March 1, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing launches verified WeChat Official Account

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is pleased to be the first Singaporean law firm to launch its verified WeChat Official Account. This account is a platform for RHTLaw Taylor Wessing to reach out to a broader spectrum of Chinese clients, both locally and internationally. Since the release of WeChat in 2011, it has become one of the largest social networks in China, both for personal and business usage. To locate the Firm on WeChat, please download the WeChat app and search for the Firm via either of the options below: Search “RHTLawTW” or Scan the below QR code
February 29, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat on being listed as a Client Choice 2016 winner

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat on being listed as a Client Choice 2016 winner under the category of “General Corporate”. Chong Huat was recognised for his excellent client care and quality of service. A factor contributing to this ranking was based on clients’ testimonials, indicating his ability to add real value to their business above and beyond the other players in the market.                                                                                                                Client Choice research begins with a readership survey of in-house counsel subscribers to International Law Office and Lexology, but they also gather feedback at several international in-house counsel events and via the Client Choice website. Clients are asked to rate individual lawyers and law firms on the following client service criteria: quality of legal advice, commercial awareness, industry knowledge, strategic thinking, billing transparency, tailored fee structures, value for money, responsiveness, effective communication, clarity of documentation, sharing of expertise, appropriate staffing, project management, use of technology, loyalty and ethics. To ensure that the results cannot be influenced, law firms were not informed when this initial round of research was conducted. The full rankings can be viewed here.
February 23, 2016

Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat authored an opinion piece titled “Do more to support family and criminal lawyers” for the Straits Times

Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat has authored an opinion piece titled “Do more to support family and criminal lawyers” for the Straits Times. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 23 February 2016. Do more to support family and criminal lawyers Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 23 Feb 2016 Author: Tan Chong Huat The establishment of the new UniSIM Law School, a specialist law school for the training of prospective family and criminal lawyers, comes at a time of great change for the legal profession in Singapore. Following significant regulatory changes last November, which included the entry of a new centralised entity to regulate local and foreign law practices, the Steering Committee's recommendations for what will be Singapore's third law school represent a paradigm shift in training lawyers. Unveiled on Feb 16 , the UniSIM Law School's mission is to produce "lawyers with a sound grasp of the law who have a strong sense of justice and a heart for their fellow man". The practice-oriented and multi-disciplinary curriculum for UniSIM's students will be welcomed by the legal profession, in view of the anticipated shortfall in family and criminal lawyers in the next decade. With its practical pedagogical approach, concerns that UniSIM will be second best to the law schools in the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Management University (SMU) have much less force, at least from the legal profession's standpoint. The emphasis on a holistic selection process is also intended to reduce the risk of lawyer attrition in these practice domains, as the student profile will be geared towards mature applicants with a predisposition towards family and criminal law. The outflow of graduates from UniSIM may also have no appreciable effect on the lawyer glut phenomenon, if they practise in these two potentially understaffed practice domains. The hopeful optimism that UniSIM graduates will, with such a carefully calibrated legal education, practise family and criminal law for the long term underscores the difficulties in ensuring that the supply of lawyers meets future demand. On the one hand, it is incontrovertible that UniSIM graduates, like graduates from the two other more established law schools, have a right to earn a living and should not be pigeon-holed into family and criminal law. No one can predict with certainty the future needs of the legal services sector and it would be wilful short-termism to curtail lawyer mobility, especially in the globalised legal landscape. On the other hand, seeing the glass as half full may not be sufficient assurance that the legal profession's future manpower needs will be met. While the NUS and SMU law schools do not bear the burden of transforming graduates into practising lawyers, UniSIM's raison d'etre is precisely for this purpose. If insufficient numbers of UniSIM graduates enter family or criminal law practice, what is likely to result is unmet community needs coupled with a more aggravated lawyer glut, not to mention an even more highly stressed legal profession. Thus, while the Steering Committee's recommendations are welcome, UniSIM and the legal community should do more to ensure the two practice domains will be adequately resourced in the medium to long term, while recognising market realities. Here are some suggestions. First, a postgraduate moratorium could be implemented to ensure that UniSIM graduates serve the areas of family or criminal law that they demonstrated passion and enthusiasm for before admission. The moratorium could take the form of requiring UniSIM graduates to take on, in their first three years of practice, a prescribed number of files (which can vary depending on individual circumstances) in either or both practice domains through the Legal Aid Bureau or the Law Society's Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. Second, the financial cost pressures which come with practising in these practice domains may be alleviated by allocating heavily subsidised rental space in community centres for law firms that practise predominantly community law. This measure will also promote access to justice, as community legal assistance would be readily available to the average Singaporean. Third, to help UniSIM graduates as well as existing family and criminal lawyers to stay the course, a formal practice support programme should be instituted under the auspices of the Law Society and UniSIM. Such a programme will assist community lawyers to better manage the evolving challenges of their practices, which are increasingly incorporating cross-border elements such as child abduction and transnational crimes. Finally, UniSIM, supported by the legal community, should hold an annual event to recognise the efforts of community lawyers, past and present. The late Subhas Anandan, a senior partner of my firm, was a pioneer in doing pro bono criminal work and was duly recognised for his efforts. Promoting community lawyers at this event would also inspire law students, whether from UniSIM or elsewhere, to take up the worthy cause of serving the community. As we look forward to the first intake of the UniSIM Law School next year, we should also look further to the long-term goal of ensuring sufficient numbers of community lawyers to meet the needs of Singapore society. Practising law is a journey that begins in law school and a good foundation must be set. But equally important are optimising the UniSIM Law School education and providing support and recognition for committed community lawyers in the course of legal practice. The four suggestions offer some plausible steps, beyond hopeful optimism, to enhance access to justice in Singapore. The writer is managing partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP.
February 15, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing announces Registered Foreign Lawyer hire

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is pleased to announce the addition of Mr Erwan Barre as a Registered Foreign Lawyer with effect from 2 February 2016. Focused on corporate transactions, Erwan has extensive experience representing clients across many industries, with an emphasis in the Technology and Life Science industries. Erwan has been involved in many M&A, joint venture, capital markets and financing projects in Asia, Europe and the US, including several game changing transactions. Most of these deals were cross-border. His transactional expertise is based on leading over 50 deals, representing in the aggregate more than US$20 billion. 15 of his deals exceeded US$ 500 million in value with several in excess of US$ 1 billion. 60% of his transactions involved TMT (telecommunications, media and technology) and life science companies. He has also represented clients in other industries, including aerospace, real estate, hospitality and energy. His clients include blue chip names as well as promising start-ups and several leading investment banks. He also has management experience, being a co-founder of Vaximax, a biotech company. He has been regularly recognized as a leading practitioner in his field by professional publications, such as Chambers and Legal 500. Erwan holds an MBA from the Neoma (ESC Reims) Business School in France (1990), a pre-doctoral degree (DEA) in business law from the Pantheon-Sorbonne (Paris I) University (1993), and an LL.M. degree from Columbia University in the US (1996). Erwan has worked in Singapore, Paris, New-York and London and is a member of the Paris and New York Bars.