Sim Kwan Kiat, partner, Rajah & Tann

What was your first-ever job? (prior to becoming a lawyer): I started my working life as a lawyer.

Name:  Sim Kwan Kiat
Position: Head of Business Finance & Insolvency Practice
Location: Singapore

Sim Kwan Kiat
Sim Kwan Kiat

Where did you study?
National University of Singapore (Date: 1993 to 1997) and New York University (Date: 2001 to 2002)

Where did you train?
I trained as a pupil with Rajah & Tann, and have been with the firm since then.

Have you lived or worked outside your home jurisdiction? What did you learn from it?
After I completed my Masters at NYU in 2002, I did a half-year attachment with Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York.  It was an enriching experience, and I was able to get an overview of the US bankruptcy regime.  That continues to be useful to this day, particularly in cross-border insolvency or restructuring cases.  

When did you become partner?
1 January 2005

What deal/case in your career stands out the most and why?
The liquidation of Lewis & Peat, one of the largest rubber trading houses in the world, in the late 1990s. That was the first major cross-border restructuring I was involved in as a young lawyer, and the first time I had to grapple with issues arising from the interaction between different insolvency regimes in different jurisdictions.

What have been your recent deals?
Acting as Singapore counsel to the lenders in the restructuring of Torm, a Danish shipping group; advising the liquidators of MF Global Singapore; and advising Singapore bank lenders in the restructuring of the Drydocks World group which is based in Dubai.

What is the biggest challenge facing your market at the moment?
The retention of talent.   

What has been the most significant development in your sector in recent years? (this can be legal/technical)
The increasing use of schemes of arrangement as a restructuring mechanism for companies in Singapore.  

If you hadn’t been a lawyer, what would you have been?
Perhaps a teacher.

Which country do you travel to most frequently and which countries do you like the best?
Mainly countries in South East Asia.  No clear favourite as each country has different things to offer.

What is your favourite book?  
A recent favourite is “Shooting an Elephant and other essays” by George Orwell.

What is your favourite restaurant?
“One if by land, two if by sea” in New York City; in Singapore, I would recommend Osia at Resorts World Sentosa.