Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, announced today that it will extend its geographic presence in Asia by opening an office of Mayer Brown, its Asian practice, in Singapore.  The new office will focus initially on four primary areas of legal practice:  asset finance, project finance, energy and international arbitration.

“The combination of Mayer Brown and JSM (formerly Johnson Stokes & Master) in January 2008 created a truly global firm and added a leading presence in the Asian legal market to our existing strengths in the Americas and Europe,” said Mayer Brown Chairman Herbert W. Krueger.  “Adding our new Singapore office to Mayer Brown’s offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Ho Chi Min City and Hanoi will further enhance our ability to serve client needs in one of the world’s key financial centers. We are pleased that our application for a foreign law practice license has been approved by the Singapore Attorney General, and we anticipate that the office will be in full operation by the fourth quarter of this year.”

Elaine Y.M. Lo, Chairman of Mayer Brown’s Asia Board and Senior Partner of Mayer Brown, said the new Singapore office will enable the firm to serve clients in a market that is well positioned to capitalize on Southeast Asia’s economic growth over the next 20 years.

“Singapore is the Southeast Asia regional  headquarters for many of the world’s leading financial institutions and multinational corporations,” she said. “Many of our largest global clients have their regional headquarters in Singapore and others also have significant operations there.

“Mayer Brown’s capabilities are ideally suited to the needs of clients in Singapore, which has become one of the most important financial, insurance, shipping, oil & gas and legal centers in Asia,” Ms. Lo said. “Our new office there is an important step in the continuing expansion of Mayer Brown’s global platform.”

Mayer Brown partner Kevin Owen will relocate from Hong Kong to lead the new Singapore office.  Head of Mayer Brown’s Construction & Engineering Group, Mr. Owen handles both contentious and non-contentious construction-related matters. He advises all participants in the construction process, particularly on large-scale infrastructure projects, and also drafts construction-related documents in project finance transactions. Earlier in his legal career, he acted for a South Korean contractor in a major dispute in Singapore, where he was based from 1986-88.

“I welcome the opportunity to return to Singapore and play a key role in helping Mayer Brown further expand our ability to serve client needs in one of the most  dynamic and rapidly growing business centers of the world,” Mr. Owen said.

Alastair MacAulay, a Banking & Finance partner in Mayer Brown’s Hong Kong office, also will spend a significant amount of time in Singapore to help establish the practice, along with several associates. Mr. MacAulay advises on transportation projects and finance, particularly in the shipping industry, and on other asset finance structures for cross-border lending.  He is widely regarded as one of the top shipping finance lawyers in Asia. 

“Singapore is a global hub for asset finance, notably in the shipping and aviation sectors, and an important regional center for project finance, particularly for emerging markets in Asia and in the offshore and energy sectors,” Mr. MacAulay said.  “These are areas in which Mayer Brown is a global leader, and our new Singapore office will facilitate ease of access to our services across Asia and beyond for current and prospective clients.”