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Asia Business Law Journal presents the A-List of top private practice lawyers in the country. Nguyen Yen and Lim Miran report

Amid prolonged economic geopolitical uncertainty, Indonesia remains attractive for foreign investment. However, its complex legal and regulatory frameworks require legal professionals to solve challenges and mitigate risks associated with doing business in the country.

Driven by the recovery of domestic demand and solid export performance, Southeast Asia’s largest economy remains a bright spot. The International Monetary Fund forecasts its GDP growth in 2023 to moderate slightly to 5%, still among the highest in the region, and the Indonesian government has pushed ahead with legal reforms aimed at attracting investment and boosting local entrepreneurship.

Notably, a new “omnibus law” to regulate the financial sector, Law No. 4 of 2023 on Financial Sector Development and Reinforcement (P2SK Law), was enacted in January. It amended 17 laws in the financial sector including the Banking Law, Capital Market Law, Futures Trading Law, Sovereign Debt Instruments Law, Insurance Law, and Currency Law, as well as laws related to Bank Indonesia and the Financial Services Authority.

With the P2SK Law in effect, it is likely that regulatory bodies will introduce various new regulations within the financial sector to fully implement its relevant provisions. It becomes imperative for businesses operating in these sectors to anticipate changes in compliance and be prepared to swiftly adapt to any necessary adjustments.

As the country has accelerated digital transformation, the long-awaited Personal Data Protection Law, which imposes fines and penalties on corporations for mishandling data, was finally enacted in September last year.

Against this challenging yet exciting backdrop, Asia Business Law Journal presents its A-List of 100 lawyers notable for their adherence to best practices in Indonesia. The A-List is the result of extensive research and nominations from in-house counsel primarily in Indonesia, as well as Indonesia-focused partners at international law firms.

Comments submitted to Asia Business Law Journal suggest that clients not only seek lawyers with significant work experience; they also value those who are highly responsive and provide exceptional customer service throughout the legal process.

All of the lawyers on the A-List are strategically based in Jakarta, the country’s capital and largest city, with a high concentration of businesses, government offices, courts and regulatory agencies. In this way, they can help ensure that investments in the country continue to drive economic growth and development while protecting the interests of their clients.

World-class lawyers

With their knowledge of local laws and regulations, legal practitioners play a critical role in supporting foreign investment and facilitating cross-border transactions. Many lawyers in the A-List are adept at working with foreign investors and other professional services firms to ensure that transactions are conducted smoothly and that all legal requirements are met.

In telecommunications and regulatory matters, Agus Ahadi Deradjat, a partner at Ali Budiardjo Nugroho Reksodiputro (ABNR), receives high compliments from Jennifer Crichton, associate general counsel at multinational technology company Meta in Singapore.

“He leads an excellent team of lawyers at ABNR and together they provide practical, commercial and innovative advice, which is packaged in very succinct and user-friendly communications,” says Crichton. “He is also incredibly responsive and never misses a deadline.”

Aftab Aziz, Spotify

Deradjat has also worked with Aftab Aziz, senior legal counsel at Spotify in Singapore, on legal matters relating to the digital music service company’s content growth in Indonesia.

“This involved localising Spotify contract templates for use in Indonesia, advising the business on best practices in the country, and then handling all legal negotiations on behalf of Spotify with third-party producers, licensors, celebrities and creators,” says Aziz. “He and his team have been a reliable source of expertise and has helped fuel Spotify’s growth in the country.”

Another ABNR partner, Ayik Candrawulan Gunadi, is lauded as “probably one of the best lawyers in Indonesia” by Michiel Muylle, legal director at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Indonesia, based in Jakarta.

“I very much appreciate his hands-on approach when it comes to solving complex issues, his ability to think out of the box and the fact that he is always solution-oriented, and of course his considerable expertise in various legal fields,” says Muylle.

Alasdair Harris, executive director at marine conservation organisation Blue Ventures, based in London, commends Gunadi for his “exceptional strategic legal guidance and advice”.

“He and his team provide punctual, professional and extremely insightful service, with excellent value for money,” says Harris. “I would strongly endorse Gunadi for this prestigious award and would have no reservations in recommending his services.”

Ard Groot, East-West Seed

Giffy Pardede, a partner in corporate finance at ABNR, is described as “a strong and reliable lawyer who pairs solid knowledge of corporate law with good communication skills and a highly responsive, down-to-earth style” by Ard Groot, chairman at agriculture company East-West Seed in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

“Giffy has supported our joint venture operation in Indonesia for more than a decade with excellent, accurate and timely legal advice,” says Groot. “I strongly recommend him to anyone considering investing in Indonesia and looking for excellent corporate law advice.”

Rio Lassatrio, a partner at LHBM Counsel, is nominated by Wang Jinjin, senior legal counsel at technology Internet company NetEase based in Hangzhou, China, for “his excellent performance on advising the foreign client on domestic matters”.

