ST launches joint second annual survey to identify Singapore's best law firms

Industry players are keen to see how recent legal developments that impact law firms will be reflected in the survey results. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Following its successful debut last year, the second annual survey to identify Singapore's best law firms has been jointly launched by The Straits Times and German-based research firm Statista.

The survey opens today (June 7) and closes on July 26. Once its results are compiled, an updated list will be available of the 100 best law firms here in various practice areas, from commercial and criminal law to banking and intellectual property law.

The listing of the top 100 firms will be the result of lawyer recommendations, client responses, and user comments from the survey, following analysis by Hamburg-based Statista.

Two more categories have been added to the list this year - Technology, Media, Telecommunication (TMT) Law and Best Offshore Law Firm - underscoring these increasingly significant practice areas.

Participation in the survey is for free. The results will be published by The Straits Times in November.

Last year, a total of 4,716 respondents took part in the online survey and more than 10,000 recommendations were received.

A total of 98 law firms made the lists of the 15 categories, with 265 mentions, i.e. several firms were listed in more than one category.

Last year's ranking featured a diverse spread of large and small firms with heavyweight law firm Allen & Gledhill heading the pack, having garnered the sole distinction of being named in all 15 categories.

"Our partnership with Statista to uncover Singapore's Best Law Firms had a strong response in last year's inaugural run," said Warren Fernandez, ST Editor and Editor-in-Chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English, Malay and Tamil Media group.

"By making refinements to the categories this year, this unique Singapore-centred guide will stay current with developments in the legal industry and continue to provide good value to lawyers, clients and the public at large," he added.

Statista founder and chief executive officer Friedrich Schwandt said: "Transformation is the buzzword of our time... yet in my mind, there are few traditional industries where the changes are as fundamental as in the legal industry. Our joint research provides guidance as to which law firms cope best with this challenge, illustrated by excellent legal services."

Industry players are keen to see how recent legal developments that impact law firms will be reflected in the survey results.

"Clients are welcoming alternative legal service providers and engaging with more legal solutions and technology than ever. Some law firms invest in technology while others work round the clock to offer more personalised services. The survey will have different results this year and I am hoping for a comparison report, which we will be excited to share with our members," said Singapore Corporate Counsel Association executive director Mel Nirmala.

Melbourne-based Singaporean Dharmendra Yadav, a consultant at innovation and strategy firm Alpha Creates, said the survey results last year "have been far better received" than he expected.

"The Straits Times has been able to effectively leverage its strong ground expertise to benchmark law firms. It remains the only ranking of its kind purely focused on law firms in Singapore by a reputable Asian broadsheet. Other law firm rankings tend to compare firms across different jurisdictions," he said.

He added: "Given the pandemic, I expect the next set of survey results to be driven by various trends and may show up, for the first time, law firms, which have done very good work and successfully brand themselves remotely."

Statista partner Dr Thomas Clark who mooted the project last year, ascribed the "massive response" then to the great reach of The Straits Times, in addition to the efforts of Statista and others.

Lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, whose law firm was one of the top two in the Criminal Law category last year, said: "This award is a great endorsement of our skill and expertise in high-stakes criminal defence.

"We thank all our clients for their trust in us and look forward to see this sustain."

Lawyer Peter Ong Lip Cheng added, "Being voted into the Best Law Firms list through the survey serves as a reliable yardstick of clients' satisfaction as it is based on feedback from happy clients and peers as well."

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