Straits Law Practice LLC Profile Update

Legal Updates

SOUND FUNDAMENTALS
Straits Law Practice LLC (“Straits”) was incorporated in 2001 from the merged practices of Derrick Ravi Partnership and Raja Loo & Chandra. In 2006, Straits Law incorporated the practice of Choo & Lim LLC. Having been built on a solid foundation of experience and expertise in wide-ranging legal issues, Straits Law provides a broader and more comprehensive service which is personalised to meet our clients’ needs.

Our “long arm of the law” extends into areas of Litigation, Banking, Conveyancing and Corporate practice. Within our team of lawyers we have practitioners with South Asia and East Asia expertise. The firm has established links and effective working relationships with law firms in India, China, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.


STRENGTH IN DIVERSITY

Straits is a limited law corporation registered as a company under the laws of the Republic of Singapore. Its shareholders, by law, are Advocates & Solicitors admitted as officers of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Given the numerous high value work that it carries out, Straits backs its services with an $85 million professional indemnity arrangement.

Straits’ lawyers are from various backgrounds and walks of life, and are equipped to deal with and address legal issues on a multi-dimensional level. Straits provide practical and commercially viable solutions without being overtly legalistic. Straits is driven by its 34 lawyers (including foreign lawyers) and support staff strength of 32 employees including legal executives with legal qualifications from various jurisdictions, p1aralegals and qualified secretaries.

INTRODUCTION
Straits is a dynamic full service law corporation, built on a solid foundation of experience and expertise in wide-ranging legal issues. We provide a broader and more comprehensive service which is personalised to meet our client’s needs. Our expertise extends to Litigation, Conveyancing, Banking and Corporate practices. We have established links and effective working relationships with law firms in India, China, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

Our key philosophy is to put forth an ideal game plan for optimum results, helping our clients deal with legal issues in order to further their legitimate interests. Our outlook and expertise ensures that we provide our clients with crucial advice, taking a holistic view that considers matters of principle, commercial interest and cost effectiveness. We believe in building successful partnerships and customer centric relationships with our clients and legal partners.

As cost management is crucial to our clients, we are always conscious that the recommended solutions must make economic and not just legal sense. Our practice makes it a point to give as full an analysis of the possibilities to our clients so that they can make informed decisions.
Straits has a Professional Indemnity Coverage of about $85 Million on a renewable basis. We will be happy to provide you with copies of the annually renewed PI policies.

Straits has been recognised by the following organisations:
A) LEGAL 500
Straits has been listed for the 3rd consecutive year in Legal 500 and this year under the following headings.
Projects and Energy
Within Local firms, Straits Law Practice LLC is a second tier firm, Special Mention and
Recommendation to
“At Straits Law Practice LLC, M Rajaram acts for lenders, borrowers and sponsors in the financing of power plants, and mining and other major infrastructure projects.”

Corporate and M&A

Within Local firms, tier 4

Dispute resolution
Within Local firms: Other recommended firms
B) INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL LAW REVIEW 1000
We have also been recognized in the International Financial Law Review 1000 – The Guide to the world’s leading Financial Law Firms as “other notable” firms for the first time in the following categories
(a) Banking – Local Firms;
(b) Capital Markets – Local Firms; and
(c) Mergers & Acquisitions – Local Firms

The following was said on the Website (http://www.iflr1000.com/Jurisdiction/104/Singapore.html) about the firm and it mentioned in particular, Mr. Rajaram, Mr. RobertWong & Mr. Sreeni.

Though Straits Law Practice is primarily known as a litigation boutique, its financial law practice has made inroads in Singapore’s competitive legal market. The firm is popular as Singapore counsel to international law firms or as a strong alternative to Singapore’s big firms.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm leverages on its strong litigation capabilities. Managing director garners glowing comments from clients: “N Sreenivasan’s contentious work in the restructuring and insolvency space is very impressive and is someone to watch out for.”
On the corporate front, senior director M Rajaram wins accolades. A client says, “Mr. Rajaram is extremely helpful. When we need an immediate opinion or response, they’re easily the fastest firm we’ve worked with. The bigger firms need more time; as a smaller firm, Straits Law Practice is much more nimble.”

