21 Apr 2022

McDermott adds white collar heavyweight from Sidley Austin to lead new Singapore base

Yuet Ming Tham joins alongside partner Shu Min Ho and two counsel and will also serve as head of APAC

Headshot of Yuet Ming Tham

Yuet Ming Tham Image courtesy of McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott Will & Emery has added the global co-head of Sidley Austin’s government litigation and investigations group as managing partner of its recently-launched office in Singapore, its sole location in Asia. 

Yuet Ming Tham has moved over from Sidley alongside partner Shu Min Ho and counsel Sam Johnson and Margaret Huang. She will also serve as McDermott’s head of Asia Pacific and global co-chair of its government investigations and compliance group. 

Their arrival comes just seven months after McDermott opened in Singapore and in the process regained an on-the-ground presence in the region, having lost it in 2020 when it transferred its Shanghai joint venture office to Chicago rival Winston & Strawn. 

McDermott added Squire Patton Boggs’ former Singapore co-managing partner Ignatius Hwang and infrastructure partner Merrick White from King & Spalding in the run up to the launch. Both relocated to the Singapore office from London and were joined by a three-lawyer corporate team from Squire in September. In February the firm also hired Latham & Watkins’ former global power industry group co-chair, Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi, to lead its Asia transactions practice in the city-state. 

Ming Tham counsels major corporations on anti-bribery compliance and investigations including those relating to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act, as well on sanctions and money laundering regulations, data privacy and employment.

She spent a little more than a decade at Sidley before joining McDermott, serving also as the head of Sidley’s Asia Pacific compliance and investigations practice, and has represented more than 30 pharmaceutical, medical device and nutrition companies. Her multi-jurisdictional practice has seen her lead investigations and compliance projects across Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia Pacific. 

Michael Poulos, partner in charge of McDermott’s strategy, said the arrival of Ming Tham and her team “brings a unique combination of expertise at the intersection of life sciences and investigations in the context of the Asian market.” 

“Yuet’s practice is a great fit with our existing services in white collar and healthcare, but with a particular focus on companies operating in Asia and Europe. We’re excited to offer our clients an added value of her years of experience in the most high-profile and complex matters across the region,” he added.

Min Ho, meanwhile, has significant experience leading complex cross-border investigations, with a focus on bribery, corruption, fraud, embezzlement and other corporate crime. She focuses on the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors and like Ming Tham has led investigations across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She also brings a wide-ranging advisory portfolio, covering anti-trust, cybersecurity, data privacy, employment and other regulatory and compliance matters.

The hire of the quartet from Sidley brings McDermott’s lawyer headcount in Singapore to 12, including five partners. 

A number of international firms have moved to build their white collar bench recently, as their clients face heightened scrutiny related to business practices and behaviour in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Yesterday Brown Rudnick announced it had hired the head of Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft’s crisis management and government investigations group, Mark Grider, in Washington DC.  

And last month Dechert added Judith Seddon, one of the UK’s top financial crime lawyers, to its white collar practice in London from Ropes & Gray.

Prominent Singapore law firm Oon & Bazul White also added three partners to its litigation and dispute resolution practice last September from local rivals, including white collar crime and investigations specialist Benedict Eoon. 


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