Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas opens in Singapore after hiring Nishith Desai's ex-office head

First base outside home country to offer Indian law in areas including international arbitration and private client

Leading Indian law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) has expanded outside its home country for the first time after hiring the former head of Nishith Desai Associates' Singapore arm to open an office in the city state.

Vivek Kathpalia left Nishith Desai in September after 18 years and takes up the role of managing director and CEO of his new firm's Singapore branch, which will operate as a licensed foreign law practice offering Indian law advice across a range of practice areas including international arbitration, corporate advisory and private client.

He will team up with director Dipti Bedi, who re-joined CAM in February from a role as principal counsel at Cairn Oil and Gas, prior to which she had spent seven years at the firm in New Delhi as a senior associate. The firm said it will also grow the Singapore team in the coming months. 

CAM managing partner Cyril Shroff said the decision to open in Singapore was part of the firm’s larger strategic view of the city-state as a thriving hub for Asia Pacific and for its domestic and international clients. “Singapore remains a key focus for us with immense potential and growth opportunities,” he added.

Rishabh Shroff, CAM’s head of international business development and co-head of its private client practice, also described the move as a “logical step” in the firm’s growth strategy given Singapore’s appeal for high-net-worth individuals.

Kathpalia is currently vice chair of the banking, finance and securities committee of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association with a practice that focuses on M&A and private equity transactions, particularly in the technology and education sectors.

He said: “I have witnessed Singapore developing into a key economic and business hub for India over the last 14 years that I have been here. The CAM brand is well established in Singapore and the presence of CAM Singapore on the ground will have significant impact.”  

Bedi's practice, meanwhile, focuses on banking and finance, international arbitration, disputes and employment.

The new office is CAM’s seventh after its six locations across India including its headquarters in Mumbai and the recently-opened office in GIFT City in Gandhinagar.

The firm said the Singapore office will also focus on fintech, investment funds, private equity, capital markets, banking and finance, technology and data protection and cross border insolvency.

Fellow Indian firm Khaitan & Co launched its first international office in Singapore earlier this year and like CAM operates it as a licensed foreign law practice offering Indian law advice, including international commercial arbitration.

Nishith Desai, meanwhile, is a longtime Singapore resident, having opened its office, which is led by disputes specialist Ashish Kabra, back in 2005.

The city-state ranked jointly with London as the world’s favourite arbitration centre in a survey of more than 1,200 in-house lawyers, arbitrators and practitioners earlier this year and has become the focus for attention of a number of international firms.

One such firm is Squire Patton Boggs, which earlier this year hired Rodman Bundy, a former co-head of arbitration at Eversheds Sutherland, as part of a team from local firm Harry Elias Partnership

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