Weil Gotshal & Manges is taking a step into Asia through a joint office with Singapore firm and Andersen Legal member Rajah & Tann.
Weil Gotshal formed an alliance with Rajah & Tann last year, which provided for joint client referrals and secondments between the two firms. Until now, Weil Gotshal has had no physical Asian presence, but two partners and two associates will now move into Rajah & Tann's Singapore office. William Sievers, a partner in Weil Gotshal's London office, will move to Singapore along with New York-based partner Denis Barsky and two associates. The two firms will then apply to the authorities in Singapore for permission to operate a joint venture. Until permission is secured, the Weil Gotshal partners will operate on behalf of the US firm out of Rajah & Tann's offices. The firms will target work in M&A, restructuring, IT and intellectual property for both local and US law. They also hope that the combination of Rajah & Tann's litigation practice and Weil Gotshal's international arbitration practice will attract new work. Weil Gotshal is fairly late in the game in attacking Singapore's legal market. Rivals set up their own offices in the city state and then formed alliances with local firms last year, when the first round of joint venture licences were issued. Sievers said that the Singapore office is intended as a foothold in Asia and that Weil Gotshal will target China through Rajah & Tann's China team.