Sidley & Austin gains B&M Singapore trio

Baker & McKenzie‘s Singapore office has lost a three-strong team as it waits to hear whether it has been granted a joint venture licence.

Partners Nicholas Serwer and Matthew Sheridan are joining to Sidley & Austin’s fledgling Singapore securities practice along with fellow Baker & McKenzie lawyer Janet Taylor, who is joining in an ‘of counsel’ role.

And corporate finance and securitisation specialist Edward Eddy is taking over as head of Sidley & Austin’s entire Singapore operation. He was previously managing partner of the Los Angeles office.

The moves come on the back of an increase in the amount of capital markets work in the region.

Sidley & Austin management committee chairman Charles Douglas says that the firm intends to continue broadening the scope of services available through the Asian operation.

The firm has offices in Shanghai and Tokyo as well as the Singapore operation, which was established in 1982. The firm extended its Asian presence last year when it opened an office in Hong Kong (The Lawyer, 8 March 1999).

Serwer and Sheridan have been working in the region for the past six years and have advised on a range of public offerings, privatisations and mergers and acquisitions.

Serwer says: “Sidley & Austin is the ideal home for us. Our clients demand top quality advice and we believe our ability to deliver that will be strengthened by the fact we are with Sidley & Austin. Sidley has made a commitment to Asia.”

The arrival of the Baker & McKenzie lawyers takes the number of Singapore-based fee-earners up to 15, five of whom are partners.

Baker & McKenzie is one of a range of firms currently waiting to see if it has been awarded one of the five available licences that would permit it to set up a joint venture with a Singapore firm.

Other firms waiting on the Singapore Law Society’s decision include Clifford Chance, Linklaters & Alliance and Lovells (The Lawyer, 17 July).

Sidley & Austin is one of many US firms currently increasing its Asian capability.

Last week, Weil Gotshal & Manges made its first foray into the Singapore market by entering into a strategic alliance with Arthur Andersen’s Singapore firm Rajah & Tann (The Lawyer, 31 July).