DLA brings in two partners to boost Singapore office

National firm DLA is strengthening its position in the Asia Pacific region with the appointment of two partners to its Singapore office.

Shipping and insurance partner Peter Shelford will join from Clyde & Co in Hong Kong and corporate and commercial partner Keith Handley will join from the Singapore office of Coudert Brothers.

Both partners will start in May when they will join shipping partner Mike Melwood-Smith, who moved from DLA’s Hong Kong office to set up the Singapore office last October.

The office opened in October 2000 when local firm J Koh & Co joined the DLA alliance DLA & Partners (D&P).

Melwood-Smith, who has been the sole partner in Singapore up until now, has handled contentious and non-contentious work for international and regional clients.

Although he has focused on marine and commercial litigation, he has also advised on a number of internet start-ups within the Asian transport sector.

The arrival of the new partners will shift the focus. Although Shelford is mostly a shipping partner, Handley specialises in M&A, foreign direct investments and public finance initiative transactions.

The office will develop the corporate and commercial side of its practice over the next few months.

“We’ll work for existing DLA and D&P clients, but we’ll also work to attract new clients, especially multinationals with a strong presence in Asia,” says Handley.

He adds: “We anticipate a lot of corporate and commercial activity in the Asia Pacific region and South East Asia, particularly in India, Malaysia and the Philippines.”