He is also commended by Manti Afiandi, corporate secretary at insurance company Jasa Medivest in Bandung, for possessing a great combination of legal skill sets. “We had the pleasure of working with Rio and his firm,” says Afiandi. “I recommend Rio if you need to get the job done.”

Capital market leaders

As Indonesia attracts more businesses, legal counsel is imperative for assisting clients with regulatory compliance and disclosure requirements of relevant securities laws and stock exchange rules. Many lawyers are renowned for their expertise in guiding clients in these transactions.

Hendrik Silalahi, senior partner at William Hendrik & Siregar Djojonegoro (WH&SD) in Jakarta, is recognised as a leading figure in the M&A field, and is endorsed by Aria Kertocahyono, director at capital management firm McMillan Capital Asia in Jakarta, for his services.

Hendrik Silalahi consistently provides us with a variety of quality legal services that meet our national and international needs,” says Kertocahyono. “We highly recommend him as a top M&A and capital markets lawyer.”

Rian Fajar Isnaeni, vice president corporate secretary and legal at Garuda Maintenance Facility Aero Asia a company that maintains, repairs and overhauls aircraft in Jakarta also praises Silalahi after working with him on several corporate restructurings and reorganisations. “Hendrik is a great lawyer, and one whom we can trust,” says Isnaeni.

Also from WH&SD, senior partner Zippora Siregar is complimented by her client, Kenna Herdi Safrudin, senior vice president of legal at digital payment company GoPay Indonesia in Jakarta, as his go-to lawyer.

“She is a well-known Indonesian lawyer with an excellent reputation for creative banking and project finance,” says Safrudin. “It is without reservation that I can attest to her legal abilities and high ethical standards, which she so vigilantly maintains while representing her clients. My personal experience as a client confirms this.”

Sri Patriawati Soetjipto, Indonesia Infrastructure Finance

Siregar impressed another client, Sri Patriawati Soetjipto, senior vice president and head of transactions, legal division, at infrastructure financing and advisory service company Indonesia Infrastructure Finance (IIF) in Jakarta.

“Zippora is an entrusted lawyer in the banking and finance sector, where she has deep legal expertise and an understanding of transactions,” says Soetjipto. “I had a number of experiences with her while handling financing transactions in the water treatment plant, healthcare, solar energy and payment system network, and I am very impressed with her ability to manage legal issues, along with her ability to manage reliable and solid teams.”

Andi Ilyas, head of patents and law at Bayer Indonesia in Jakarta, endorses another senior partner at WH&SD, William Palijama. “As our business partner, William can provide not only legal advice but also support the business decisions by explaining all risks and benefits based on local laws and local practices,” says Ilyas.

Mohamad Kadri, a senior partner at GHP Law Firm, is highly regarded by his clients for his expertise in infrastructure finance. With 30 years of experience, Kadri has a long track record in working successfully on a full spectrum of banking and finance matters.

Dedeng Hidayat, senior executive vice president of regulation, policy and compliance at Indonesia’s state-owned electricity company, Perusahaan Listrik Negara in Jakarta, praises Kadri for being “very solid and experienced in dealing with the complexities of a major restructuring project”.

“Kadri showed his leadership in leading the firm’s effort in conducting the restructuring project, and was involved in the overall transaction within his team,” says Hidayat. “His extensive experience with the state-owned company was immensely valuable in his assistance with the company’s restructuring project.”

Soetjipto, of IIF, agrees. “Kadri is involved in advising IIF as a lender in a few of its ongoing financing transactions. His role in advising the overall structure of the loan facility, including its security, compounded by his extensive experience in the banking and finance sector, is immensely valuable for the company’s financing transactions.”

Niken Ratmitasari, department head of legal at banking and financial service company Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group in Jakarta, nominates Bono Daru Adji, managing partner at Assegaf Hamzah & Partners. “He is one of the most knowledgeable lawyers I have known and the best capital markets lawyer I have met; he happens to be very articulate when delivering his advice,” says Ratmitasari.

Agile troubleshooters

In ever-changing conditions, businesses may find themselves in critical need of the advice of a dependable legal professional. Many clients place their faith in lawyers who are passionate about their work and willing to go the extra mile beyond simply achieving business goals.

Ivan Ferdiansyah Baely, managing partner at IABF Law Firm, is praised by Andi Gunawan, a partner at private equity and capital provider Kendall Court Private Equity in Jakarta, for his “high commercial sense” and for “always bringing the solution to every issue that the client might encounter”.

Theo Satria, director of finance, human resources and risk management at shipbuilder and docking services company Dok dan Perkapalan Kodja Bahari in Jakarta, also recommends Baely for being “very helpful and very capable at what he is responsible for”.

For Daniel Tumpal Nico, investment and advisory manager at financial service and business consulting company PPA Kapital in Jakarta, IABF Law Firm’s partner, Almaida Askandar, is the definition of a good lawyer. “Almaida is a truly competent colleague,” says Nico. “Her knowledge and professional experience were valuable and had a significant role in the completion of our projects.”

