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APT Legal to open new offices across India

New Delhi-based APT Legal, will be opening new offices in Mumbai, Jaipur, Allahabad (Prayagraj) and Patna. Having started out as Chamber Practice, APT Legal has been representing clients both in the private sector and public sector, pan-India.

The firm handles litigations before the Supreme Court, high courts and appellate tribunals. The firm’s partners focus on practices including mining and metal, arbitration, civil, corporate, and commercial laws. It also advises on insolvency and bankruptcy, white collar crime, competition, energy, environment and forest laws and telecom regulations, among others.

APT Legal’s Delhi office has two partners supported by 10 Associates while the Mumbai, Jaipur, Allahabad and Patna offices will be led each by a partner along with three associates.

Baker McKenzie Named Mainland Europe’s Strongest Law Brand

Leading Global law firm Baker McKenzie has been named Europe’s strongest law brand in the 2018 Acritas Mainland Europe Index.

The Firm received an overall score of 100 – nearly 30 points ahead of the firm that ranked second place – and ranked top for awareness, favourability, top level engagement, multi-jurisdictional deals, multi-jurisdictional litigation, high value usage and inbound usage. The Firm ranked number one in France and Russia, and placed high in Germany, Spain and Italy.

Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort, Baker McKenzie’s Chair of the EMEA region, said: “To be named the top legal brand in Europe is an outstanding endorsement of the work we do and is welcome validation from the European market of the progress we have made. We’ve built our business around investing in our client relationships and innovating to stay relevant to clients so we’re delighted that commitment has been recognised by senior legal buyers across Europe.”

Ranking is based on the responses of 448 senior legal buyers, based in Mainland Europe about their organization’s overall legal needs, and a further 311 senior legal buyers about their international needs in the key jurisdictions of France, Germany, Netherlands, Russia and Spain.

Esteban Raventós, a member of the Firm’s Global Executive Committee, said: “Brands are built upon trust, and in professional services trust is built through excellent service and expertise. We’re pleased to be recognised for the depth of our practice in mainland Europe and our unique ability to deliver global perspectives and local expertise simultaneously.”

The Firm’s European ranking follows Acritas naming Baker McKenzie the strongest global law firm brand in its Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index for the ninth year in a row. In the global survey, the Firm ranked at the top for each of the measures in the Acritas Index – awareness, favourability, consideration for multijurisdictional deals and for multijurisdictional litigation.

London City

Another $10m scalp for Kirkland as Freshfields star Maguire quits

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Adrian Maguire is understood to be joining his former boss David Higgins at Kirkland & Ellis, over a year after the US firm made a concerted push to expand its corporate credentials in the City.


CC launches new legal tech lab in Singapore

Clifford Chance, has launched a new innovation lab in Singapore, named Create+65, to identify, incubate, test and pilot new legal technology solutions.

Create+65 was designed to bring together venture capitalists, start-ups, product owners and developers, universities and private institutions with the goal of developing and testing new legal services tools and solutions.

Subject to their position in the innovation cycle, participants that join Create+65 would have access to insights from the firm and its clients about technology solutions that target the delivery of legal services as well as feedback and mentoring, data sets and connection to potential investment and/or funding vehicles.

Users would also have access to workspaces and gain the ability to partner with Clifford Chance to develop innovative legal technology solutions.

The firm has shown a drive to lead in tech this year. In April, it launched ‘Clifford Chance’s Tech Academy’, a global training programme dedicated to learning and development in the tech space. Meanwhile, in December, along with Latham & Watkins, the firm invested in Reynen Court, a tech venture sometimes called the app Store for legal tech. T

he latest initiative is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and in collaboration with Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL).

30 people to watch in the business of law in Asia in 2019

The Asia-Pacific legal markets in 2018 were characterized by trends including the exponential growth of technology deployment and innovation; the growing efforts of elite regional and local firms to adapt, innovate and compete; the potential limitations (and growth) in market access for foreign law firms; the expansion and diversification of alternative legal services firms, the expansion of the legal ecosystem surrounding China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative; the continued growth in legal startup activity; the competition for market share in Asia’s growing arbitration market; and the ongoing efforts by those who serve as consultants to the sector to best identify challenges and opportunities the region represents to law firms and legal services sector companies.  Based on these trends and the suggestions of Asia Law Portal readers, below please find the 2019 edition of 30 people to watch in the business of law in Asia:

