We chat with our disputes partner, Mary-Anne Chua, on what has been keeping her busy these days.
What has been keeping you busy these days?
Most recently, I was part of the Law Society of Singapore’s Mission to Vietnam in August this year. Our delegation spent several days in Ho Chi Minh City visiting law firms, and legal institutions such as the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC)’s branch office and what was impressive was not so much the rapid growth and progress which the country has enjoyed but the hunger for personal and professional development radiating from almost all the contacts I met.
Many contacts I spoke with sported an excellent command of business English and some had even taken up Chinese as a third or fourth language! In addition, just as we were keen to learn about the business and legal environment in Vietnam, our counterparts were just as eager to learn about the intricacies of our legal system, to connect, and to collaborate.
Vietnam is undoubtedly a jurisdiction which is poised to grow from strength to strength, and I believe one to watch, especially for players in the shipping, energy, and international trade space.
Since the pandemic unfolded, and in recent months, have you witnessed any changes to your dealings with clients, and their expectations of their counsel?
The bulk of our clients are experienced businesses, and even pre-pandemic, the inclination has been to try to settle matters commercially. However, one trend which we have seen of late, is an increase in clients approaching us very early on in the pre-dispute stage and looking to us for advice on how best to manage communications to prevent further escalation. In such scenarios, we work symbiotically with our clients’ commercial team in order to ensure that our clients get the best possible outcome, from both a legal and commercial perspective. At the end of the day, we are professional problem solvers and that is the value we bring to the table for our clients. We do our best to solve our clients’ legal problems as efficiently as possible, but if the matter cannot be solved at the pre-litigation stage, then naturally, it becomes our job to fight as hard as we can, for our client’s cause.
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JTJB Singapore Office
T: +65 6324 0613