Rising stars named among the best law firms in 2023 list

Rajah and Tann managing partner Patrick Ang (left) and Dentons Rodyk global vice-chair and Asean chief executive Gerald Singham. PHOTOS: ST FILE, BT FILE

SINGAPORE - The quest to find Singapore’s best law firms in 18 fields of law led to 100 names making the list out of some 1,000 law firms here.

It went down to the wire as Rajah & Tann and Dentons Rodyk – two of the Big Five firms – jointly topped The Straits Times Singapore’s Best Law Firms 2023 table, with both named in the top line-ups in 17 categories.

But Rajah & Tann ultimately had the edge over Dentons Rodyk, placing top in eight of the 17 categories. These included arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution, and insolvency and restructuring.

Rajah & Tann was also the top firm overall last year.

“Topping the charts in eight categories has displayed depth in our practice, while earning a spot in all 17 local categories of the survey acknowledges our bench strength. We thank all our clients for their trust and support,” said its managing partner Patrick Ang.

Dentons Rodyk global vice-chair and Asean chief executive Gerald Singham said: “The Singapore’s Best Law Firms list is a barometer of our legal landscape and effectively identifies top law firms like Dentons Rodyk, based on the recommendations of both clients and legal professionals. We are delighted and grateful to have been so recognised.”

The survey for the third edition of the annual list was conducted from June 7 to Aug 1 by The Straits Times and German-based international research firm Statista.

More than 6,100 respondents completed the survey, which covered 18 practice areas, one of which was solely for foreign law firms operating offshore practices here.

Twenty-four firms are on the list for the first time.

One of them, Entra Law, was started only in March 2022. It came in eighth in the technology, media, telecommunication category.

Managing director Heng Jun Meng said the firm was “immensely grateful for this recognition in the early stages of our journey”.

While the other three Big Five law firms – Drew & Napier, Allen & Gledhill and WongPartnership – maintained their good showing, some rising firms showed they could keep up with the big boys.

For instance, CNPLaw was jointly tied with Allen & Gledhill in getting a spot in 14 categories, even though it has less than a quarter of the latter’s lawyer strength.

CNPLaw managing partner Lisa Theng, noting the firm’s improvement in making it to 14 categories from nine last year, thanked clients and supporters, saying: “This result was the collective effort of every single person in the firm who worked hard and served our clients with integrity, excellence and a personal touch.” 

CNPLaw managing partner Lisa Theng. PHOTO: CNPLAW

Similarly, Adsan Law, which has about 20 lawyers, equalled WongPartnership in being named in 13 categories, an improvement over the nine categories it was named in last year.

Adsan Law’s Ms Susan Peh said: “We are motivated to work even harder and make a greater impact on society, leveraging innovative, leading-edge technology... whilst always sustaining the strong pulse of charitable engagement at the core of our corporate culture.”

The poll, which sought feedback from legal professionals and their clients, showed a good spread of small and large firms in the rankings across the different categories, reflecting the diverse nature of the legal services market here.

More than 12,000 recommendations were received.

Smaller, more specialised firms held their own, snagging places in niche areas such as criminal law, conveyancing and negligence law.

One of them was Foxwood, which made it to the list for the first time.

The small firm led by two partners topped the category of inheritance and succession, private wealth management. In the process, it beat Dentons Rodyk, Rajah & Tann and CNPLaw, which took second, third and fourth places, respectively.

Foxwood director Joshua Tan, who said the firm is “humbled” to be mentioned alongside more established firms, noted that it tries to provide a seamless experience for clients while working with other service professionals such as accountants and tax advisers.

Foxwood director Joshua Tan. PHOTO: FOXWOOD LLC

Mr Daniel Choo, co-president of the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association, said Singapore’s Best Law Firms 2023 will serve as a guide for prospective clients.

“In-house counsel generally have to play a leading role in deciding which legal service provider to engage,” he said.

The full results of Best Law Firms 2023 can be found here.

Top five law firms and number of categories placed

  • Rajah & Tann: 17 categories
  • Dentons Rodyk: 17 categories
  • Drew & Napier: 15 categories
  • Allen & Gledhill: 14 categories
  • CNPLaw: 14 categories

Methodology

The Singapore’s Best Law Firms 2023 rankings are based on recommendations made by lawyers in a peer-to-peer poll, as well as in-house lawyers in corporate legal departments and clients, in 18 different fields of law.

The respondents’ list was sourced from 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 made available on The Straits Times’ website. 

The Singapore Corporate Counsel Association also invited its members to participate in the survey.

A total of 6,178 respondents took part in the online survey conducted between June 7 and Aug 1.

Statista recorded over 12,000 recommendations for the law firms in all fields of law. Self-recommendations (those from one’s own, associated or allied law firm) were not allowed. 

The participants were also asked to answer some optional editorial questions aimed specifically at giving a better insight into Singapore’s legal world. These questions were different for lawyers and in-house lawyers/clients.

The best law firms were identified and ranked according to the number of recommendations they received in each of the different categories.

In total, 100 law firms received 308 awards. 

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