Lovells’ Singapore office is launching a local arbitration practice. The firm has been awarded a licence that will allow the firm to extend its joint venture with local firm Lee & Lee to encompass arbitration.
According to well-placed sources, the Attorney-General’s office granted the licence to Lovells earlier this year after new laws came into force that permit foreign lawyers to advise on local arbitrations.
The Singapore Legal Profession Act, which came into force last year, lifted all restrictions on foreign lawyers advising on arbitrations in Singapore to promote the country as an international venue for the work. Previously, non-Singaporean lawyers were permitted to advise on abritrations only if the applicable law was not Singaporean.
The joint venture, which is currently limited to banking and project finance, is now looking at how best to staff the arbitration practice. The practice is currently staffed by Lee & Lee arbitration partner Richard Tann, who is also understood to be a director of the joint venture.
Commenting on the move, one source said: “Both firms are now pulling together their strengths and will be able to take advantage of Lee & Lee’s local arbitration strength and Lovells’ international strength.”
The move will be a boost for Lovells’ Singapore office, which is subject to an ongoing firm review as it is understood to have been struggling with profitability.