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S'pore's top law firms identified, ranked based on survey results

S'pore's top law firms identified, ranked based on survey results

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 16 Nov 2020
Author: K.C. Vijayan

The spread of small and large firms featured in the ranking reflects the diverse nature of the legal services market in Singapore.

Law firm Allen & Gledhill, one of the Big Four here, has been named in all 15 categories of the inaugural Singapore's Best Law Firms 2021 ranking - the only one to be so named.

But the top two positions in the criminal law category went to smaller outfits - Trident Law Corporation and Eugene Thuraisingam LLP.

The spread of small and large firms featured in the ranking reflects the diverse nature of the legal services market here, a survey undertaken by The Straits Times and German-based research firm Statista has found.

The results released today are based on feedback from professionals in the legal sector and clients, who responded to the survey conducted between June 9 and Aug 8 this year.

A total of 98 firms are represented in 15 different categories, with 265 mentions.

Firms that made it into the "Best Of" in a legal category will be able to obtain a licence to use an official seal created for the ranking.

The eye-catching seal features the trademarks of The Straits Times and Statista.

The list has familiar market leaders as well as niche firms with strong skills in the respective categories, from banking and negligence law to criminal and commercial law.

Adsan Law emerged as the best law firm in the category for charities, non-profit organisations and pro bono work.

A total of 4,716 respondents took part in the online survey and over 10,000 recommendations for awards were received in total.

All recommendations were analysed and studied and the top firms were identified and ranked according to the number of recommendations they garnered.

"The Singapore legal profession is well known for its breadth and depth of quality lawyers. Guides like this provide more information for potential clients and give some measure of feedback to the firms," said National University of Singapore law faculty dean Simon Chesterman.

Melbourne-based innovation and strategy consultant Dharmendra Yadav said: "It is important that The Straits Times, as the primary broadsheet in Singapore, has been able to lend its ground expertise to benchmark law firms. This will engender confidence in these firms."

The organisations previously worked on two other projects - Singapore's Fastest Growing Companies and Singapore's Best Employers.

Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) English, Malay and Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times, said: "Our experience with the first two projects gave us confidence that Statista is the right partner to work with on this new project to focus on legal services in Singapore.

"This will be both of interest to readers and also useful to them when they need to seek legal advice and services."

Dr Friedrich Schwandt, founder and chief executive of Statista, said: "For us, it is always a pleasure to partner with SPH and The Straits Times on mega research projects such as this one - in general, but also with the specific view that Singapore is our Asia hub, with our office here constantly growing."

The full results can be accessed at https://str.sg/lawfirms21


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Allen & Gledhill only firm to be ranked in all 15 categories

Allen & Gledhill is the only law firm to be ranked in all 15 categories of the inaugural list of the ST Best Law Firms 2021.

The survey, done jointly with German research firm Statista, identified, for the first time, Singapore's front runners in 15 categories of legal practice ranging from banking and negligence law to criminal and commercial law, as recommended by their peers and users.

Allen & Gledhill obtained five-star ratings in 10 out of the 15 categories, including banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property law.

Collegiate Big Four law firms Rajah & Tann and WongPartnership were ranked in 14 and 13 out of the total 15 categories, respectively.

Allen & Gledhill's joint managing partner, Mr Jerry Koh, said: "We are humbled to be recognised as one of the best law firms in Singapore by our clients and friends. Their faith in our capabilities has allowed us to constantly raise the bar and push boundaries in legal innovation as we seek to deliver the most favourable outcomes for them."

Allen & Gledhill was founded in 1902 and is one of the leading and largest full-service law firms in South-east Asia. It has, in the current era, produced two sitting law ministers, the present Attorney-General and a serving High Court judge, among others.

"Many of our partners are recognised as thought leaders in their fields and are regularly consulted by the regulators, significant industry bodies and leading players in promoting or enhancing legislation in Singapore," said Mr Koh.

The firm was involved in a number of high-profile, high-value, innovative and cross-border matters that took place in Singapore in the past year.

Significant matters where the firm acted as transaction counsel or advised on recently include the $8.27 billion proposed merger of CapitaLand Mall Trust and CapitaLand Commercial Trust to form the third-largest real estate investment trust (Reit) in Asia-Pacific. The merged entity is also expected to be the largest Reit in Singapore, with a market capitalisation of $16.8 billion and a combined property value of $22.9 billion.

"Our (regional) network brings together over 600 lawyers with extensive experience in dealing with all manner of transactions across multiple jurisdictions and practice areas.

"We are constantly looking to improve our capabilities and bring our clients the best legal services in the region," said Mr Koh.

