A total of 23 foreign law firms have applied for a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licence in Singapore, submissions for which closed on Aug. 31, according to a report in the Business Times.
The report mentioned Watson, Farley & Williams, DLA Piper and Jones Day as being among the foreign firms that had applied, with K&L Gates also reportedly in the running. Six foreign firms, namely Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose and White & Case currently hold QFLP licences, with the second round to be issued at the end of the year.
The licences will allow the firms to practise Singapore corporate law and hire local lawyers. In return, they will have to make "substantial" commitments on manpower and revenue.
The Business Times report added that the positive effects on the broader sector can be seen in the legal services sector's value-add to the Singapore economy, which has grown from $1.4 billion in 2007 to $1.8 billion in 2011. It pointed out that the number of foreign law firms has risen 84 percent in that period, and the number of foreign lawyers by 72 percent.
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