Davinder Singh, Chief Executive Officer of Drew & Napier LLC, comments on Singapore’s legal market. Singapore plans to invite foreign law firms to apply for a second round of qualifying foreign law practice licenses in the second half of the year.
On Singapore’s further opening of its legal industry:
“There is and will always be more than enough to go around. We welcome liberalization. It has given depth and breadth to Singapore as an international financial center. As the market expands, there will be an increasing need for foreign lawyers who have skills which are not so readily found in Singapore.
‘‘Drew & Napier and its fees have not felt any negative impact from the opening up. In fact, it has helped us expand our network of professional ties, resulting in more and increasingly challenging work being referred to us.
‘‘It is not a given that we are headed the Hong Kong way. The history and legal landscape here are different. The large firms will continue to remain Singaporean and are likely, in the years to come, to continue to dominate large swathes of corporate practice, both local and regional.
‘‘International firms have always found Singapore attractive because of the many and growing opportunities here. Singapore is racing ahead of others and more and more international firms realize that they should be a part of that trajectory of success and promise.’’
On the impact on domestic law firms:
‘‘The next generation of leaders of local firms will remain Singaporean, and rightly so. As the market continues to open up, they will have to continually ask themselves what the best model for their firm is. Today’s solution is unlikely to necessarily provide tomorrow’s answer.’’
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