Sidley hires first Singapore-qualified partner from Clifford Chance

Sidley Austin has appointed its first Singapore-qualified partner, a month after being granted a licence to practise local law in the jurisdiction.

Singaporean lawyer Han Ming Ho has joined Sidley from Clifford Chance’s Singapore office, where he was a partner.

Ho’s practice focuses on international funds and is experienced in the structuring and formation of a broad range of investment funds. He will serve as co-head of Sidley’s Asia investment funds practice together with Hong Kong partner Effie Vasilopoulos.

Ho is the first Singapore law-qualified lawyer to join Sidley since the firm was awarded a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licence in February (19 February 2013) together with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Jones Day and Linklaters. The licence allows firms to practice certain areas of local law in Singapore.

Sidley has had a Singapore office for 30 years, but only has around 10 lawyers in the jurisdiction. The firm plans to use the QFLP licence as a springboard for growth.

“We intend to grow in Singapore in the areas that reflect the current strength of the whole firm,” said Thomas Albrecht, the firm’s Asia Pacific managing partner. “Our Singapore office currently focuses mainly on capital markets and finance work, but we will look to expand our offerings in life sciences, pharmaceuticals, energy and resources, M&A and arbitration to Singapore and the Asia region.”

According to Albrecht, the ability to provide local law advice in-house is increasingly important to clients. “It enables us to provide insight into both local, regional and global protocols. It’s an ability that can’t be duplicated by working with local firms,” he said.

“Take capital markets and funds work, for example, our clients generally need to set up new entities in Singapore. The ability to do that under Singapore law with the resources available internally is very helpful to clients. Having in-house knowledge on local laws and regulations that affect our clients that have operations in Singapore is important in a very subtle way,” Albrecht added.

In a bid to boost its Singapore base, Sidley has recently relocated corporate finance partner Matthew Sheridan from Hong Kong and London banking and finance partner John Casanova to Singapore. With the addition of Ho, the firm will have five partners in Singapore.