Lovells explains its new Singapore venture

Lovells and Lee & Lee are looking to offer a lot from their new JLV in Singapore.

The joint law venture (JLV) announced last week by Lovells and Lee & Lee in Singapore, is the latest in a string on international and local tie ups that have come about since the Singapore government announced the liberalization of the local legal market.

Lovells Lee & Lee - as the JLV is called - will handle most of the work that the existing two firms do in Singapore with the exception of conveyancing and litigation. The Senior Partner of Lovells, Paul Supramanian, describes the new structure as "the best conduit for the lawyers from each firm to channel their energies through".

The structure will allow the firm to combine onshore and offshore legal services in one firm. "This is much more efficient for the clients as it will cut through layers and layers of lawyers," says Supramanian. "It also creatres a bigger pool of talent and a better blend of resources with more specialization in focus practice areas. In sum, clients will get better services as we will be global yet local and local yet global."

It was revealed at the same time as the JLV was signed that the firm has also won a major mandate for the legal services of Sembawang's bid for the 5th Waste to Energy Incineration project in Singapore, which will require exactly the same multi-disciplinary approach that the JLV hopes to offer. Sembawang cited this multi disciplinaryt approach, inlcuding the on and offshore advice as well as the largeer combination of practice areas such as technical, environmental and financial  advice as the reason for appointing Lovells Lee & Lee.

The signing of the JLV comes after nine months of courtship between Lovells and Lee & Lee. Lee & Lee is one of the most prestigious law firms in Singapore, founded by Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew and his brother nearly fifty years ago.

As with other areas of the Singapore economy, the government has been slowly but deliberately liberalizing the legal market over the past few years. The government had set up a Legal sSrvices Committee to look into liberalizing the legal services market. It was annouced in early 2000 that JLVs could be set up by June 15th of that year. Initially it was thought there would be five licened JLVs.

Lovells started talking to Lee & Lee in May 2000 and within 6 weeks the pair had submitted their plans for a JLV to the Attorney General's Office. It was something of a coup for Lovells, as Lee & Lee had had an informal tie up with Norton Rose for 17 years previously.

The venture's success in large part depends on the further development of a liberalized, internationalized economy in Singapore as well as its further positioning as the main regional financial and business centre in South East Asia. That this deal is going ahead now is probably a leading indicator that Singpaore will be just such a place.

Share our publication on social media
Share our publication on social media