Three Crowns secures Shearman & Sterling's Singapore head to launch first Asia office

Arbitration boutique capitalises on city state's 'ever-growing' popularity as a disputes hub with fifth base

Daryl Chew Image courtesy of Three Crowns

Arbitration boutique Three Crowns has hired the head of Shearman & Sterling’s Singapore office to launch an office in the city state, marking its first base in Asia Pacific and fifth worldwide.

Daryl Chew will lead London-based Three Crowns’ new office and joins the firm as a partner after a 14-year stint at Shearman in Singapore and Paris. Also making the move is associate Shaun Pereira, who spent four years with Chew working in Shearman’s international arbitration practice. 

Chew and Pereira will be joined in Singapore by Three Crowns partner Simon Elliot and counsel Penny Martin, who will be relocating from Paris and London respectively. 

The firm said a handful of partners, including founding partners Gaëtan Verhoosel and Todd Wetmore and London-based Manish Aggarwal, will ‘continue to spend significant time in the region’ following the launch. 

Wetmore said Chew was an “obvious choice” for the firm’s Singapore office thanks to his strong regional experience and market-leading reputation.

 “We are thrilled to establish a physical presence in Singapore, an ever-growing popular seat for arbitration, and a place where our Asia-based clients increasingly require assistance with their disputes,” he said. “We are delighted to welcome Daryl aboard.” 

Chew has represented clients in arbitrations under all major arbitral rules involving a range of applicable laws and venues, arising from energy, construction, M&A, joint venture and general commercial disputes, the firm said. 

Shearman project development and finance partner Bill McCormack, who is based in Singapore, wished the two departing lawyers well, adding that he looked forward to working with Chew in his new role at Three Crowns. 

Chew’s arrival means Three Crowns boasts 15 partners across its five offices in London, Paris, Washington DC, Singapore and Bahrain. Two of those partners, Leilah Bruton and Shaparak Saleh, joined the partnership in London and Paris respectively last week when Bruton was elevated from her role as counsel and Saleh moved across from French independent disputes boutique Teynier Pic. 

Singapore is becoming increasingly prominent as a centre for arbitration, with the city-state ranking jointly with London as the world’s favourite arbitration centre in a survey of more than 1,200 in-house lawyers, arbitrators and practitioners last year.

Singapore's lawmakers have also moved to reinforce its status as a global disputes hub, with Singapore International Commercial Court launching a new technology, infrastructure and construction sector list last August to speed the resolution of complex disputes and publishing new court rules last December intended to more fairly and efficiently handle commercial cases. Last month the city-state’s parliament also approved reforms that will allow no-win, no-fee agreements in certain proceedings.

Local and international law firms have also moved to boost their disputes offering in Singapore. US firm Squire Patton Boggs added a team of public international law disputes specialists there last March from Harry Elias Partnership, Eversheds Sutherland’s former Singapore ally.

And last October, leading Singapore firm Oon & Bazul added three partners to its litigation and dispute resolution practice from local rivals Drew & Napier and Cavenagh Law.  

In February last year, Shearman & Sterling’s veteran global international arbitration practice heads, Emmanuel Gaillard and Yas Banifatemi, left the firm to set up Gaillard Banifatemi Shelbaya Disputes with six other partners working out of offices in Paris, London and New York. Gaillard died last April, prompting a flood of tributes from the arbitration community.


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