Over half of top 20 young lawyers from local giants

Rajah & Tann, Stamford Law have 11 lawyers on list by S'pore Business Review

Local giants Rajah & Tann Asia and Stamford Law dominated a list by The Singapore Business Review (SBR) of the most influential young lawyers here.

They provided 11 of those included in the debut list of 20 most influential lawyers aged 40 or under. A significant number also came from foreign firms based here.

Youngest to make the cut is Stamford Law's Ms Elizabeth Kong, 33, who focuses on corporate finance, mergers and securities. Ms Kong, who graduated with a double first-class honours from Cambridge University and had won a slew of academic prizes, was involved in several headline-grabbing transactions, including the US$11.2 billion (S$14 billion) takeover of Fraser & Neave by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi last year.

Also making the top 20 is 37-year-old June Ho, a partner in Norwegian firm Wikborg Rein. Her major deals included the US$550 million share swap involving Paka Capital, Khazanah - the Malaysian government's investment arm - and department store Parkson.

"Her charming and unfazed ways get the points across most of the time, but don't be fooled by her petite appearance. She can be tenacious and knows exactly where the soft spots are in every transaction," SBR wrote in its citation for Ms Ho.

Malaysian-born Mark Cheng, who migrated here when he was one, also made the list for the role he played in expanding the work done by Singapore's largest law firm, Rajah & Tann, into Thailand.

The Thai office he set up has grown from six lawyers to over 30 in the space of two years. Seven lawyers on SBR's list are from Rajah & Tann.

According to SBR, its list recognises executives with "lofty positions and with client lists that would be the envy of any of their peers".

"Some of them advised on one of the country's major transactions, and/or advised on one of the country's most controversial cases," it added.

SBR is a bimonthly covering major industries in Singapore and aimed at decision-makers in the top 1,700 companies.

The list was derived from nominees evaluated by a panel of legal industry players and experts based on thought leadership, influence and career development.

Litigation lawyer Choo Zheng Xi, 29, hopes more of his colleagues with litigation experience in criminal and family law will make the list in the coming years.

He said: "They will surface, given the current moves to get more lawyers into these areas."

vijayan@sph.com.sg