Squire Sanders launches in Singapore with Bryan Cave hires

Squire Sanders is to launch an office in Singapore after hiring three partners from US rival Bryan Cave in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Ignatius Hwang, previously managing partner of Bryan Cave’s Singapore office, has been tasked with spearheading the launch of Squire Sanders’ Singapore office. The new office is expected to open at the end of March, when the firm obtains a license from Singapore’s Ministry of Law.

Corporate partner Mao Tong and international dispute resolution partner Peter Chow have joined Squire Sanders in Hong Kong. Tong was formerly managing partner of Bryan Cave’s Hong Kong office and Chow headed Bryan Cave’s international arbitration and dispute resolution practice in Asia.

With over 20 years of international experience, Hwang is a veteran in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors. He joined Bryan Cave from Freehills in 2008. Prior to private practice, he held several in-house counsel positions with a number of multinational companies, such as being the senior counsel at CMS Energy.

Squire Sanders Hong Kong managing partner James Tsang said in a statement: “The business environment in China is changing. Increasingly the opportunities associated with the Chinese legal market involve outbound investment. And international arbitration activity is growing in both Hong Kong and Singapore.”

On 14 February, Singapore’s parliament passed amendments to its Legal Profession Act that will make it easier for foreign legal counsel, such as QCs, to appear in Singapore courts (15 February 2012).

The firm’s Asia practice coordinator Ken Kurosu added: “We expect these new partners to rapidly become part of the fabric of our integrated Asia Pacific activities.”

Squire Sanders’ most recent expansion in Asia Pacific saw the firm open in Perth (18 August 2011). The office launched on 1 October 2011 with 80 of Minter Ellison’s Perth-based lawyers, including 14 partners.