  1. Teresa Cheng  – Secretary for Justice, Hong Kong – In a November, 2018 article, Anna Zhang reported that Hong Kong is making a big push to become the dominant Asia-Pacific locale for cross-border dispute resolution and international arbitration. “Arbitration lawyers say [Cheng’s] knowledge and expertise on the nuts and bolts of international arbitration will be an asset to Hong Kong and its efforts in building itself up as the region’s top dispute resolution destination” — amid ferocious competition from other cities seeking to become Asia’s arbitration hub, including Singapore, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul, among others.
  2. Melissa Kaye Pang – President, Law Society of Hong Kong and Partner, Pang & Associates – As Elizabeth Beattie detailed in Asian Legal Business in November, 2018, the Hong Kong Law Society has proposed some new restrictions on foreign lawyers. Pang has explained the proposed rules “do not change the law but are merely clarifications.” Anna Zhang and John Kang detail the newly proposed rules and the objections to those rules by foreign lawyers in
  3. Nozomu Tsunoda – Founder, LegalForce Inc. As Beaumont Enterprise detailed recently: “LegalForce Inc. was established in [2017], and is led by 31-year-old lawyer Nozomu Tsunoda, who quit a leading law firm to go into business for himself. Even with only seven employees, Tokyo-based LegalForce checks contract documents such as a confidentiality agreement between companies.”  The service is already being used by several Japanese corporations.
  4. John Kang – Business of Law Reporter, The Asian Lawyer/The American Lawyer – Based in Hong Kong, Kang covers the business of law in Asia and Australia. His coverage of the region’s legal markets is superb in its’ depth and insight.  He’s a must-read for anyone seeking up-to date and highly informed insight into the region’s legal market.
  5. Elizabeth Beattie – Asian Legal Business – Beattie joined Asian Legal Business as a reporter in the fall of 2018 and her coverage immediately became essential reading for anyone interested in the business of law in the Asia-Pacific legal markets.
  6. Lesley Hobbs – Chief Executive Officer, Cognatio Law – Hobbs founded NewLaw firm Cognatio in early 2018. A veteran of NewLaw, Hobbs is very well placed to guide Cognatio to a successful future in the increasingly competitive Asia-Pacific region NewLaw marketplace.
  7. Kareena Teh– EY Litigation, Hong Kong – As John Kang detailed in early December 2018, Teh was part of a team recruited by EY to build out the Big4 firm’s disputes capability. In 2014, Eric Chin explained the competitive threat the Big4 accounting firms pose to BigLaw in Asia.  This threat has expanded over time and the appointment of The is an example of the Big4’s drive to compete for one of the most lucrative areas of legal work in the Asia-Pacific region.
  8. Estefania Altuve – Head of Client Solutions, KorumLegal. A unique NewLaw story in the Asia-Pacific region, Korum was founded in 2015 in Hong Kong, and has quickly expanded not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also into the EMEA region from a base in London. Most NewLaw firms have understandably focused on some of the major centers of corporate activity in Asia – Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.  But as Altuve has explained, the firm has remotely served clients in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea.  The firm is also now in initial conversations about the possibility of opening offices in Australia and New Zealand.
  9. Yolanda Chan – General Manager, Asia-Pacific, Axiom Law – Asia’s pioneer NewLaw firm named Chan General Manager for Asia-Pacific in December, 2018. “Chan brings a strong managerial and technology background to her new role, with more than 20 years of APAC experience with industry-leading brands including Fitbit, Promethean, and Microsoft”, as the firm detailed in announcing Chan’s appointment.
  10. John Chisholm – Australia-based Chisholm is among the world’s most respected consultants to the legal profession on strategy and management, having previously served as Managing Partner and Chief Executive to two leading Australian law firms. In October 2018, Chisholm was inducted into The College of Law Practice Management, “which honors and recognizes distinguished law practice management professionals” throughout the world.
  11. Mathew Chako – Partner, Spice Route Legal – Mathew helped found the firm in 2016, which has offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kochi and extensive affiliations across South East Asia, China, Japan, Europe and the Americas. As the firm details, it “is built on the idea that modern commerce respect neither jurisdictional boundaries nor traditional notions of compartmentalized competence”. The firm is, therefore, “cross-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary and focused on providing effective, efficient and practical transactional, advisory and regulatory legal assistance”.
  12. Patrick Dransfield – Co-Director, In-House Community, which comprises over 20,000 in-house lawyers and compliance officers across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. A regular writer on the business of law, his writings are integral for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the legal landscape in the Asia-Pacific region.
