Threatened Singaporean firms merge

Three Singapore law firms have merged to form a Silicon Valley-style practice specialising in technology-related start-ups.

The 20-lawyer firm Arthur Loke Bernard Rada & Lee will help IT entrepreneurs set up their own companies, and will assist in fundraising.

Targeting niche areas in this way is partly an attempt to stave off the threat posed by foreign firms, such as Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith.

The Legal Services Review Committee recommendation that foreign firms be allowed to join local ones to practise Singapore law will mean more competition for the island.

Senior partner Arthur Loke says IT business has tripled in the last year. He says: “We want to ride shotgun for the drivers of these start-ups. It's like the Wild West and they need help.”

The new firm was formed from Arthur Loke & Partners, Bernard Rada & Partners and Tommy Lee & Partners.