U.S. law firm McDermott Will & Emery is down to a single partner in Singapore after energy expert Merrick White joined Watson Farley & Williams.


White focuses his practice on global oil, gas, LNG, refining and petrochemical project development. He advises clients on energy-related development projects and transactions, including the granting of upstream concession agreements; the acquisition and disposal of energy assets; the development of refineries, petrochemical projects, LNG, gas and oil production and transportation infrastructure; and the sale of oil, gas, LNG and petrochemical products.

Prior to joining McDermott in 2021, White was at King & Spalding. He moved to the latter firm as a partner from Clifford Chance in 2012. Before commencing his two-decade-long legal career, White held various positions in the energy industry as an engineer and commercial manager.

His arrival takes the number of partners at WFW in Singapore to 14. They include two disputes partners who joined last year: Andrew Raymond (from Herbert Smith Freehills in Seoul) and Boon Tat Yeo (from local firm Quahe Woo & Palmer).

McDermott had relaunched its physical Asia presence in 2021 with an office in Singapore after hiring Ignatius Hwang from Squire Patton Boggs, and White. Shortly thereafter, it added more lawyers from Squire Patton Boggs, led by transaction specialist Alfred Chia, U.S. securities expert Siddhartha Sivaramakrishnan from HSF, and Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi as its Asia transactions head from Latham & Watkins.

That was followed in 2022 by the addition of a four-lawyer investigations and compliance team from Sidley Austin led by partners Yuet Ming Tham, the former head of Asia-Pacific and Singapore managing partner at Sidley, and Shu Min Ho. Tham joined McDermott as APAC head.

However, within a few months, Tham and Ho returned to Sidley. Then, last year, Hwang left the firm to establish his own practice, Magellan Law, and Chia exited as well. It is unclear where Tjia-Dharmadi is at the moment. Sivaramakrishnan is currently the only partner at McDermott’s Singapore office.


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