According to Lily Janto, finance and accounting manager at CJ Logistics Indonesia in Jakarta, Almaida is a seasoned and trusted adviser. “She has professional experience and expertise in many fields and has been helping our company with useful and satisfactory advice in corporate and legal aspects for so many years,” says Janto.

Frida Oktaria Chalid, legal and regulatory affairs director at beverage company Frisian Flag Indonesia in Jakarta, commends Vincent Ariesta Lie, a partner at Makarim & Taira S, as a “very knowledgeable, communicative, responsive and helpful lawyer”.

“We seek advice from Makarim & Taira S for corporate matters, labour and fair competition, and can rely on the quality of Vincent and his team’s legal advice,” says Chalid.

Mutiara Indah Utami, Pratiwi Putri Sulung

Afriza Nadim, legal manager at Suzuki Indomobil Motor in Jakarta, concurs. “Vincent is a great lawyer with a lot of knowledge and experience,” says Nadim. “We appreciate his attention to detail and his in-depth knowledge in handling clients’ issues.”

Mutiara Indah Utami, legal supervisor at construction company Pratiwi Putri Sulung in Bekasi, a city east of Jakarta, has this to say about Suhardi Somomoeljono, managing partner at SSA Advocates: “Suhardi is able to be a practical legal adviser without losing the essence of the theory and business views. Many cases in our company were resolved well and satisfactorily because of him.”

Chadri Jurnalis, a partner at Dentons HPRP in Jakarta, is applauded as an experienced lawyer by Ade Hambali, head of legal and corporate secretary division at financing company Radana Bhaskara Finance in Jakarta. “Chadri has great experience as a lawyer,” says Hambali. “We found him helpful in our offshore loan, which he supported.”

Clemens Selestiyanta, a Jakarta-based senior legal adviser at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Indonesia, nominates Leks&Co’s managing partner, Eddy Leks, as one of the best lawyers to work with. “Eddy provided creative, practical and accurate legal advice, which guided us through uncertain land and property issues,” says Selestiyanta.

Lingga Nugraha, vice president of corporate legal and compliance at Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda Indonesia in Jakarta, compliments ASNP Law Office’s senior partner, Andreas Hartono, for “providing excellent service” and “understanding client needs”.

In project finance and development matters, ABNR partner Herry Nuryanto Kurniawan was a key figure for his expertise in the financing of major power sector and industrial projects, and mining companies. Kurniawan sadly passed away in April at the age of 48. He served impeccably for more than 25 years, including 11 years as a partner, having joined ABNR in 1998.

Kurniawan has been in Asia Business Law Journal’s A-List of Top 100 Lawyers in Indonesia for the past three years. He was also the co-ordinator of ABNR’s pro bono programme for several years, and has made a significant innovative contribution to ABNR’s information technology, knowledge management and training programmes.

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 who should make the cut. Nominations were made by professionals at a wide range of Indonesian and global companies, financial institutions and law firms, including: Ab Initio, Abhati Group, Addleshaw Goddard, Arsynergy Resources, B Braun Medical Indonesia, Bank Artha Graha, Bank KB Bukopin, Bayer Indonesia, Bird & Bird ATMD, Blue Ventures, BowerGroupAsia, Cabot Corporation, Campari Singapore, Cardig International, Champ Resto Indonesia, Cirebon Power, CJ Logistics Indonesia, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Indonesia, Danamart, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson, Dentsu, Dok dan Perkapalan Kodja Bahari, Drew & Napier, East-West Seed Group, Fortius Corporation, Frisian Flag Indonesia, Garuda Indonesia, Garuda Maintenance Facility Aero Asia, GoPay Indonesia, Guantao Law Firm, Indonesia Infrastructure Finance, Indonesia Stock Exchange, Indosat, Intiland Development, Jasa Medivest, JunHe, Kendall Court Private Equity, Kereta Api Indonesia, Kereta Commuter Indonesia, KONE, Law Offices of H Jay Kallman, Long An Law Firm, MC de Boer Management, McMillan Capital Asia, Mega Lifesciences, Merck, Meta, Moladin, MoneyGram, Morrison & Foerster, MUFG, NetEase, Nishimura & Asahi, Osborne Clarke, Paul Hastings, Petronas Niaga Indonesia, Pintar Platform Digital, Perusahaan Listrik Negara, PPA Kapital, Pratiwi Putri Sulung, Qatar Airways, Reed Smith, Risland Group, Salim Ivomas Pratama, Samudera Pelabuhan Indonesia, Sarinah, Shimizu Bangun Cipta, Shin & Kim, Spotify, Squire Patton Boggs, Suzuki Indomobil Motor, Tilleke & Gibbins, TITAN Group, Volvo Indonesia, and many more.

The nomination process was backed up by thorough editorial research. The final list reflects the nominations received, combined with the Asia Business Law Journal editorial team’s more than 30 years of collective experience in documenting and analysing Indonesia’s legal market. All Indonesian private-practice lawyers were automatically eligible for inclusion in the nomination 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 following the report. 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 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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