DLA opens in Singapore as D&P alliance grows

DLA is making its mark in Singapore, opening a new office in the capital and forming an alliance with Singapore law firm J Koh & Co, which will join its international association of law firms, D&P.

J Koh & Co, which has 21 lawyers, specialises in cross-border transactions, project financing, M&A, private equity, structured debt and securities.

The move follows DLA’s announcement that Italian law firm, De Berti Jacchia Perno & Associati will join D&P in January 2001.

DLA’s Singapore office will focus on shipping, marine insurance and international trade disputes. It will be headed by Mike Melwood-Smith, who is currently based in DLA’s Hong Kong office.

DLA managing partner and chief executive of D&P Nigel Knowles says: “Singapore has the world’s busiest port and with our specialist skills in the marine and aviation sector we could not ignore its importance to our existing clients and the development of our practice in the Asia Pacific region.

“What is very good news for clients of both firms is that combining our shipping and marine expertise with their securities, regulatory and corporate practice means that we become a major force in Asia Pacific and further develops our commitment to the region and our Hong Kong office,” he says.

J Koh & Co managing partner Desmond Ong says that by joining the D&P network the firm will be able to offer its clients a more integrated service for their international legal requirements.

Ashurst Morris Crisp has worked closely with J Koh & Co in the past but Richard Gubbins, former managing partner of Ashursts’ Singapore office, says that there were never any plans to form an alliance.

“Most transactions in Singapore are generated under US or UK law so we have no need for an alliance with a firm in Singapore. Only 10 per cent of work comes under Singapore law and if we need help then it’s easy to refer the work to a local firm,” says Gubbins.