Addleshaws to open in Singapore next month in arbitration push

Addleshaw Goddard is opening its first office outside of the UK next month with the launch of a new base in Singapore.

The office, which will open for business in May, will initially focus on international arbitration but could expand to become a fuller service offering in future. The base will be led by litigation partner Jamie Harrison, who joined Addleshaws as a partner from US law firm Winston & Strawn in 2009.

Harrison, who has recruited an office manager locally, will be supported by managing associate Richard Wise. The office has no set target for lawyer headcount, with Harrison saying that expansion will be “client and demand-led”.

“In terms of targets, we will see where our clients take us,” said senior partner Monica Burch. “We need to be in the region to take the offering to the next level. The new office will give us proximity to clients in Asia – it feels like a very natural move.”

The news comes ahead of Addleshaws’ planned launch in Dubai, which is expected to take place during the 2012-13 financial year. The launch, which Burch confirmed is “still in development and on track”, will also initially focus on international arbitration.

International arbitration work in the fields of energy, infrastructure and joint ventures is booming in Singapore, according to Harrison. He said: “It’s a neutral, easy and cost-effective venue in which to resolve disputes; the natural choice in Asia, if not the world.”

A number of UK firms have announced plans to launch in Singapore so far this year, including LG, Withers and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which is returning to the country after closing its local branch five years ago.

Linklaters also this week confirmed plans to apply for a licence to practise local law in Singapore, following the announcement last month that it had ended its joint venture with top-tier Singapore firm Allen & Gledhill.