22 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM Helmsman Helmsman, a four-yearold law firm with offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, has grown significantly in the past 12 months by adding five fee-earners and increasing revenue by 50 percent. This has made the total number of fee-earners to 23, including six partners. The key drivers of this growth are expansion of practice areas by addition of ESG and crypto assets groups. Thus, it has also widened its specialty from shipping and commodity. Some of its notable cases are: successful appeal for the owners of five bunker tankers before the Court of Appeal of Singapore on bills of lading arising out of the insolvency of OW Bunkers; winning a case for Singapore company about $3 million claims against a listed Chinese company, two Hong Kong companies and a Chinese national which involves forgery allegations; and acting for an international commodity trading house in a dispute arising from the insolvency of Hin Leong Trading involving alleged circular trades. In response to the recent surge in the number of practice areas due to technological developments, increasing risks involving data security and social responsibilities, Helmsman aims to expand its business further in the coming year to add new practice groups and more fee-earners, although details have not yet been disclosed. Key members of the firm include the managing director of Singapore and commercial law expert Ian Teo and the managing partner of Hong Kong and shipping and commodity disputes specialist Tang Chong Jun. Meritus Law Established in 2022, Meritus Law is run by old hands. The firm handles complex, high-value and cross-border commercial disputes with an established track record for shareholders and joint venture disputes and assists clients in the banking, infrastructure and construction sectors. The firm also assists clients in wealth planning, aviation, regulatory as well as corporate, financing and commercial matters. In the past year, Meritus has doubled its fee-earners to 10, including four directors. Withers KhattarWong equity partner Ushan Premaratne joined Meritus as a director last September. Corporate law specialist Amos Tan from Quahe Woo & Palmer joined Meritus as a director last April to head its fast-growing corporate practice. Senior aviation law expert Rajaram Ramiah oversees the firm’s aviation practice. Amid uncertain economic outlook in Asia, some law firms have wound down their operations in the region. Meritus, on the other hand, has focused on new opportunities resulting in its revenue doubling in the past year. The firm also receives work arising from the rising influx of funds from Hong Kong and China. Alfred Lim, managing director, is confident that there will be more work in the pipeline, giving Meritus the opportunity to expand further. Lim, Jaime Lye and Premaratne represent clients before arbitral tribunals, the Supreme Court and the Singapore International Commercial Court. Lye is experienced in commercial litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution in various industries. She is currently enforcing the first arbitral award in Timor-Leste under the New York Convention. Nakoorsha Law Established in 2017, Nakoorsha Law is a compact disputes boutique with three fee-earners, including two partners. But it’s been a centre of attention in the Singaporean legal market by representing a wide variety of high-value cases. Its notable cases include successful defence of acting for a Singapore-listed trustee, fiduciary and custody services company in its defence over brought by a U.S. special purpose vehicle in the High Court of Singapore in which the plaintiff seeks over $1 million damage in damages by alleging breach of trust, fiduciary duties and unjust enrichment; successfully acting for a pet training and care services provider winning in a defamation case against an individual who had published a defamatory post about the company on Facebook; and successful defence for a former executive director by of a listed company alleging violation of the Companies Act for failing to act honestly in discharge of his duties as a director. The main drivers behind its growth in the past year were the strong relationships and networks with clients, and it will remain one of the firm’s most important strategies in the coming year. The government’s tighter regulations on white-collar and financial crimes, such as under the Securities and Futures Act have created more business opportunities for the firm in white-collar crimes such as offences of duty and embezzlement. Nakoorsha Law expects a greater growth can be realised by cultivating and maintaining client relationships as well as engaging in more significant, complex and high-profile criminal and commercial litigations. Omni Law Omni Law was established as a team of conflict-free, cost-effective specialists in resolving civil, commercial and investment disputes through international arbitration and litigation. As a unit of legal experts with deep local and international experience and networks, the team tailors its solutions to each client’s needs while understanding the mindsets of tribunals, courts, and opposing counsel. The team was founded by Mr Oommen Mathew, a distinguished counsel SINGAPORE FIRMS TO WATCH 2024 Ian Teo Alfred Lim Nakoorsha Law Team Oommen Mathew