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Clifford Chance is the only international magic circle firm without a joint venture. Last year it hooked up with the Wong Partnership and was awarded a licence along with the other firms. But the departure in October of Wong's head of corporate Lee Suet Fern rocked the relationship and it collapsed not long after.
It is understood that Clifford Chance worked hard at trying to forge a deal with Lee but to no avail, although she still speaks highly of the UK firm. The official line is that it is keeping its options open in Singapore. But no one believes Clifford Chance will stay out of the limelight for much longer.