Allen Allen & Hemsley loses top Singapore partner to Freshfields

Australian firm Allen Allen & Hemsley’s Singapore office is losing a leading securities partner to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

The departure of office head David Simpson leaves the operation with only one remaining partner in Steve Clifford.

Simpson has been with the firm since 1985, making partnership in 1994. He specialises in corporate and securities work, and has worked in the region for several years.

Prior to joining the Singapore office, he spent six years at Allen’s associated Jakarta practice, Wiriadinata & Widyawan.

Allens is part of leading Australian group Allens Arthur Robinson. Simpson is the second major partner it has lost to rival Singapore practices this year. Top corporate lawyer Barry Irwin quit to head Watson Farley & Williams‘ Singapore corporate practice earlier this year (The Lawyer, 7 February).

Allens Asian executive partner Ewen Crounch says: “The loss of David is a blow. We don’t like losing partners full stop. But Allens Arthur Robinson has been in Asia for three decades. We’re not happy, but with the strength of the pound we are realistic.”

Allens’ office is staffed only by Clifford and one other fee-earner, But Crouch confirms that it will be increasing the amount of lawyers in Singapore.

Clients of Allen’s Singapore office include Morgan Stanley, the News Corporation, Heinz, Thomas Cook, China Clays, Australian banks Westpac and ANZ and Pioneer International.

Freshfields has had an office in the city since 1980. Including Simpson, it has seven partners and 24 further fee-earners. The office focuses mostly on finance and banking work, although it is also involved with cross-border M&A.

Singapore managing partner Roger Dyer says: “We are delighted that David is joining us. He will enable us to strengthen the service we can offer to clients across the region.”