Clients also appreciate director Robert Wong’s amiable approach. “Robert is very senior and very experienced. He’s also very friendly, even when it’s hard for clients to understand law,” says a client. “He’s great at breaking things down in very straightforward terms and pointing out key critical points so that we know the risks and our options on transactions. Though any lawyer should be able to do this, Robert does it particularly well.”

Deals
The firm frequently acts as Singapore law counsel for international law firms in large cross-border transactions and acted as Singapore counsel to Honeywell in its S$430 million ($338.6 million) acquisition of Safe Step Holdings, the holding company of King’s Safetywear.

Partner Robert Wong also advised Singapore-listed See Hup Sung in entering a conditional sale and purchase agreement with GEP Asia Holdings to acquire a 51% stake in Eastern Tankshore for S$4.08 million. The acquisition strengthens the company’s presence in the refined petroleum industry.

PRACTICE STRUCTURE
The Corporate and Corporate Finance practice. The areas of practice include initial public offers, rights issue, issue of debentures, takeovers, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures corporate financing, joint ventures and acquisitions of businesses, debentures and other asset based financing, insolvency practice, corporate re-structuring, corporate secretarial work.

The Real Estate Conveyancing, Banking and Transaction practice. The areas of practice include sale and purchase of commercial, industrial and residential properties, asset financing and refinancing. The lawyers are assisted by experienced conveyancing clerks. The Firm is on the panel of lawyers for several major local banks and all the Indian Banks operating in Singapore, and is capable of undertaking all manner of banking and transactional documentations including the taking of lead for syndicated loans.

The Litigation practice. The areas of practice include international arbitration, commercial litigation, corporate dispute resolution, tax law, mediation and arbitration, construction law, conveyancing related litigation, insurance law, personal injury and torts and criminal law. The lawyers are assisted by an experienced and qualified team of legal executives, paralegals, litigation secretaries and court clerks.

CLIENTS’ PROFILE
The clients of Straits includes Banks and other Financial institutions, quasi- government bodies and large corporations, such as Building and Control Authority, Central Provident Fund Board, National Parks, CISCO, Singapore Science Centre, Building and Control Authority, Singapore Medical Council, Exxon-Mobil Singapore, the NatSteel group of companies, TCM Practitioners Board, Yayasan Mendaki, Standard Chartered Bank, NTUC Income, India International Insurance Pte Ltd, Allied Irish Bank and CGEA, small and medium enterprises as well as individuals. Many of our clients have grown and become established in their fields, with some achieving listing and we are proud to have assisted them on this journey. Straits also assists other law firms with complex matters where the expertise and specialized knowledge of the lawyers is called upon.

LAWYERS

1. M Rajaram, P.B.M. (Admission No. 27 of 1980), Senior Director
Rajaram graduated from the University of Singapore in 1978. He holds an MBA from Maastricht. He has been in active practice since 1980. He started his professional career as a litigator in criminal and civil proceedings. He now actively practices in the areas of Banking and Transactional Work, Merger and Acquisitions, Cross Border Work, particularly India related transactions, Real Estate, insolvency and corporate restructuring. Raja is a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (FSIArb) as well as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb).

Rajaram is actively in social and community work. He is a Past Chairman of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and was the Vice-Chairman of the Singapore Business Federation, and council member of ASEAN Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Mali for Singapore. Rajaram is actively involved in social work at the grassroots level and is a Patron of the Taman Jurong Citizenship Consultative Committee, having served as a member of the Taman Jurong CCC for many years.

For his contributions to Society and to the business community, during his tenure as Chairman of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rajaram was bestowed the PBM (Pingkat Bakti Masyarakat – The Public Service Medal) by the President of the Republic of Singapore.

2. N Sreenivasan, Senior Counsel (Admission No. 67 of 1988), Managing Director
Sreeni graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1985. A PSC scholar and former Legal Service officer, he is a former member of the Executive Committee and Council of the Law Society of Singapore. Sreeni is a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (FSIArb) as well as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb). In recognition of his litigation skills, Sreeni was appointed a Senior Counsel at the Opening of the Legal Year 2013. His area of practice is litigation.

3. Robert Wong Kwan Seng (Admission No. 51 of 1983), Director
Robert graduated from the National University of Singapore and commenced practice in Khattar Wong and Partners in 1984. He practises mainly corporate law with emphasis on corporate finance. He has acted as solicitor in initial public offerings, rights issues, issue of debentures, takeovers, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures.

