White & Case relocates two partners to Singapore in Asia white collar push

White & Case is relocating two senior partners to its Singapore office as it looks to grow its Asian revenues.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) partner Tom Benedict, who is currently based in the US firm’s Los Angeles office, joins the Singapore team this month to launch a white collar practice for Asia, but will be spending much of his time travelling around the region, particularly to China.

He will be the first dedicated FCPA partner in Asia, and for the time being will be supported by the firm’s disputes associates.

He is experienced in matters concerning anti-corruption law, including creating and assessing compliance and training programs, undertaking risk audits and assessments, conducting internal investigations and evaluating anti-corruption due diligence and compliance in relation to investments and mergers and acquisitions.

He is also an experienced commercial litigator who has conducted multiple trials and arbitrations for clients in diverse industries all over the world.

White & Case said it already does some FCPA work in Asia, but was formally launching the new practice in a bid to capitalise on regional opportunities and meet the needs of its clients.

“Over the past several years we have seen clients with operations in China facing increasing scrutiny in relation to FCPA and other anti-corruption laws,” said Alex Zhang, the head of the firm’s China M&A practice.

“We are therefore delighted to have Tom based in Asia to provide clients with the on-the-ground specialist advice they require.”

White & Case’s Asia head, Barrye Wall, added: “Tom’s presence in Asia reflects our commitment to building out our disputes capabilities in the region and providing strong support for our clients. His experience complements our region’s strong corporate and international arbitration practices.”

Also moving to the Singapore office in July will be projects partner Steve Payne, along with at least one but potentially two associates. Currently based in Beijing, the team are moving to assist the Singapore group with work coming from South East Asia.

As it stands the firm has one project finance partner in Singapore, Lian Yok Tan, and a regional team of 13.

Ex-Hogan Lovells projects partner Ken Hawkes left the White & Case Singapore team last month, reportedly to spend more time with his family in New Zealand.

White & Case currently has a presence in six major Asian cities, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore, and a partnership with MD & Partners in Jakarta. 

In Singapore it has a practice of 13 partners and 34 other legal staff, of which five partners and six lawyers are locally qualified. 

It was among the group of six outfits who received a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licence in the island city-state in 2008, allowing the firm to practice local law.

Its Singapore practices include banking, capital markets, energy, infrastructure, finance, M&A, arbitration and investment funds.