Straits Law Practice Year 2013 Profile

SOUND FUNDAMENTALS

Straits Law 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 Law Practice LLC (“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 83 million dollar 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 35 lawyers (including foreign lawyers) and support staff strength of 32 employees including legal executives with legal qualifications from various jurisdictions, paralegals 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 $70 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,
co
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.”

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. Robert Wong & 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. Since the beginning of 2011, the firm has hired corporate director Steven Lo and dispute resolution and restructuring and insolvency specialist and director Suresh Nair, both from Allen & Gledhill.


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. Partner Steven Lo 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 acquisition 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 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, SC (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 form 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 offers, rights issue, issue of debentures, takeovers, mergers and acquisition 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. Jee Ming currently sits as both Chairman and member in the various review Committees and Inquiry Committees constituted by the Law Society. He is also a member of the Disciplinary Tribunal appointed by the Honourable Chief Justice.

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.In 2013, he obtained a Masters of Law in Islamic Law and Finance fromthe Singapore Management University. He served on the Council of the Law Society from 1996 to 2000 and is the current Chairman of the Muslim Law Practice Committee. His main area of practice is litigation.

In 2009, he was appointed a member of the Panel of Advisors to the Juvenile Court. He is an Associate Mediator with the Singapore Mediation Centre. He is also a Teaching Fellow at the Singapore Institute of Legal Education. His article ‘The Islamic Legal System in Singapore’ was published in the Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal in its January 2012 issue.

He is active in several committees of ministries and statutory boards, including MUIS , Mendaki , National Youth Council and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore . He currently sits on the Board of Mediacorp Group where he serves in the Audit and Review Committee.

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.    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.

18.    Rajaram Muralli Raja (Admission No. 180/2006), Senior Associate

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.

19.    Benjamin Szeto (Admission No. 385 of 1997), Senior Associate

Benjamin graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1996 and was subsequently admitted to the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn as a Barrister-at-Law.  He was called to the Singapore Bar in 1998.  He also holds a Master of Science (Real Estate) from the National University of Singapore and a Diploma in Financial Management from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.  His legal experience covers the property, retail, IT, services and manufacturing industries.  Benjamin’s focus is on real estate, banking and general corporate work.

20.    Yeo Li Chiun Christine (Admission No. 600196 of 2001), Senior Associate

Li Chiun graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor in 2002. Li Chiun’s core areas of practice include Banking Law and Real Property Law. She has handled a wide range of conveyancing matters including drafting of credit and loan documentations, development work and, en bloc property transactions. Prior to specialising in banking and property, she also had commercial and litigation experience in acting for major banks and financial institutions in areas of credit recovery and financial disputes. Li Chiun had previously advised and represented various local financial institutions, offshore financial institutions, representative offices and branches of foreign institutions and investment funds.

21.    Cai Lijun Christabel (Admission No. 189/2009/F), Associate

Christabel graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2009. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2010. Christabel’s areas of legal practice include civil litigation as well as other general solicitor’s work.

22.    Phua Xubin Audrey (Admission Number. 48/2010), Associate

Audrey graduated from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2007. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2010. Audrey’s areas of legal practice include general corporate and banking work.

23.    Sujatha Selvakumar (Admission No: 27/2010/A), Associate

Sujatha read law at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom following which she completed her Masters in Law (Corporate Governance). She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2011. Sujatha’s areas of practice include civil and commercial litigation, arbitration and matrimonial matters.

24.    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.

25.    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.

 

26.    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.

27.    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 banking work.

28.    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.

29.    Joanne Poh  (Admission No. 112/2012 ), Associate

Joanne graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2009. In 2007, she was awarded the University of Melbourne Jessie Leggatt Scholarship for being the top student in Public Law and Legal Theory. She was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court in 2012.  Joanne’s main areas of legal practice are Real Estate and Conveyancing.

FOREIGN LAWYERS

30.    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 & Acquisition.

31.    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 & Acquisition.

32.    Apriliana Lim Yuqing, Foreign Lawyer

April graduated from the Thomas M Cooley Law School, Michigan, USA in 2006 and was admitted to the California Bar in January 2009 and the District of Columbia Bar in March 2010. She was registered to practice foreign law as a Foreign Lawyer by the Attorney General’s Chambers, Singapore in April 2011.  April’s main areas of work now involves cross border corporate finance documentation and Mergers & Acquisition.

Further details are available at our website at www.straitslaw.com.sg.  Please visit our website.