4. Palmer Stuart Andrew (Admission No. 126 of 1988), Director
Stuart graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1988 and has been in legal practice since 1989 after serving 1½ years as Deputy Public Prosecutor and State Counsel. His area of practice is litigation.

5. Palaniappan Sundararaj (Admission No. 5 of 1994), Director
Raj graduated in 1988 from the National University of Singapore and subsequently obtained his Master’s degree in 1994. He was a former PSC Merit Bursary Award holder and served for 5 years as Deputy Public Prosecutor and State Counsel. His area of practice is litigation.

6. Liow Wang Wu Joseph (Admission No. 160 of 1992), Director
Joseph graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1992. He was a PSC ASEAN Scholar Pre-University from 1986 to 1987. He has been in legal practice since 1993. He is an active member of various committees of the Law Society of Singapore. He is a Lead Trainer and Committee member of the Advocacy Committee, a former Vice Chairman of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme Committee and a member of the Inquiry Panel. Outside the Law Society of Singapore, Joseph also acts as a Legal Assessor to the Singapore Medical Council and has previously served as the Honorary Secretary to the Society of Construction Law (Singapore).

His area of practice is principally commercial, civil and building and construction litigation. He is a qualified Arbitrator and an accredited Adjudicator with the Singapore Mediation Centre.

7. Choo Si Sen, Justice of the Peace, B.B.M (Admission No 16/1970), Consultant
A former Deputy Public Prosecutor and State Counsel, he is active in social cultural and trade organisations to which he is also Honorary Legal Adviser, (in particular, the Singapore Federation of Merchants’ Association and its affiliates). He has been an Honorary Council Member of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry for many years.

He served on the Criminal Law Advisory Committee as member and Chairman of the Criminal Law Advisory Committee I, as well as a member of the Criminal Law Review Board appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs from 1974 to 2010. He was a member in the Economic Review Committee, Sub-Committee on Domestic Enterprises. Presently he is the Chairman of Retail Promotion Centre Pte Ltd.

8. Tan Jee Ming (Admission No. 131 of 1985), Director
Jee Ming graduated from the University of Singapore in 1985 and was called to the Singapore Bar in 1986. Thereafter he commenced practice and became a partner with Messrs Derrick Ravi & Partners. In 1996, he started his own boutique practice Messrs Tan Jee Ming & Partners. The firm merged with Straits Law Practice LLC in 2010.

He currently sits as both Chairman and member in the Review Committee and Inquiry Committee and also as a member of the Compensation Fund Committee of the Law Society. He is also a member of the Disciplinary Tribunal appointed by the Honourable Chief Justice. As of 2013, he is also appointed as an independent director of 2 listed companies in Singapore.

9. Ahmad Khalis Bin Abdul Ghani (Admission No. 104 of 1985), Consultant
Khalis graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1985 and has been in legal practice from 1986 to 2005. He was an in-house counsel from 2006 to 2011 for Meinhardt (Singapore) and Mubadala Capitaland Real Estate (Abu Dhabi). His area of practice is corporate, property and litigation.

10. Ms Lim Lay Choo Jennifer (Admission No 373 of 1991), Director
Jennifer graduated from the University of East Anglia in 1990 and was called to the Bar of England and Wales (Lincoln’s Inn) in 1991. She was called to the Singapore Bar in January 1993 and is a Commissioner for Oaths. She is actively involved in social, cultural and trade organisations such as the merchants’/trade associations, martial arts’ institutions, lion and dragon, clans/ associations and others. She is also very active at various grassroots organisations.

She sits as Legal Advisor to these organisations and is also the Legal Adviser to the Federation of Merchants Association. She sits in the Councils of the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She also sits in the Criminal Law Advisory Committee as appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. She is a volunteer lawyer with the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme of the Law Society of Singapore. Jennifer practices Conveyancing and Property, Civil/Criminal Law, Matrimonial, Landlord and Tenant Law, Probate/Administration of Estate and general solicitors work.