K. C. Vijayan


Hoh law corporation's islandwide reach with 10 branch offices

Hoh Law Corporation, which topped the list in the negligence law category in the ST Best Law Firms 2021 survey, and was also ranked among the top law firms in Family Law and Manpower and Employment, opened its 10th branch office in Woodlands last week.

Started by Mr Hoh Chin Cha in 1991 with a modest office in Middle Road, the firm now has the most number of branches in Singapore, and has firmly established itself with a dedicated focus on community issues and providing legal solutions to the masses.

"Our commitment to providing quality legal solutions at affordable prices has been acknowledged by our stakeholders, peers and clients, as shown by this survey conducted by The Straits Times and Statista," said Mr Hoh, the firm's managing director.

"Our work centres on negligence, family law and employment issues. In this respect, we routinely advise and represent migrant workers who have been involved in accidents in the course of their employment and are committed to ensuring that their interests are protected. We also frequently render pro bono assistance to ensure that migrant workers are afforded equal access to justice," he added.

The firm has handled a litany of headline-grabbing cases over the years. For example, it helped a woman obtain compensation after she became paralysed from being hit by falling branches of a tree within a cathedral's precincts in 2009.

In serving the public, Hoh Law Corporation has forged strong partnerships with the community and with various charities and non-governmental organisations, said Mr Hoh.

The company is also involved in Bangladesh, in the construction of a complex housing a nursing home and lodging facilities for workers who need accommodation while awaiting travel arrangements to Singapore.

The nursing home, located near a hospital, is to be operated with a local charity. It is due to open next year and will serve Bangladeshi workers injured while working in Singapore, he said.

"Closer to home, Hoh Law Corporation also worked together with various non-governmental organisations and charities during the Covid-19 pandemic by resourcing the distribution of rice and masks to foreign workers in Singapore and in Bangladesh," he added.

"We have also pledged $1 million to establish the HOH Foundation which reflects our mission to serve the community, the people and the masses with integrity," he said.

Mr Hoh added that the foundation, which is pending registration, will be financing the daily operating costs of the home in Bangladesh in addition to its construction.


Blind accident victim grateful for law firm Lee Shergill's efforts

For law firm Lee Shergill - one of four to achieve a five-star rating for negligence law in the Best Law Firms 2021 rankings - handling the case of a blind man was both rare and inspiring.

Managing partner Raj Singh Shergill said he was struck by the positive outlook of Mr Zamry Abdul Karim, who has been blind since birth.

In court documents filed, Mr Zamry related how, when using his white cane to cross Toh Guan Road at a signalised T-junction with Toh Guan View in Jurong East at about 11.30pm on June 13, 2017, he was knocked down by a taxi.

He fractured his leg and had other injuries, received hospital treatment, and has remained jobless since then because of his disabilities as a result of the injuries from the accident.

Before that, he had worked for 15 years as a massage therapist.

Mr Zamry, 51, will receive 50 per cent of damages after an agreement on liability was worked out with the vehicle insurer through its lawyer K. Anparasan last month, averting a High Court trial.

The sum of the damages will be court-assessed separately.

Mr Zamry had memorised the route between his workplace and Toh Guan Road, where he lived then. He had travelled the same route without incident since 1999.

At most pedestrian crossings, he would press the button for the visually impaired and the elderly to ensure he had more time to cross the road, with the audible beep from the traffic signals allowing him to gauge how much time he had to complete the crossing.

But the crossing at the Toh Guan Road and Toh Guan View junction did not have this button function. So he had to listen carefully to the sound of the traffic around him.

"As a blind person, we become reliant on our sense of hearing, which in turn becomes more finely attuned to our surroundings. When the cars stopped and I could hear their engines idling, I would use this as a gauge to begin crossing," he said.

Mr Zamry said he was grateful to Mr Shergill for his efforts.

"I live like Batman at home because I have lived in the dark since I was born and I don't miss the light. I switch on the light only when I get visitors to my flat. I have memorised my flat layout and so I don't have to use the white cane at home," he said on Saturday (Nov 14).

Mr Shergill said the case was one in a wide range of negligence suits the firm had handled that drew notice from clients and peers alike.

He added: "The ranking is a ringing endorsement by clients and fellow lawyers of our team's efforts. It is encouraging and inspiring to know that we are appreciated and that we have made a difference in our calling to secure justice for injury or medical negligence victims.

"More so when we are up against industry giants with deeper resources. I hope the recognition received will inspire more young lawyers to dedicate their legal minds to areas where they can be a blessing to others in their time of need."


