Ince’s Singapore office recently consolidated with its local alliance partner firm, Incisive Law. After announcing new senior appointments, the firm is intent on creating a stronger internal culture that will carry them through this period of change. Wai Yue Loh and Bill Ricquier, managing directors of Incisive Law, tell ALB about the latest developments.
ALB: After an alliance stretching back a decade, what finally led to the consolidation of Ince & Co Singapore and Incisive Law? What issues do you expect the consolidation to address?
Loh & Ricquier: The alliance was a success for the past decade; however, we saw that both firms and clients would benefit from it being a single entity, and given our commitment to the Singapore market, this enlarged entity is set up as a Singapore law practice. This arrangement provides an added benefit of being more closely aligned with the local legal market, whilst at the same time, we remain part of the larger international network.
The consolidation will benefit a number of key business areas for the firm, such as local litigation in Singapore, international arbitration and shipping finance. Given our geographical location and the nature of global business activity, it is clear that a single Singapore law practice is the way forward. However, the ability to practise English (and Indian) law is one of the key strengths of the firm, backed up by Ince’s global network, with 150 years of history, which makes us one of the strongest maritime and commodities law practices in the world.
ALB: The firm also recently made a number of senior appointments; this follows a string of significant departures from the Singapore office. Can you tell us a little about your talent retention strategy moving forward, and also the kind of internal culture the consolidated firm is cultivating?
Loh & Ricquier: As one firm, we have an even stronger culture and can offer more opportunities to our lawyers. Rather than changing our culture we are strengthening it. The firm sees a significant growth opportunity in this market, with Julian Clark, the Ince Group’s senior partner, committing to ensure significant focus and time on helping develop Singapore’s practice and further embedding the group’s culture to complement the existing culture of the office.
The Incisive Law leadership remains in place, which includes Singaporean Wai Yue Loh, who concurrently heads the Beijing office of Ince and leads the China Practice Group in Singapore. Harry Hirst, the former senior managing partner of Ince & Co Singapore, has taken on a senior consulting role at the firm. We feel very optimistic about our talent retention strategy, as we will continue to offer competitive salaries, an exceptional working environment, challenging client work and collaboration opportunities with the wider network. As a part of the newly restructured body we have an added benefit of being able to offer access, through the Ince network, to unrivalled expertise and research facilities.
ALB: As the dust settles, and new appointments ease into their roles, what’s your game plan for the Singapore market, and Asia more broadly in the coming months?
Loh & Ricquier: We have ambitions of growth and to achieve a reputation synonymous with our global brand. Although Incisive Law is the surviving legal entity as a result of the consolidation, we must build on Ince’s record of 25 years of successful business in Singapore. The core business areas of shipping, including finance and transactional work, energy and international trade will remain a major focus. There are plans to develop the more general non-contentious practice too in line with developments in Ince’s London office.
The development of the China practice is important for the broader Asian market. This effort will be spearheaded by Wai Yue Loh, who is already reaping very considerable rewards of our global network and has propelled us into a position as a market leader in China.
More widely across Asia, we plan on continuing to strengthen and develop our positions across different markets. In Korea, under the new leadership of Sung-Hwan Choi, our practice has an increased level of expertise around ship and offshore finance matters and commercial and corporate matters. Whilst our aviation and competition law practice has benefitted from the new appointment of Piyush Gupta, who can advise clients on the full range of aviation, corporate finance, corporate regulatory and competition law matters.