Clifford Chance under fire in Singapore

Great firms have great stories to tell. But when the story told is less than entirely accurate, there will be consequences, particularly in Singapore where its law-abiding society is the backbone of its daily life.

Nearly a year ago in December 2012, Clifford Chance rejoiced when it entered into a Formal Law Alliance (FLA) with local firm Cavenagh Law. It enthused in its press release that the two were establishing the first full-service, integrated law practice in Singapore complete with local litigation advice from one platform: Clifford Chance Asia.

In yesterday’s parliamentary questions time (21 October), Singapore’s law minister K Shanmugam pointed out that Clifford Chance’s statements were not accurate as they could be read to mean that a foreign law firm can now practice litigation in Singapore.

Officials of the Ministry of Law has called in the partners of Clifford Chance and the local law firm, Cavenagh Law, and told them that their statements conveyed an inaccurate picture and should be stopped.

Clifford Chance acted promptly to change its descriptions on its website to stay in line with the regulatory’s requirements. Luckily, there is no serious consequence but this sheds some unlooked for light on the important do’s and don’ts for foreign firms based in the city-state.

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