Singapore. “They are professional, commercial and a real pleasure to work alongside.”
Leks&Co is an Indonesian multi-service law firm founded in 2009 by real estate lawyer Eddy Leks, who is currently the managing partner. The firm is known for outstanding service in providing solutions to legal problems through research, analysis and creative thinking.
As a full-service law firm, Leks&Co provides multi-legal services in many areas, particularly in corporate and M&A, construction and real estate, and commercial dispute resolution. Recently, the firm assisted real estate developer Pembangunan Deltamas in winning a claim on a breach of contract over the assigned loan agreement and conditional sale and purchase agreement.
In a dispute resolution matter, the firm won a lawsuit in the Supreme Court to cancel an arbitration award in April, representing energy-related engineering company Boustead Maxitherm Industries against the Indonesian government-owned electricity company PLN.
Walalangi & Partners, in association with Japanese firm Nishimura & Asahi, was founded in 2017 by managing partner Luky Immanuel Walalangi. The firm is highly praised by clients for its quick response, thorough analysis, and comprehensive, out-of-the-box legal solutions and advice.
Last year, the firm advised real estate company Leopalace21 Singapore on the development of a residential apartment tower project in Greater Jakarta. Walalangi & Partners also assisted trading company Toyota Tsusho Corporation, the trading arm of Toyota Group, and its subsidiary, Toyota Tsusho Indonesia, on a proposed joint venture with Japanese general contractor Takenaka Corporation for the management and development of AXIA Serviced Apartments in West Java, Indonesia.
Andreas Sheila & Partners (ASP) was co-founded in 2010 by senior partner Andreas Harsono as Irianto Andreas & Partners, before changing its name to the current one in 2017 with the arrival of dispute resolution specialist Sheila Thomasyadi.
The firm advises clients across a wide range of industry sectors with expertise in M&A, IPOs, debt and equity financing, foreign investment, projects and real estate development, arbitration, and insolvency and restructuring.
In the shipping sector, the firm provides legal services for permits and licences for the acquisition, registration, deregistration, bareboat leasing, and charter of vessels in Indonesia.
In 2017, ASP joined the Baker Tilly International network as an independent legal entity in Indonesia. ASP also has well-developed relationships with leading international and regional law firms, and other professional service providers.
Boutique maritime and shipping law firm Samuel Bonaparte was founded by Samuel Bonaparte Hutapea in 2012, specialising in shipping disputes. Two years later, the firm expanded its service to include the aviation sector, having advised and assisted clients in financing and importation matters of aircraft or helicopters.
The firm’s maritime team is eligible to act as expert counsel for clients in vessel accident examination, both preliminary and in the Indonesian Admiralty Court, under the Directorate General of Sea Transportation, where all marine incidents in Indonesia waters related to vessels are first examined and investigated. Samuel Bonaparte has 60 lawyers and marine professionals in several locations across the country.
Hermawan Juniarto was originally founded in 2005 before becoming Hermawan Juniarto & Partners when the law firm joined the Deloitte Legal network in 2018 to expand its global outreach. With more than 25 lawyers, the law firm offers creative and practical strategies to governments and financial intermediaries in managing risk, developing financial markets, expanding business reach, and designing new funding instruments for evolving and complex emerging markets.
UMBRA has been phenomenally successful as Indonesia’s fastest growing law firm since being founded by managing partner Pramudya Oktavinanda in 2017. The independent firm has since grown from only three lawyers to more than 50, including nine partners and one counsel, executing more than 300 transactions with a total deal size of at least USD27.5 billion since its establishment.
In May, UMBRA assisted Telkom Indonesia in drafting and negotiating its strategic partnership with Microsoft. The collaboration between the two giants is intended to positively impact Indonesia’s digitisation, accelerating digital and cloud-based transformation within Telkom Group.
UMBRA also assisted electricity company Indonesia Power, a subsidiary of state-owned electricity company PLN, in building Barge Mounted Power Plant Nusantara-1, the country’s first floating mobile power plant.