Law firms chided for "inaccurate picture' on scope of work

Law firms chided for "inaccurate picture' on scope of work

SINGAPORE - A top foreign law firm and the local firm it tied up with have been chided by the Law Ministry for presenting an "inaccurate picture" that could suggest the foreign partner can do litigation work in Singapore.

They had done it in media statements and publicity materials.

But on Monday, Law Minister K. Shanmugam made clear that such domestic legal work "remains and must remain the province of Singapore lawyers and Singapore law firms".

The two firms are London-based Clifford Chance and Singapore's Cavenagh Law. They entered into a Formal Law Alliance (FLA) last year, after the law was amended to further enhance tie-ups.

Mr Shanmugam, in his reply to to Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan, who is also a lawyer, referred to an article in Legal Business magazine, published in July.

It quoted a partner of Clifford Chance saying it is "the first full service firm in Singapore offering litigation advice".

Similar statements promoting the FLA, called Clifford Chance Asia, as "the first international firm with a full service, integrated law practice in Singapore" were repeated in earlier press releases.

Mr Shanmugam said these statements could be read to mean a foreign law firm can now practise litigation in Singapore, but "that would not be accurate".

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