Olswang gears up for Singapore launch

Olswang has obtained a foreign law practice licence for its Singapore office from the country’s Ministry of Law, and has appointed partner Rob Bratby as Asia managing partner as it moves closer to launch its first presence in the region.

Bratby, who also serves as the head of the firm’s commercial group and the head of its international telecoms practice, will be relocating to Singapore to head up the firm’s Asia practice in November. Initially, Bratby will be joined by three other partners in Singapore, including a Singaporean lawyer who is to join Olswang from an international firm in the city.

The office will focus on providing corporate, commercial and arbitration legal services to companies in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sectors across Asia.

“A significant number of our clients have their Asia headquarters in Singapore and a growing number of our European clients are planning to invest and expand in Asia. Being able to provide clients with such needed services is important and exciting to us,” said Bratby, who will continue to support key European telecom clients relationships and work on client matters in the London headquarters while serving as the Asia managing partner.

“We will hub out of Singapore but serve clients across the ASEAN region. It will also provide India-related services in conjunction with the India practice team based in London, and collaborate with our US alliance firm Cooley, which is in the process of setting up a Shanghai office, on projects and matters in China,” said Bratby.

Although the international legal service market is increasingly competitive and saturated in the region, Bratby is confident that his firm will have a strong niche foothold.

“We have established a strong European footprint in TMT, and our strong focus and capacity on corporate-oriented TMT work is different and distinctive in Asia. The economy in Asia is growing much faster than Europe and we are optimistic that our Asia practice will grow very quickly too,” said Bratby.

Olswang is ranked 34th in The Lawyer’s 2011 UK 200, with 103 partners and 360 lawyers across offices in London, Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Madrid.

Withers and Taylor Wessing are two other firms that have recently expanded into Asia through Singapore (31 August 2011).