29 June 2017
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Lee Suet Fern no longer law firm's Singapore head

Straits Times
17 Jun 2017
Grace Leong

Global law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius has said that Mrs Lee Suet Fern, the managing partner of its combined practice in Singapore, has stepped down from that role.

But Mrs Lee - the wife of Mr Lee Hsien Yang - will continue to play a key role in its global strategy from offices here and in Hong Kong.

The couple said earlier this week that they are preparing to leave Singapore - but have not said where they intend to live.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman for the firm in Washington said yesterday that "the firm does not anticipate any material change in our Singapore team or practice".

She added that Mrs Lee will "continue to spend a significant amount of time in Singapore as well as travel to Hong Kong, as she already does in support of her strong client relationships there, and as head of our international leadership team".

Morgan Lewis & Bockius merged in 2015 with Stamford Law - founded by Mrs Lee - and became Morgan Lewis Stamford, a Singapore law practice where the partners are concurrent partners of the global firm. Mrs Lee, a top corporate lawyer, then became managing partner of the combined practice here.

The Straits Times understands that Mr Ng Joo Khin, Mrs Lee's deputy and a Morgan Lewis Stamford partner, has been made office managing partner as part of a long-planned transition, which allows Mrs Lee to keep a key role in its global strategy.

Mrs Lee remains on the advisory board of Morgan Lewis & Bockius and will continue to be the head of the international leadership team. The team is made up of, in part, office managing partners of Morgan Lewis' international offices worldwide. Sources said Mrs Lee will be based in the Singapore and Hong Kong offices.

On Wednesday, Mr Lee Hsien Yang issued a statement with his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, saying they felt closely monitored and feared the use of state organs against them. The dispute centres on the house of their late father - former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew - at 38, Oxley Road.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong raised questions over Mrs Lee's role and that of her law firm in preparing the last will of the late Mr Lee. Mr Lee Hsien Yang has said that Stamford Law did not draft Mr Lee's final will.

The Straits Times understands that Morgan Lewis said it "stands by that account, and notes that no objections had previously been made to the final will, or the provision about demolition of the house, which was a well-known wish of Mr Lee Kuan Yew".

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.