Singapore Legal Market Trends – Asia Pacific 2023 Guide

This year, Singapore’s legal market has been flourishing with a number of international law firms entering the market for the first time or announcing that they will soon be entering.

Published on 27 January 2023
Written by Daniel Sultan
Daniel Sultan

Legal market overview in Singapore

From US names such as Orrick, Baker Botts or Goodwin Proctor, through to UK firms such as Charles Russell Speechlys or the Spanish law firm Perez Llorca, this new wave of arrivals is shaking up an already highly competitive legal market.  

Singapore International Arbitration Centre

One factor driving this is the continued growth of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Singapore International Commercial Court which are continuing to fuel the country’s popularity for international disputes. This year interviewees have noted the increasing popularity of Singapore as a location for India-related arbitration proceedings.

Legislation to allow for third-party disputes funding in Singapore has also been re-shaping the disputes market, as well as moves from Singaporean authorities to mould Singapore into a restructuring/insolvency hub for international companies, helping fuel Singapore’s growing stature as an international hub for legal matters.

Singapore the destination for high-net-worth families

Another trend shaping Singapore and its legal market is the rise of the city state as a destination for high-net-worth families. The number of Family Offices or ‘FOs’ has risen exponentially in the legal market in a few short years from around 27 in 2017 to an estimated 700 today. Unsurprisingly this major uptick is also bringing additional work for many law firms, particularly those with expertise in the private wealth space and is something we will continue to watch with interest.   

A further key development has been the increasing focus on ESG, and this includes sustainability-linked loans and bonds, which were mentioned during our Singapore research by many commentators. A market interviewee based in Singapore captured this well, explaining –

“There are a lot of corporate borrowers who are looking to build sustainable performance indicators into their financing. These financings were rare three years ago but have really come to the forefront now.”   


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