The Business Times Who’s Who in Law Feature on Oon & Bazul – 2011
Oon & Bazul is a Singapore law firm consisting of leading specialist practice groups and with an associate office in Malaysia.
For two years in a row (2009 and 2010), the firm has been recognised by the Asia Legal Business Fast 30 as one of Asia’s fastest growing law firms.
The firm has also been highly recommended by respected legal industry publications such as Chamners Asia, the Asia-Pacific Legal 500 and Asialaw Profiles, and its partners have been recognised as leaders in their respective areas of practice.
While it is based in Singapore, the firm’s experience extends far beyond the shores of the city-state. Its lawyers – who are qualified in a number of jurisdictions including England, China, India, Singapore and Malaysia – are experienced in advising on all manner of disputes and transactions across Asia and particularly adept at coordinating matters involving multiple jurisdictions.
The firm’s strength lies in the quality of its partners and lawyers who are specialists in their respective fields. Where a case requires it, its lawyers across teams are able to work closely together to provide Singapore arbitration and parties from China and India. With its English, India, China and Singapore qualified lawyers, the firm is able to guide the clients through the entire matter from the very beginning to the enforcement and recovery stage in China or India as the case may be.
The dynamic and enterprising legal practice is still looking to expand.
“We expect the firm to continue to grow,” says Oon & Bazul managing partner Bazul Ashhab.
“I see the demand in the market for quality legal service in Asia growing in tandem with the growth of the Asian economy”.
In particular, the firm expects to see a spike in its international arbitration work, which has always been one of the firm’s core practice areas. It is also looking to grow its corporate unit.
“The corporate department is set to grow and we are seeing a lot more deals, especially from the banks” says Mr Ting Chi Yen, a partner in the Corporate Department.
International arbitration is one of the firm’s core practice areas. Its arbitration lawyers have handled a range of major arbitrations in cities around the world including, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur.
Over the years, the team has handled highly complex disputes in niche industries such as aviation, shipping, international trade, oil & gas, projects, reinsurance and mineral exploration.
Litigation & Dispute Management
The firm’s dispute resolution team, which is headed by partner Bazul Ashhab, has the capabilities and experience to handle a variety of complex disputes.
Apart from appearing as counsel in actions in the Singapore High Court and Appellate Court, the lawyers in the dispute resolution team are particularly experienced in supervising and coordinating litigation and enforcement in multi-jurisdictional disputes.
The corporate team advises on a wide range of corporate issues including mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, directors’ duties, joint venture agreements, management and consultancy agreements, as well as the sale and purchases of corporate assets and shares.
Additionally, the team has particular expertise in drafting and advising on specialised contracts for the shipping, trade, finance and insurance and reinsurance industries.
The deals the team has been involved in include a joint venture between a major Japanese shipping company and one of the world’s largest port operators in relation to a roro terminal worth US$110 million and a joint venture between one of the largest shipping companies in the world and a major Indian multinational.
Restructuring & Insolvency
The firm’s restructuring and insolvency lawyers are highly experienced in advising clients on debt restructuring as well as limiting commercial risk through corporate structures and offshore entities. The team also handles and advises on all aspects of insolvency including liquidation, judicial management, scheme of arrangements and receivership.
Employee Fraud & Asset Recovery
Oon & Bazul has worked with forensic experts in numerous cases involving fraud and is able to provide clients with an immediate checklist of steps that need to be taken immediately after a fraud is discovered to ring fence and protect the client’s business operations. The is experienced in working closely with the authorities and lawyers from around the world to trace and obtain urgent protective injunctions and freezing orders to prevent a fraudster from dissipating monies or assets, and to recover any assets that may have been transferred out of the local jurisdiction.
Oon & Bazul provides a full range of services in and regularly handles the sale and purchase of residential and commercial properties, en-block sales, leases, tenders & auctions, development projects, trust deeds and real estate arrangements. The firm’s conveyancing team is on the panel of the major banks in Singapore and regularly acts for clients in property transactions, both residential and commercial. The team also acts for both local and foreign clients, including financial institutions, bank and corporations.
