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Singapore scramble: Morgan Lewis teams up with Stamford Law to enter market

Singapore continues to be an attractive legal market for many Western law firms targeting the fast growing Asia-Pacific region with Morgan Lewis & Bockius being the latest to combine with a local outfit – teaming up with Stamford Law Corporation.

The combination comes as the US firm looks to build a disputes ‘powerhouse’ across Asia-Pacific, with an additional focus on transactions for clients investing in Singapore and the wider Asian marketplace.

The new firm will operate under the name Morgan Lewis Stamford and claims it will be ‘the only fully integrated law firm in Singapore that can practice across all legal service areas’. The move adds 80 Stamford lawyers to the US firm, making it the second bulk team hire for the firm in recent months, after the mass-recruit of 750 lawyers and staff from Bingham McCutchen.

The new combination will go into effect 1 April with current senior director of Stamford Law, Suet-Fern Lee, heading the new office as its managing partner.

Stamford Law is ranked second tier for its work in capital markets, corporate and M&A, restructuring and insolvency, and employment in The Legal 500, and is recognised for corporate, commercial, finance and litigation work in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan and India.

‘Singapore is a vibrant and critical business hub that serves as a regional gateway to the broader Asian market,’ said Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon. ‘Combining with Stamford Law gives us immediate strength in the region to support the business needs of our multinational clients. It also brings us closer to our increasing number of clients based there.’

Lee added: ‘This combination is unprecedented in extent and structure. It allows us to undertake much larger, more complex and in-depth cross-border legal transactions for many of the largest and most dynamic global corporations.’

Other firms to enter the region recently include Kennedys which bulked up its presence in the city-state through a joint venture with local firm Legal Solutions; Withers which established a formal law alliance with Singapore law firm KhattarWong; and King & Wood Mallesons which also confirmed plans to open an office.