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Adding in Asia: Eversheds Sutherland gets Ministry of Law approval for Singapore merger

Eversheds Sutherland, fresh from completing a transatlantic tie-up, has finally gained Singapore Ministry of Law approval for its merger with Harry Elias Partnership.

The tie-up was previously delayed as a result of the name change resulting from the combination between Eversheds and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.

The merger is unique in that it will allow Eversheds to gain access to Singapore’s legal market, without being subject to local licensing requirements that only allow firms to practice Singapore law in ‘permitted areas’ and are subject to renewals.

The only fully integrated firm at present is Morgan Lewis & Bockius, which combined with Stamford Law in March 2015 to enable it to practise across all legal service areas.

Legal Business revealed last March that Eversheds was in talks with Harry Elias for a Singapore tie-up. The firm has had an office in the city since 2009, which is led by managing director Oommen Mathew. The outpost covers corporate commercial, dispute management, banking and finance and human resources and employment.

Last September Eversheds moved into the same building as Harry Elias as talks continued between the two firms.

Harry Elias, which has about 60 lawyers, is led by managing partner Philip Fong. The full service law firm is well-regarded for its strong dispute resolution practice which includes expertise in international arbitration, and its formidable matrimonial and family law practice.

Singapore is still a lucrative market for many law firms, with Osborne Clarke recently expanding its south-east Asia presence through an association with a new Singaporean firm, OC Queen Street. In July, Reed Smith entered into a formal alliance with Singaporean firm Resource Law giving the firm the ability to practise Singapore law for the first time.

Read more: ‘Eversheds realises long-held US ambitions by combining with Sutherland’