Freshfields signs office lease for Singapore comeback

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the only magic circle firm currently without a Singapore base, has signed a lease with Ocean Financial Centre, a newly-completed office building in the heart of Singapore’s CBD Raffles Place.

The office space is said to be around 8,000 sqft, which can easily accommodate 40 lawyers and support staff.

A number of legal recruiters in Singapore have also confirmed that Freshfields has been recruiting lawyers for several months. In April, the firm hired former Allens Arthur Robinson (now Allens) energy and resources partner Gavin MacLaren in a bid to prepare for the Singapore relaunch later this year (12 April 2012).

Freshfields closed its Singapore office in May 2007 to focus on China (1 May 2007). However, given the increasing importance of the Singaporean market, for both contentious and transactional work in the South East Asia region, the firm’s partnership council approved the relaunch of Singapore earlier this year. The Singapore office is expected to open in the coming months.

Most recently, the firm has advised on the concurrent dual listing of Integrated Healthcare Berhad (IHH) in Malaysia and Singapore, representing the selling shareholder Abraaj Capital. The firm’s transaction team was led by global co-head of capital markets practice Stephen Revell.

Last week, Singapore’s Ministry of Law confirmed that 23 foreign law firms have applied for the Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licence following the two-month window for applications, which closed on 31 August (7 September 2012).