05 Feb 2020

Two ex-senior lawyers from Clifford Chance's Singapore ally form boutique

Former Cavenagh Law managing partner and counsel pair up to set up Audent Chambers

Singapore law firm boutique litigation

Aerial view of Singapore's business district Shutterstock

The former managing partner of Clifford Chance’s (CC's) Singapore ally, Cavenagh Law, has set up a boutique disputes practice with a longstanding colleague from the firm.

The venture, Audent Chambers, is being jointly run by Harpreet Singh Nehal SC and Jordan Tan.

Nehal retired from Cavenagh’s partnership last summer to set up the boutique, according to Law.com. He was joined by former Cavenagh counsel Tan this January. They will be co-managing partners at the new practice, which they plan to grow.

In an interview with Singapore’s Business Times, the pair said the focus of the firm would be on highly complex commercial matters as well as pro bono cases, while they would also seek to develop advocacy skills among young lawyers from instructing law firms. 

Nehal was a founding partner of Cavenagh Law, which was set up in 2012 ahead of its alliance with CC, which is registered with the Singapore authorities under the name Clifford Chance Asia.

Audent Chambers’ practitioners will advocate before the civil and criminal courts and tribunals, including conducting appellate work, as well as appearing in hearings in the Singapore International Commercial Court and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. 

The boutique will take on referral work from other law firms while leading on strategic matters, as well as the trial and appeal processes themselves.

Nehal’s move to establish his own boutique practice echoes that of another top advocate: last January Davinder Singh SC left  Drew & Napier after 37 years to set up Davinder Singh Chambers.

Nehal, who is also an alumnus of Drew & Napier, specialises in commercial litigation and international and domestic arbitration, in a primarily corporate environment, while Tan has experience in commercial, banking, energy, and technology disputes, as well as in M&A and joint venture-related litigation. 

He is one of the few senior counsel practising commercial law outside the main international or independent  commercial law firms, giving him a high standing before Singapore’s courts. He is also known for his strong interest in pro bono work, having engaged in voluntary work since his university days.

Singapore continues to attract strong support as a centre for dispute resolution; a 2019 survey found Asian lawyers prefer Singapore as a venue for such work, while the recent signing of the Singapore Convention on Mediation, put the city on the map for ADR work, with the government committed to ratifying that treaty in 2020.

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Further reading on the Singapore legal market:

Taylor Wessing splits with long-term Singapore ally RHTLaw

Singapore's PK Wong joins forces with litigation boutique

Cooley launches in Singapore

Singapore's top judge reveals government scrutiny of new law regulation