Private Client Services
The firm provides private clients with tax-efficient and sound estate planning advice tailored to suit the individual client’s needs and aspirations through the use of trusts and other similar tools. Its lawyers also handle the administration of wills and letters of probate and advise on all issues arising from the administration of a deceased’s estate.
Admiralty & Shipping
Oon & Bazul has one of Singapore’s strongest and largest shipping law teams. Its team has the capabilities and expertise to handle a full range of shipping work in Singapore and across the region.
Partner Bazul Ashhab has been commended by the Asia Pacific. Legal 500 as a “spectacular lawyer” who is admired by clients for his “quick intellect and grasp of material issues” and by Chambers Asia as “bringing a London-style approach to local matters”.
Its wet work team is headed by a former mariner and partner, Goush Marikan, who previously sailed as chief officer with an international shipping line. Asia Legal 500 has praised Goush as “knowledgeable in dealing with collision and other casualty work”. The dry shipping team includes lawyers qualified in multiple jurisdictions including, China, Malaysia, Singapore and England. Partner Oon Thian Seng who is called to the bar in both Singapore and Malaysia has advised underwriters and P&I Clubs in collision cases where there is a dispute as to whether the collision took place in Singapore or Malaysian waters. The Asia Pacific Legal 500 (2009/2010 Edition) has commended Thian Seng’s advice as “practical, commercial and delivers value.”
The firm’s ship finance and transactional lawyers advise on all aspects of non-contentions shipping work including vessel financing, mortgages, sales and purchases, registration and ownership structuring issues, while its marine insurance practice group – which is probably one of the largest dedicated marine insurance practices in Asia – advises major regional and international insurers on all aspects of marine insurance.
The firm’s lawyers regularly advise the world’s largest trading houses on all aspects of international trade involving both soft and hard commodities. Over the past year, the commodities team has been instructed in relation to a number of high value trade dispute arbitration involving coal, grain and pulses, palm oil, fertilizer and petroleum products.
Banking & Finance
The firm’s banking and finance practice has a strong reputation with banks. Currently, the firm sits on the panels of a number of major local and offshore banks based in Singapore.
Its lawyers regularly advise and assist on issues such as trade finance, receivables financing, project and structured finance, financial derivative transactions, cross border financing and security transactions, syndicated loans and matters of regulation and compliance.
The firm’s aviation team is regularly instructed by aircraft owners and carriers to advise on sale & purchase agreements and lease agreements, freight forwarding contracts and airway bills, On the contentious side, the team represents cargo insurers in subrogated claims against airlines and in actions involving aircraft arrests/repossessions.
Insurance & Reinsurance
Oon & Bazul’s marine insurance group, which handles all aspects of hull and cargo insurance, was singled out by The Asia Pacific Legal 500 as being “without peer” in Singapore.
The insurance & reinsurance team acts for a number of major regional and international insurers and regularly advise on all classes of insurance including, property, professional indemnity, CAR, business interruption, public liability and financial lines. The team also advises issues of coverage under facultative and treaty reinsurance contracts and the ceding of risk to reinsurers.
Oil & Gas
The firm regularly advises clients in the offshore oil and gas industry on a variety of matters including production contracts, contracts for supply of offshore support vessels and construction and pipeline installation contracts.
Projects & Real Estate
The firm’s projects team is experienced in handling all types of construction disputes including claims for delays, defects and liquidated damages. Its real estate practice group acts for clients in property transactions, both residential and commercial. Its lawyers are on the panel of all major banks in Singapore and have advised on a number of high value transactions for commercial property investors
Two factors have driven the firm’s growth so far – the ability to attract good work and clients, and a focus on attracting the best lawyers.
The firm prides itself on offering solid legal advice alongside commercially sensible solutions.
Recruiting bright young lawyers is also important to the firm, whose policy is to pay top dollar for top talent. Young lawyers are offered clear career development within a dynamic and growing law firm.
Mr Bazul reveals that in line with the firm’s expansion drive, it has recruited a partner who specialises in international arbitration from an international law firm to strengthen the firm’s arbitration department. The new partner will join the firm in June 2011.
Awards & Accolades: