The Firms

March 2, 2009 9:32 AM

White & Case Ends Alliance with Singapore Firm

Posted by Ed Shanahan

White & Case, one of the six international firms granted a license to practice Singapore law in December, has shelved plans to merge with local alliance partner Venture Law.

"We have agreed with Venture Law to bring our Singapore formal law alliance with them to an end,” White & Case said in a statement. “Our commitment to Singapore, and our plans for the Qualifying Foreign Law Practice license that we were recently awarded, are unchanged."

The firm declined to comment further, though a source briefed on the matter confirmed that White & Case’s plans no longer included a merger with the 10-lawyer Venture Law.

The long-term benefits of the alliance were touted by White & Case at the time it received its local law license last year.

“Our excellent relationship with the lawyers of Venture Law, our formal law alliance partner, has allowed us to deliver on numerous high-profile transactions,” Singapore managing partner Douglas Peel said in a Dec. 4 statement. “We look forward to continued success with them in the united, ‘one stop-shop’ firm that the license will enable.”

Venture Law managing director Yin Mei Lock did not return a call seeking comment.

The two firms had been in a formal alliance since 2003. Until December, such alliances and joint ventures were the only means through which international firms could practice Singapore law. Prior to its arrangement with Venture Law, White & Case had participated in a short-lived joint venture with another local firm, Colin Ng & Partners.

Other foreign firms, including Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Shearman & Sterling and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, also pulled out of Singapore joint ventures, and the Singaporean Government last year introduced its liberalized Qualified Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) regime partly in response to their complaints.

Along with White & Case, the other foreign firms who received QFLP licenses were Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith, Latham & Watkins and Norton Rose.

--By Anthony Lin

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