11. Suresh Sukumaran Nair (Admission No.293 of 1993), Director
Suresh graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1993 and was called to the Singapore Bar in 1994. He has also been admitted to the roll of solicitors of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Upon graduating, Suresh joined the law firm of Allen & Gledhill, where he was made Partner in 2000. In 2002 – 2003, Suresh spent a year as a Legal Officer with the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva, where he reviewed war reparations claims against Iraq arising from the 1st Gulf War. He returned to Singapore in 2003 and rejoined Allen & Gledhill. Suresh made the move to Straits Law in 2010, and is focussed on growing the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution practices. Suresh has appeared as Counsel in numerous international arbitrations and at all levels of the Singapore Courts. Suresh’s main areas of practice are banking and commercial disputes, shareholders’ disputes, Fund-related litigation, construction, employment and insolvency – related litigation.

Important cases in which Suresh appeared as Counsel include the cases of Orient Centre Investments Ltd & Anor v Societe Generale [2007] 3 SLR(R) 566, a landmark decision of the Singapore Court of Appeal on banking documentation, and the case of Animal Concerns Research & Education Society v Tan Boon Kwee [2011] SGCA 2, which is a landmark decision on the duty of care in construction cases.

12. Ang Mei-Ling Valerie Freda (Admission No. 47 of 1995), Director
Valerie graduated from the University of Hull, United Kingdom in 1993. She has been with the firm since her pupilage days except for a short one (1) year stint in the private sector in 2001. Valerie is a Member of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (MSIArb). Her area of practice is litigation.

13. Chan Lai Foong (Admission No. 163 of 1992), Associate Director
Lai Foong graduated from the University of Hull, United Kingdom in 1989 and was called to the Singapore Bar in 1993. Since then, she has been in private practice and started her career handling conveyancing, corporate and general litigation work. Her main practice now is Real Estate Conveyancing, Banking and Transaction work.

14. Ahmad Nizam Abbas (Admission No. 31 of 1993), Associate Director
Ahmad graduated from University Of Keele, United Kingdom, in 1991.He served on the Council of the Law Society from 1996 to 2000. His main area of practice is litigation. He is active in several committees of ministries and statutory boards, including serving as a Board Member of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore between 2002 and 2005 where he sat on the Investment, Audit and Tender committees.

15. Shankar (Admission No. 58 of 1997), Associate Director
Shankar’s area of practice is in international arbitration work and commercial litigation. He has handled various international arbitration cases where different arbitration rules such as the Uncitral Rules, Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules and International Chamber of Commerce rules have been applied. He has gained much experience in international arbitration where disputes involved commodities such as agricultural products, coal, fertilisers, iron, steel and petroleum and petrochemical products. Shankar also advices and represents one of the Singapore casino in their casino related matters.

16. Selvarajan Balamurugan (Admission No. 267 of 1998), Associate Director
Bala graduated from the University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom in 1996. He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 1999. Bala’s areas of practice include criminal litigation, matrimonial as well as other general solicitors work.

17. Rajaram Muralli Raja (Admission No. 180/2006), Associate Director
Muralli went into the law as a default option, because his father and uncle were lawyers. But he knew that he made the right choice when he was defending officer for one of his men in a court martial, when as a 19 year old Second Lieutenant, he made a difference. Muralli underwent pupillage and three demanding years at Allen & Gledhill. This early training has made him tough and a glutton for hard work, responding to client’s requirements thoroughly and at short notice.

Muralli was recruited as part of Straits’ infusion of fresh blood. He is part of the litigation team and handles both civil and criminal litigation. In his first month, he has already become involved in a large and complex commercial disputed between two listed companies and in a Court of Appeal matter. In the longer term Muralli hopes to contribute significantly to Straits Law’s litigation department’s stature as a leading mid-sized practice.

Most Significant Legal Cases to Date
Acting for an Asian government in an ICC international arbitration of a dispute on a joint investment and management agreement with a multi- national transport company. Issues relating to breaches of the arbitration agreement, stay of proceedings and anti-suit injunctions arose during the course of the arbitration when parallel proceedings were commenced in another jurisdiction.

Advising an Asian government in relation to a regulatory authority’s power to halt trading of the shares of a listed government company so that several suspicious transactions could be investigated.

Acting for an investment company and several of its related entities and officers in a High Court suit commenced by one of its customers for breaches of fiduciary duties and conspiracy.

Acting for a bank in a High Court suit against one of its former customers for the recovery of monies owed to the bank under various facilities.

Acting for a bank in a High Court suit initiated by one of the bank’s former customers in which allegations were raised that the relationship manager had given wrong advice on the nature of a certain instrument purchased by that customer.

