The view from Fort Canning Hill is telling. You stand next to an early 20th century lighthouse, a testament to Singapore’s early success as a maritime trade hub. It shut in 1958, as the skyscrapers vaulting up rendered it hardly visible from the sea – a port at the crossroads of India and China was becoming a major financial centre.
Today instead of the sea, the view is of dozens of buildings hosting international banks, insurers, manufacturers, tech companies… and of course, lawyers. A city-state of just five and a half million is home to almost 1,000 national and 150 international law firms, making it one of Asia’s two dominant global hubs alongside old rival Hong Kong.