Local law firm Allen & Gledhill emerges top in poll

Law firm Allen & Gledhill emerged as the dominant industry player in a poll of more than 20,000 in-house counsel across Asia and the Middle East.

It was voted the Singapore Firm of the Year in 12 out of 21 categories assessed, ranging from corporate practice to litigation - the highest number for a single law firm in Singapore.

The Asian-Mena Counsel's annual survey, released last week, is billed as the largest and most objective of its kind, and was based on returns and testimonials from the in-house counsel community in 11 jurisdictions.

The participants provided feedback on the firms they prefer to use, and the impressions the firms made on them. The survey was undertaken by the Hong Kong-based In-House Community, a 16-year-old company that runs legal events, produces a publication and manages a website.

The survey's report said: "Our 'Firms of the Year 2014' is not intended to be an inventory of the largest or most active firms practising in the Asia-Pacific or Middle East but, rather, a genuine representation of the firms that have made the most positive impression on their clients for a range of reasons, whether it be because of a firm's expertise or responsiveness, its reputation, or perhaps the flexibility it shows its clients."

Allen & Gledhill was also voted the Most Responsive Domestic Firm of the Year, alongside Drew & Napier, Rajah & Tann and Wong Partnership. Rodyk & Davidson received an honourable mention in the same category, out of about 900 Singapore law firms.

Recent significant briefs undertaken by Allen & Gledhill include the initial public offerings and listings of the first two oil and gas companies on the Singapore Exchange mainboard. It has also advised on many high-profile mergers and acquisitions and other related transactions, such as OCBC's HK$38.4 billion (S$6.3 billion) acquisition of Wing Hang Bank; CapitaLand's $3.06 billion buyout of CapitaMalls Asia; and 68 Holdings' $1.99 billion acquisition of Hotel Properties.

The firm's latest success comes a month after it was named the top Singapore legal brand in the first Asia-Pacific Law Firm Brand index, compiled by legal market research firm Acritas.

This index of domestic and international law firms was compiled using unprompted responses from 379 in-house counsel in organisations across the region with revenues of more than US$50 million (S$63 million). Allen & Gledhill was the only Singapore firm ranked in the top 20 of Acritas' Asia-Pacific brand list.

Established in 1902, the law firm is one of the largest in Singapore, with more than 300 lawyers. It is consistently ranked as a market leader.

Its chairman and senior partner Lucien Wong said: "We are pleased and honoured that we continue to be in the minds of clients for handling complex and cutting-edge work, providing innovative solutions and taking pride in a culture of excellence. Independent surveys are a useful source of feedback on the work law firms do for their clients."

Lawyers said independent survey results are an important reference point in deciding the choice of law firm. Mr Dhamendra Yadav, an in-house counsel at a Malaysian bank and a Singapore Corporate Counsel Association committee member, said Allen & Gledhill is well regarded by foreign financial institutions which, in turn, recommend clients such as multinational firms to go to them.

He said: "Allen & Gledhill is traditionally strong and the firm has a very good organic structure to hone and grow its talent," he said.

"Lucien Wong is a titan and the way the firm is run and managed enables it to hold on to a lot of intelligent people."


This article was first published on Sep 26, 2014.
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