Clifford Chance to launch new Asia support and innovation hub in Singapore

Kelvin Wong and Celia Sia of the Singapore Economic Development Board with Clifford Chance partners Lena Ng, Valerie Kong and Singapore managing partner Kai Niklas-Schneider

Clifford Chance (CC) is launching a ’best delivery and innovation’ hub in Singapore that will service the whole Asia-Pacific region.

The centre, the firm’s first such hub in Asia, is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board, a government agency that helps promote the city-state as a global centre for businesses and investments.

CC already has similar hubs in London, New York and continental Europe, although the European hub is not based in one location; instead, it operates as a ‘virtual’ team across a number of locations.

“The hub will act as CC’s regional centre to drive more innovative, efficient, effective and robust client service delivery. It will also identify, develop, test and roll out new legal technology solutions across the Asia-Pacific and beyond,” the firm said in a statement.

For the Singapore hub, CC will hire a group of dedicated legal project management and legal tech specialists who will work in collaboration with lawyers in Singapore and other regional offices to develop and roll out developments.

“Partners and lawyers will be engaged throughout the development of the hub,” said a Hong Kong-based spokesperson for CC. “They have invaluable insight into the challenges that our clients are facing and opportunities that exist to evolve our service delivery; they can bring this to the specialists in the hub and they will work together to identify solutions.”

Once the new technologies are rolled out, lawyers will be the first to receive training in order to transfer the knowledge to clients.

CC now has 20 people dedicated to the best delivery hubs globally. The firm expects to at least double that team size across all centres in the coming year.

The magic circle firm’s innovation hub is also a first in Singapore’s legal industry. In January, Singapore launched the Professional Services Industry Transformation Map – a set of initiatives that aim to drive innovation in architecture and engineering, consulting, accounting, legal and advertising firms.

Kelvin Wong, an assistant managing director at the Economic Development Board, said CC’s best delivery hub is in line with the transformation map’s objectives to encourage firms to develop new business solutions and capabilities.

Globally, CC has produced several innovative tools for clients, including a contract automation tool; an online client regulation toolkit; and a cloud-based transaction management solution. The firm is also adopting AI tools to improve the speed and efficiency of large-scale due diligence exercises.

The best delivery and innovation hub in Singapore is intended to create another centre for driving similar innovation through the Asia-Pacific region, the firm said.

CC operates in Singapore under a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice licence, which allows the firm to practise certain aspects of local law; the firm also has a Formal Law Alliance with local firm Cavenagh Law.