Legal Business Blogs

Staying local: White & Case wins foreign licence renewal in Singapore

White & Case has been granted renewal for its Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licence. The Singapore government has extended the firm’s QFLP licence for four years to April 2019, following the firm’s request for renewal.

White & Case was one of six law firms to originally receive the first QFLP licences issued by the Singapore government in 2009. The licence allows foreign firms to practise in permitted areas of Singapore law.

Eric Berg, White & Case’s head of Asia, said: ‘Singapore is a key international business hub and our office in Singapore plays a major role in our ability to provide critical solutions to clients’ complex cross-border and local business challenges. We are excited about the opportunities this extension provides.’

Singapore continues to push Singapore law as the governing law for regional transactions, stating that only foreign firms with a QFLP licence can advise on Singapore law independently. Five firms still have QFLP licences: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Latham & Watkins and Norton Rose Fulbright, in addition to White & Case.

Renewal is granted based on a number of rigorous targets, including the value of work generated and lawyer headcount in the Singapore office. Without a QFLP licence, international firms need to partner with domestic practices in the city state.

Meanwhile, many firms have pushed to enhance their presence in the region, including Withers’ formal law alliance with Singapore law firm KhattarWong, while Herbert Smith Freehills entered into a best-friend agreement with Prolegis after giving up its QFLP licence. In addition, King & Wood Mallesons confirmed earlier this year plans to open an office, while DLA Piper secured a coup with the hire of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Singapore partner John Viverito to lead its offering in the city state.