The two lawyers who run Masons' current Singapore operation will move into the offices of CLL's 30-lawyer practice.
The firms will carry out joint marketing and branding, but Masons' first exclusive alliance will not involve profit-sharing since this is barred under local bar rules.
It will also not benefit from the relaxation in the rules – which will allow joint ventures between foreign and local firms in specified areas – which the Singapore Government is expected to announce in the next fortnight.
The more relaxed regime is expected to cover top-tier capital markets, banking and corporate work, while the Masons alliance is to focus on construction, project finance and IT.
A full service firm, CLL is reportedly retaining its long-standing but informal English referral links in shipping with Watson, Farley & Williams and in insurance with Davies Arnold Cooper.
Masons has two other bases in Asia: one in Hong Kong which concentrates mainly on construction and engineering projects, and one in Guangzhou advising on international joint ventures in China