SINGAPORE - The quest to find Singapore's Best Law Firms 2022 got bigger and deeper this year, with up to 101 firms getting votes in the 17 practice areas listed in the annual survey.
This means some 10 per cent of the 1,016 Singapore law practice firms registered here as of September, have made the Best Law Firm grade in one category or another in the survey by The Straits Times and German-based international research firm Statista.
Singapore's Big Five law firms top the list, earning the most number of places in the 17 categories.
Rajah & Tann switches places with last year's leader, Allen & Gledhill, followed jointly by WongPartnership and Drew & Napier.
Fifth is Dentons Rodyk.
The poll shows a good spread of small and large firms in the rankings, reflecting the diverse nature of the legal services market here. Many firms have spots in more than one category.
Smaller, more specialised firms hold their own, snagging places in niche areas like criminal law, negligence and family law.
The results released on Monday (Nov 15) are based on feedback from professionals in the legal sector and clients, who responded to the survey conducted over eight weeks between June 7 and July 26 this year.
More than 12,000 recommendation were received from over 6,000 respondents, compared with more than 10,000 recommendations from over 4,000 respondents for the 15 categories last year.
Firms that make it to the "Best Of" in a legal category can obtain a licence to use an official seal created for the ranking that features the trademarks of ST and Statista.
Statista founder and chief executive Friedrich Schwandt said: "It is a pleasure to continue our projects with SPH (Singapore Press Holdings) and The Straits Times, which were so well received in their inaugural year.
"The response this year was again exceptional, a great motivation for us and our growing team in Singapore."
Statista analyst Christian Leve, who oversees its various law firm projects worldwide, said the increased responses this year suggest the project is establishing itself well.
Mr Patrick Ang, managing partner of Rajah & Tann, the sole law firm to have scored in all 16 local categories, said: "We are deeply humbled to be listed among the top firms here. This serves as a pat on the back for our lawyers and staff.
"This year is significant for us as we mark our 45th year and to be the best of the best is like the icing on the cake."
Managing partner Jerry Koh of Allen & Gledhill, which is named in 15 categories, said: "The survey highlights the vibrancy of our legal sector, and provides a benchmark for legal services in Singapore."
He added that the inclusion of new practice areas brought attention to the country's role as a global hub for arbitration, finance and business.
Of the 17 areas, one has a non-local tilt, involving foreign law firms doing offshore law here.
Mr Gerald Singham, managing partner of Dentons Rodyk, said: "Legal directory rankings are important to us as they provide to our potential and existing clients an independent, objective analysis of our firm.
"Conversations with clients show that general counsel use such rankings to benchmark when considering law firms, especially in markets that are new or unfamiliar to them."
Said ST editor Warren Fernandez: "The strong response to the survey suggests growing interest in the results as a useful guide to understanding developments in the legal industry and the relative strengths of the players, both big and small."
"Our partnership with Statista continues to ensure the integrity of the process," added Mr Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of SPH's English/Malay/Tamil Media Group.
Methodology behind Singapore's Best Law Firms list
The "Singapore's Best Law Firms 2022" lists are based on recommendations made by lawyers (peer-to-peer survey), in-house lawyers (corporate legal departments) and clients in 17 different fields of law.
The participant list of lawyers and others was drawn up via research conducted by Statista on company websites and other publicly available sources.
Invitations were sent by e-mail with a personalised link that could be used only once. In addition, lawyers and clients could participate in the survey via an open link that was announced and made available on The Straits Times' website.
The Singapore Corporate Counsel Association also invited its members - comprising general counsel and in-house lawyers - to take part in the survey.
In both cases, the participants had to provide a personalised company e-mail address for validation purposes, before their answers were included in the evaluation.
The survey was conducted online earlier this year and Statista recorded more than 12,000 recommendations from over 6,000 respondents.
Self-recommendations (recommendations from one's own, associated or allied law firm) were prohibited.
The participants were also asked to answer some optional editorial questions that were aimed at giving a better insight into Singapore's legal world.
The nature of these questions was modified in relation to in-house lawyers/clients.
The law firms were ranked according to the number of recommendations they drew, and the top firms, from Top 20 to Top 5, were identified, depending on the category.
The websites of these law firms were additionally researched to help validate the outcomes.
• The list of Singapore's Best Law Firms 2022 can be accessed at this website.