Singapore has a comprehensive and diligent process for obtaining a foreign legal practice license
Dechert opens Singapore office
Dechert said it has opened an office in Singapore after an eight-month wait to obtain a license. The office, the firm’s fourth in Asia, will be led by partner Dean Collins, who joins from the Singapore location of Washington’s O’Melveny & Myers. Dechert said it hopes Collins brings with him a team of associates. In Singapore, lawyers must obtain a new license to practice law when switching firms.
Collins’ practice focuses on investment fund formation, advising investment funds, their investment managers and other industry participants in Asia. Before O’Melveny, Collins worked for private equity firm Actis and served as a consultant at UBS and Merrill Lynch.
Dechert CEO Daniel O’Donnell said the firm focuses on practices before geography. And Collins’ practice fits with its focus in Asia on investment management. He said the firm would like to add an international arbitration component to Singapore.
“Singapore has a comprehensive and diligent process for obtaining a foreign legal practice license,” O’Donnell said. “But it’s another step in expanding our Asia practice for our clients. So we are very pleased to have obtained approval.”
Dechert opened in Hong Kong in 2007 and in Beijing in 2008 with lawyers in those offices handling matters involving international mergers and acquisitions, foreign direct investment, general corporate advice and corporate governance. Dechert also assists with private equity and venture capital investments and exits in Greater China, a range of private equity and hedge fund activities, securities and commercial litigation and intellectual property.
Dechert also opened an office in Almaty, the commercial capital of Kazakhstan, with a team of 11 lawyers from the New York firm Chadbourne & Parke in 2012.
Dechert, Philadelphia’s most profitable big law firm, also holds a license to practice in Shanghai, China but O’Donnell said the firm has yet to find the right team of lawyers to launch an official office.
Duane Morris is the other Philadelphia firm with a Singapore office. O’Donnell estimated that roughly 25 U.S. law firms have locations there.
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