April 1, 2015
An ASEAN themed conference
As a Singapore member firm of the World Law Group (WLG), Rodyk & Davidson, had the privilege and honour of hosting the 3rd Asian Regional Conference this year, attended by a strong 33 delegate team from 10 member firms all over Asia. They included Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore, as well as a delegate from a candidate firm in Vietnam.
Fostering closer relations
The WLG Regional Conference aims to create opportunities for younger partners and associates from its member firms to network and foster relationships. The Regional Conferences also allows senior partners and key member partners, another platform to get together and strengthen existing relationships.
With that aim in mind, Rodyk initiated the "Buddies Programme" during the conference. Delegates were allocated to five practice groups (Banking & Finance, Competition, Corporate, Intellectual Property and Litigation) with Rodyk lawyers acting as "buddies" to the delegates and assisted them throughout the conference.
Conference at Maxwell Chambers
The conference was held at Maxwell Chambers, the world's first integrated dispute resolution complex housing both best-of-class hearing facilities as well as top international ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) institutions.
Asia Pacific Regional Director, Jessada Sawatdipong and Gerald Singham (Rodyk's contact partner) gave opening remarks and kick-started the conference.
The Singapore legal experience - global opportunities
Rodyk partner Lok Vi Ming, SC (immediate past President of the Singapore Law Society, Director of Singapore International Mediation Centre) - provided an overview of Singapore's legal landscape. In particular, the opening up of the legal industry by allowing foreign law firms to operate in Singapore with QFLP (Qualifying Foreign Law Practices) licences. Vi Ming gave an update of the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC), Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC), and Med-Arb (mediation-arbitration) process.
Some insights were shared on how lawyers from Asia and beyond can work in Singapore through the Foreign Practitioner Examination and how to advise clients as to possible dispute resolution avenues using various platforms in Singapore.
ASEAN economic community 2015 - benefits for businesses
Singapore Economic Development Board's Dr. Christopher Lim (Deputy Director, Business Environment) gave a thought-provoking and informative presentation on the thriving ASEAN economy. He provided a history of how ASEAN trades with the world from inception until now. FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in ASEAN has surpassed China. FTAs with other Asian countries such as PRC, Korea, Japan has greatly benefitted ASEAN countries.
Delegates learnt how ASEAN can offer opportunities for legal services and how to offer clients relevant legal advice to clients in ASEAN matters.
ASEAN competition policy framework
Mr Lee Jwee Guan (Director, Legal & Enforcement, Competition Commission of Singapore) provided a comprehensive review of competition law policies in all 10 ASEAN member states, which are to impose competition policy by 2015. There was a comparison of ASEAN CPL Frameworks in ASEAN countries.
Mr Lee shared that competition laws generally prohibit anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominance provisions, merger control and leniency program. Following country-specific CPL developments and developmental updates around ASEAN, Mr Lee's presentation provoked a spirited debate and exchange at the end of the presentation.
Communications Marketing for Professional Services in the age of digital transparency
Delegates participated in an interactive session by James Cook (Director, Edelman, the largest PR firm in the world). Apart from a discussion on how the changing media landscape affects marketing strategies for law practices, delegates were introduced to the concept of how to market through Thought Leadership - providing an opinion on issues as a method of promoting legal services.
Asian market roundtable, enhancing business cooperation
In his closing speech, Gerald Singham urged delegates to "keep conversations going, keep relationships going and keep "plugging". Delegates were reminded that this century could be Asia's century and all members should leverage on this for business success.
Jessada Sawatdipong ended the conference officially by exhorting everyone to promote more referrals now that delegates have seen each other face to face.
The 3rd Asian Regional Conference was a success owing to the support from all member firms throughout Asia. It is hoped that the new bonds that were made during this conference will continue to strengthen and existing relationships will prosper through many more close communications between delegates and members firms well into the future.
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Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in Singapore with Registration No. T07LL0439G, and a member of Dentons' global legal practice.