Clyde & Co to form Singapore joint venture with local alliance firm

Clyde & Co has submitted an application to form a joint law venture (JLV) with its Singaporean association firm Clasis and intends to use its Singapore base as a regional headquarters for Asia Pacific.

Clydes’ Singapore office, which opened in 1991, will form a joint law venture with Singaporean firm Clasis, which was established by former Baker Botts arbitration partner Steven Lim in 2010. Clydes has been in a close association with Clasis since its establishment for disputes resolution work in insurance, shipping, maritime and aviation sectors.

The application for the JLV is expected to be approved in the next few months.

“Dispute resolution has been the majority part of our work in Singapore. The ability to be able to handle onshore court work through our joint venture partner is essential to our offering,” said Clydes Singapore managing partner Brian Nash. “The JLV platform will also enable us to do work regionally whether it’s under Singapore law or not.”

It is understood that 95 per cent of the work currently handled by the Singapore office is dispute resolution. However, the firm has expanded its corporate insurance and project capability since the beginning of the year, when Nash relocated from Dubai to head the Singapore office. So far this year, the firm has appointed ex-Allens corporate partner Ian Stewart and former chief risk officer of PT Indonesia Infrastructure Finance Michael Horn, as well as the relocation of the firm’s global head of corporate insurance Andrew Holderness from London to Singapore.

Insurance and reinsurance partner Ian Roberts will also join Clydes’ Singapore office from Mayer Brown’s London office in January 2013.

“More and more insurance companies and financial institutions have expanded to Asia, particularly South East Asia. The region offers a great pool of clients for Clyde & Co. We’ve seen a gentle but obvious increase of demand for corporate insurance and project legal work,” said Nash.

Between them Clydes and Clasis have 30 lawyers in Singapore, including nine partners at Clydes and two at Clasis. The firm has also signed a new lease with Marina Bay Financial Centre for office premises of 16,000 sq ft, which doubles the size of its current office.

The expanded Singapore base will also serve as the firm’s operational headquarters for Asia Pacific, where its regional chief operations officer, chief financial officer and head of regional IT will be based. Hong Kong-based partner Michael Parker will continue to service as chair of the Asia Pacific management board, which consists of Brian Nash, Sydney-based John Edmond and Shanghai based Ik Wei Chong.