  13. Laurent Tam Nguyen – Vietnam-based, Nguyen has more than twenty-five years’ experience leading marketing and business development operations in b2b professional services, e-business and commercial property.  His experience includes heading regional communications and marketing initiatives for leading ASEAN-region legal services organizations including ZICO Group and DFDL.  In addition, he is General Manager & Founder of Digital Mekong.
  14. Sarah Mateljan – Australia-based Co-founder of legal startup LawCPD, which provides lawyers with the means to complete their mandatory continuing professional development requirements through online learning.
  15. Robert Gilardino – Shanghai-based Partner with Horizons Advisory, which recently established the China Collaborative Group (CCG), a “multidisciplinary legal services collective…designed to provide Chinese clients with cohesive strategic solutions that facilitate cross-border investment under the Belt and Road Initiative and other global economic trade platforms.”
  16. Rika Beppu – Founding member and chair of Women in Law Japan and Partner, Squire Patton Boggs – As Vantage Asia details in an article in July, 2018: “Rika Beppu has more than 20 years’ experience advising on corporate M&A, joint ventures and commercial projects in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, most recently with Squire Patton Boggs. But in addition to her legal expertise is her strong commitment to gender equality in her position as founding member and chair of Women in Law Japan.” “Now in its third year, we have more than 300 members and supporters who gather for events five times a year. The most exciting development this year is the launch of a mentoring programme across the legal profession in Tokyo,” As Beppu explains.
  17. Ivan Lalamentik, Jakarta-based startup lawyer and Founder of – a tech-enabled legal startup which focuses on simplifying legal administration processes to help clients obtain “hassle-free administrative legal documentation with certainty, cost-effective[ness] and transparency.”
  18. Dion Cusack, President, Australasian Law Practice Management Association (ALPMA) – The Melbourne-based senior law practice management professional recently became leader of one of Australia’s most important legal services sector management organizations. In recent years ALPMA has expanded its’ reach to host an annual APAC region law practice management forum in Singapore.
  19. Rohan Mahajan, Founder, Founded in 2013, the New Delhi-based company provides “an interactive online platform that makes it faster and easier to find and hire the best Lawyers in any city/court in India”.
  20. Ying Mei Lum, Chief Technology Officer, MahWengKwai (MWKA), Director, MWKA Technologies – MahWengKwai & Associates’ recently “set up its own technology research and development arm based in Singapore, under MWKA Technologies Pte Ltd, a member of ACCESS (the Singapore Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association) and Singapore Fintech Association. The research and development team, specialising in mobile strategy, digital transformation and the crossroads of fintech + law is led by Ying Mei Lum” (a Big4 management alumnus who recently was MWK’s COO and continues to remain the firm’s CTO). MWKA Technologies also offers advisory and project management services to the firm’s clients “who wish to explore these technologies to maintain or increase their competitive advantage.”
  21. Kanmani Gobal, Business Development Manager, Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill (LHAG) – Kuala Lumpur-based Gobal joined elite Malaysian law firm LHAG after helping the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) complete a major re-brand from its previous identity: the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration.  Gobal’s experience now spans both work to help a regional arbitration centre and a local elite firm gain competitive advantage amid unique competitive legal environments.
  22. Jonathan Wong – Founder, Law Guide Singapore – As Wong details: “LawGuide Singapore is Singapore’s fastest-growing and most-followed online legal information portal and platform in terms of social media reach and engagement…[with a] mission to give consumers easier access to basic law-related information to help them make better decisions and ultimately to help provide greater access to justice – through web, digital content, social media and Singapore’s first AI legal chatbot[emphasis added]
  23. Daniel Himpson, Head of Business Development, Asia-Pacific, Lex Mundi. In July, 2018, Shanghai-based Himpson was selected to lead strategy and business development for elite global legal alliance LexMundi in the Asia-Pacific region.
  24. David Eyerly, Communications and Business Development Director, SSEK Legal Consultants. Jakarta-based Eyerly, a long-time professional writer and editor, has helped position SSEK as one of the most well-recognized law firms in Indonesia through, among a range of efforts, the firms superb Indonesia Law Blog and social media presence.   This provides SSEK with a decided advantage in Indonesia as against existing domestic and potential foreign competitors in a market which in 2014 Hong Kong-based legal services management consultant Nick Seddon called “the most significant regional opportunity for foreign law firms”.
  25. Pixie Cigar – Chapter Co-Head, Legal Hackers Kuala Lumpur (one of Asia’s most important ecosystems of legal innovation) explains that: “My goal is to develop the legal Tech Community in Malaysia and enhance the innovation & efficiency of Law through technology.”