18. Ramesh Bharani (Admission No. 104 of 2006), Senior Associate
Ramesh graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2005. He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2007. Ramesh is also a qualified accountant. He was an auditor with a local accounting firm from 1999 to 2002 before leaving the accounting profession to read law. Ramesh is an associate member of CPA Australia. Ramesh’s areas of legal practice include civil and criminal litigation, matrimonial as well as other general solicitor’s work.

19. Zhu Zhihao Daniel (Admission No: 180/2011/K), Associate
Daniel graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2010. He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2011. Daniel’s areas of legal practice include civil and criminal litigation as well as other general solicitor’s work.

20. Vithyashree (Admission No: 170/2011/E), Associate
Vithya graduated from the University of Southampton in 2009. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2011. Vithya’s areas of legal practice include civil and commercial litigation as well as other general solicitor’s work.

21. Judy Ang Pei Xia (Admission No: 160/2010/Y), Associate
Judy graduated from the London School of Economics in 2009. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2011. Judy’s areas of legal practice include civil litigation and family law as well as other general solicitor’s work.

22. Jeremy Choo Joon Haw (Admission No: 293/2011/K), Associate
Jeremy read Economics and Sociology at the National University of Singapore and law at the University of Durham. He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2012. Jeremy’s areas of legal practice include mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance.

23. Lisa Chong (Admission No. 166/2012 ), Associate
Lisa graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2011 and was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court in
2012. Her areas of practice include civil and commercial litigation.

24. Lim Min (Admission No. 13 of 2013), Associate
Lim Min graduated from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, in 2011. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2013. Lim Min’s areas of legal practice include civil litigation.

25. Nicole Oon Siew Sien (Admission No. 101 of 2013), Associate
Nicole graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2012. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2013. Nicole’s area of legal practice is civil litigation.

26. Bryan Tan Tse Hsien (Admission No. 109 of 2013), Associate
Bryan graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2008. He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2013. Bryan’s area of legal practice is civil litigation.

27. Tan Kai Ning Claire (Admission No. 132/2013), Associate
Claire graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2012. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2013. Claire’s areas of legal practice include civil litigation as well as other general solicitor’s work.

28. Divya Pradha (Admission No: 268 of 2013), Associate
Divya graduated in 2007 from the Singapore Management University with a Bachelor of Business Management and a Bachelor of Science (Economics). She left a career as a Tax Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2010, following which she read law at the Singapore Management University. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree in 2012 and was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2013. Divya’s areas of legal practice include general corporate and banking work.

29. Pravin Shanmugaraj Thevar (Admission No: 303 of 2013), Associate
Pravin graduated from Singapore Management University in 2012. He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2013. Pravin’s areas of legal practice include commercial litigation as well as insolvency practice.

30. Chio Su-Mei (Admission No: 104/2010), Associate
Chio Su-Mei graduated from the University of Durham (UK). She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2011. Su-Mei’s areas of legal practice include commercial litigation as well as insolvency practice and other general solicitor’s work

FOREIGN LAWYERS

31. Leela Velayuthan, Foreign Lawyer
Leela graduated from the University of London in 1998 and was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in 2000. She was registered to practice foreign law as a Foreign Lawyer by the Attorney General’s Chambers, Singapore in 2010. Leela’s main areas of work now involves cross border corporate finance documentation and Mergers & Acquisitions.

32. Shiny VR, Foreign Lawyer
Shiny graduated from the University of Mysore (India) in 2002. She also holds a Master of Laws (Business Law) from University of Pondicherry (India). Shiny was admitted to Bar Council of India in 2003. She has also been admitted to the rolls of solicitors of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Shiny was registered to practice foreign law as a Foreign Lawyer by the Attorney General’s Chambers, Singapore in 2010. Her main stay of work involves mainly cross border corporate finance documentation and Mergers & Acquisitions.

33. Kshitij Dua

Kshitij is a transactional lawyer involved with the corporate and banking and finance practices of the firm. He graduated from the National Law Institute University, India in 2006 and completed his Masters of Law with honors at the Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago in 2013. Kshitij is admitted to the Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh, India and is registered as a Foreign Lawyer with the Attorney General’s Chambers, Singapore.
Kshitij’s core areas of practice include corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, syndicated lending, asset finance, acquisition finance and project finance transactions.