Ashurst Morris Crisp is bolstering its Singapore office with a number of new appointments, including the recruitment of its first local lawyer.
Corporate law specialist Mimi Ton joins Ashursts' office from the Wong Partnership, while London-based energy partner Huw Thomas is relocating to head up the firm's energy and project finance department.
Richard Gubbins, Singapore managing partner at Ashursts, says Thomas will be replacing John May who, seven years ago, established and headed up the projects finance department.
Gubbins says: “The intention was always for Huw to come out to Singapore; Asia is very much a young man's market.”
May is now focusing on domestic and international work, specifically Europe.
The firm began its Singapore recruitment drive late last year with the appointment of senior lawyer Peter Butler, previously at Allen & Overy's Moscow office.
Ashursts also recently boosted the Singapore office's partner count by promoting its head of telecommunications Ted Ringrose to partner level.
Gubbins says: “When the Asian crisis came and all the project finance work suddenly dried up, we were able to play up to our strength on the telecoms side.
“Instead of sending staff back to London, we panicked because of all the work we had and began recruiting.”
Singapore is on the verge of opening up for Western firms as its Attorney General recently announced proposals to allow foreign firms to form joint ventures with local lawyers.
Although limited, the proposed joint ventures would allow foreign lawyers to conduct arbitrations if a case is concerned with any law other than Singapore law.