(26-30) The team at Lawtech.Asia  – (“Southeast Asia’s foremost Law & Technology Review”) — As Lawtech.Asia details: “The march of technological advancements is unrelenting. Yet, there is a paucity of understanding about how these developments will influence – and are influenced by – underrepresented regions such as Southeast Asia (SEA). This is where we come in. LawTech.Asia hopes to bring a unique perspective to the discourse surrounding law, technology and policy issues… LawTech.Asia is currently run by a small team of law students and law graduates based in Singapore who are interested in the intersection of law and technology. However, our mission is not exclusive to certain specialties or nationalities. Those with the right fit, talent and passion are always welcome – please contact us if you’d like to join us in growing this together!”

  1. Josh Lee (Kok Thong) – “presently serves as a Legal Policy Officer and Criminologist in the Legal Policy Division in Singapore’s Ministry of Law…”
  2. Amelia Chew – “graduated with a double degree in Law and Liberal Arts from the National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS College and joined Luminance as a Legal Product Expert…”
  3. Jennifer Lim — “graduated from the National University of Singapore, Faculty of Law in 2017. Growing up designing websites and dabbling with HTML, she sees legal technology as a perfect marriage of both her loves: technology and the law…”
  4. Wan Ding Yao – “is a rising 2L in the Singapore Management University School of Law. Having a keen interest in the technical aspects of cyber security, he presently leads the School of Information System’s Whitehat Society…”
  5. Irene Ng (Huang Ying) – “is a corporate and legal counsel at a Singaporean listed company and a PhD Candidate at the University of Vienna…”



Working at Baker McKenzie

We are different from other law firms in the way we think, work and behave. Global in our outlook from the beginning, for six consecutive years we have been named as the world’s strongest law firm brand by Acritas, underlining our dedication to being the best. We know the value of our talent in sustaining this success and so we’re committed to offering the platform to nurture this talent.

Llinks ends 3-year HK association with Vivien Teu & Co

Shanghai law firm Llinks Law Offices has ended its three-year-long association with boutique Hong Kong law firm Vivien Teu & Co, and entered into a new tie-up with Dennis Fong & Co.

Following a string of departures, Vivien Teu, which had 14 lawyers in April, now has just two: Founding partner Vivien Teu and senior associate Christina Suen.  Llinks and Vivien Teu established their association in April 2015, shortly after the Hong Kong firm was launched.

Llinks said that back then the two firms had the same vision of offering specialist and one-stop China and Hong Kong legal services with a focus on funds, asset management, IPOs and M&A.  “However, we decided to terminate the association as we found we no longer shared the same vision,” said David Yu, managing partner of Llinks.

Dennis Fong, the new alliance firm, was formed after a five-lawyer team led by Fong left Viven Teu & Co. Fong specializes in IPOs, M&A and general corporate finance and commercial matters, which is in line with Llinks’ main areas of practice in Hong Kong.  The firm now has nine lawyers, including two partners.

Managing partner David Yu said Dennis Fong was on the lookout for partner and associate-level hires in four practice areas: Corporate/M&A, capital markets, asset management and dispute resolution.

Legal services: PwC

Business and legal issues today are intertwined as never before. So, doesn’t it make sense to work with a legal network whose services are embedded within the powerful, multi-disciplinary capabilities and broad client footprint of a global professional services leader? With over 2,500 lawyers across more than 85 countries, we have the broadest geographical coverage of any Legal Services network in the world.


Big Four firm EY expands in Hong Kong

Kareena Teh, a former senior partner at Dechert, has joined EY’s Hong Kong member firm, LC Lawyers, along with two other associates, as the Big Four accounting firm expands its legal presence in the Asian hub.

Teh and the associates, Mok Ho-yin and Philip Kwok, focus on general corporate and commercial disputes, as well as regulatory and compliance matters and governance. Kwok joins LC Lawyers as counsel.

Teh, who spent five years at Dechert, earlier had an 11-year stint at Baker McKenzie, leaving as a partner. She previously worked as a barrister and solicitor in Christchurch, New Zealand.Back in May, LC Lawyers hired Rossana Chu from Troutman Sanders, after the U.S.-headquartered office exited Asia.

The Big Four accounting firms have been pushing into Asia in recent years, unsettling the market with their high-profile hires and quick expansion.

Ashurst celebrates the ‘First 100 Years of Women in Law’

International law firm Ashurst marks the centenary of women in law, in support of the First 100 Years initiative, with a photomosaic portrait of Ada Evans, the first Australian woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Laws.

The First 100 Years is an inspirational history project, supported by the Law Society of NSW and Women Lawyers Association of NSW, charting the journey of women in law since enactment of enabling legislation throughout Australia in the early 1900s.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Legal Status Act 1918 (NSW) which allowed women to practise as lawyers and to stand for parliament for the first time in NSW. Laws were changing throughout Australia from the early 1900s onwards. Victoria was the first state to allow women to practice law in 1903, with other states following soon after.

Commenting on the project and the launch of the photomosaic, Ashurst partner Sarah Dulhunty said:

“We are delighted to have partnered with the First 100 Years project team on this initiative to recognise and celebrate the contribution women have made to the legal profession. The photomosaic initiative has been a great way to mark this significant centenary and reflects our continued support for progressing gender equality within the profession. Thank you to all our staff, clients and affiliates who participated in this fantastic initiative.”