October 18, 2021

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Cyril Amarchand to open representative office in Singapore (despite recent lack of action from rivals)

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CAM opens up a shop in Singapore (screenshot of CAM video announcement)

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) is expected to become the latest Indian law firm to set foot in Singapore from 12 February 2021 with a representative office in Singapore, which in recent years had fallen out of favour with firms in terms of having boots on the ground.

The announcement is scheduled to be made on 12 February 2021, on the auspicious day of the Chinese New Year (which will begin the Year of the Ox), according to an apparently early leak of a video from the firm.

We have reached out to CAM for comment and will update this story when we hear from them.

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CAM announcement features the Singapore Merlion in full flow

While we have not been able to authoritatively confirm any more information as of now, such as whether there will be any full-time partners or lawyers based there and who, if anyone, will be heading it up, a brief (presumably leaked) video of the firm announcing the launch has been making the rounds, and it very much appears authentic.

Check it out in full here or below.

Singapore has late last year renewed the licences of nine international (non-Indian) firms to practice some local law.

A representative office, by contrast, does not allow the practice of law but is intended to function primarily as a business development location (or an useful base to advise local or domestic clients on Indian laws in situ).

Come to Singapore, they said

For a while it was de rigeur for Indian firms to open in Singapore but there has been a bit of a lull in more recent years and a lot of those offices have now closed.

Firms such as Kochhar & Co still maintain representative offices in Singapore, according to its websites, as does private equity boutique Lexygen, which had opened there in 2009.

Correction 28 January, 12:49: We have been informed by and Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) that it does not merely have a representative office, as previously reported, but actually holds a “foreign law practice with a license to practice Indian law” in Singapore. The firm has been there since 2005, and its office is headed by Vivek Kathpalia who is based there and also heads the firm’s East Asia business, including Japan and South Korea.

In 2014, SNG & Partners opened in Singapore (though it is not listed on its website anymore).

Wadia Ghandy had opened there in 2011, but then closed its Singapore office in 2014, after the commercials did not quite “click”, according to the firm at the time.

Dua Associates opened there in 2010, but its website also does not list a Singapore presence anymore.

It is also not the first time that Amarchand Mangaldas, as it once was, had flirted with Singapore. Shardul Shroff, the then Delhi-based managing partner of CAM legacy firm Amarchand Mangaldas (now chairman of CAM-rival Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas), had said in 2014 that the firm was eyeing a future office in the financial hub.

Of course, that never happened and the two halves of the firm broke up a short while later.

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