Helping people, giving back at the heart of legal practice

For Adsan Law, ranked at the top in the rarely highlighted best law firm category for charities, non-profit organisations and pro bono work, it is people who matter and are placed at the core of its legal practice.

First established as a partnership, Yeo-Leong & Peh in 1987, the practice has since developed into a mid-sized law corporation, undergone a digital transformation and rebranded itself as Adsan Law LLC.

The only other five-star rated law firm in this category of ST Best Law Firms is Quahe, Woo & Palmer. Allen & Gledhill, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson, and Rajah & Tann are in the next four-star tier, based on the number of recommendations from the legal profession and clients.

"At the core of our legal practice is people. We believe in giving back by making meaningful impact on the lives of others, and on the community as a whole," said Adsan Law chief executive Susan Leong.

"Throughout the years, our senior leaders, lawyers and staff have dedicated their time and knowledge to assist in pro bono work," she added.

"The heart of our corporate philosophy and legacy revolves around helping others from diverse walks of life and therefore weaving a strong and meaningful tapestry of life with the work that we do, professionally and charitably."

Adsan Law chairman Adrian Peh is a Justice of the Peace, serves on the Criminal Law Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Board of Visiting Justices and Board of Inspection under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Mr Peh is a board member of the Chinese Development Assistance Council and a standing council member of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He also serves on the board of various foundations, having previously served on the Community Foundation of Singapore and other bodies and committees.

Madam Leong, who is also vice chairman, is one of the founding directors of Jazz Association (Singapore). She also sits on the board of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, is a mentor of the Young Women's Leadership Connection and a director of Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital.

"Just recently, we advised on the processes and documentation of a new crisis fund set up by the Jazz Association (Singapore) that will award a one-time grant to local jazz musicians whose earnings have been impacted by crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, or health issues which prevent them from being able to work," said Madam Leong.

She and Mr Peh serve on boards of various charities and non-profit organisations, and have assisted them on a pro bono basis to review contracts, processes and review governance and compliance issues.

"We are strongly committed to constantly looking at smarter and more effective ways to provide optimal services," she said.

"We are honoured and humbled to receive recognition as one of the best law firms in this category and are grateful to our clients and friends for their trust and support.

"We will continue with our efforts to contribute towards the community and do our part to build a compassionate and meaningful society," added Madam Leong.

K. C. Vijayan


Top-ranked Adsan Law places people at core of its practice

For Adsan Law, ranked at the top in the rarely highlighted best law firm category for charities, non-profit organisations and pro bono, it is people that matter and are placed at the core of its legal practice.

First established as a partnership, Yeo-Leong & Peh in 1987, the practice has since developed into a mid-sized law corporation, undergone a digital transformation and rebranded itself as Adsan Law LLC.

The only other five-star-rated law firm in this category of Best Law Firms was Quahe, Woo & Palmer. Allen & Gledhill, Dentons Rodyk, and Rajah & Tann are in the next four-star tier, based on the number of recommendations from the legal profession and clients.

"At the core of our legal practice is people. We believe in giving back by making meaningful impact on the lives of others, and on the community as a whole," said Adsan chief executive officer Susan Leong.

"Throughout the years, our senior leaders, lawyers and staff have dedicated their time and knowledge to assist in pro bono work," she added.

"The heart of our corporate philosophy and legacy revolves around helping others from diverse walks of life and therefore weaving a strong and meaningful tapestry of life with the work that we do, professionally and charitably."

Adsan Law's chairman, Mr Adrian Peh, is a Justice of the Peace, serves on the Criminal Law Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Board of Visiting Justices and Board of Inspection under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

He is also a board member of the Chinese Development Assistance Council and a standing council member of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Peh also serves on the board of various foundations, having previously served on the Community Foundation of Singapore and other bodies and committees.

Madam Leong, who is also the vice-chairman, is one of the founding directors of Jazz Association (Singapore).

She also sits on the board of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, is a mentor of the Young Women's Leadership Connection and a director of Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital.

"Just recently, we advised on the processes and documentation of a new crisis fund set up by the Jazz Association (Singapore) that will award a one-time grant to local jazz musicians whose earnings have been impacted by crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, or health issues which prevent them from being able to work."

Mr Peh and Madam Leong serve on the board of various charities and non-profit organisations, and have also assisted these organisations on a pro bono basis to review contracts, processes and review governance and compliance issues.

"We are strongly committed to constantly looking at smarter and more effective ways to provide optimal services," she said.

"We are honoured and humbled to receive recognition as one of the best law firms in this category and are grateful to our clients and friends for their trust and support.

"We will continue with our efforts to contribute towards the community and do our part to build a compassionate and meaningful society," added Madam Leong.

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

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