Legal Week – News www.lwk.co.uk
13 January 2000
JTJB sets Asian first with Piraeus outpost
Joseph Tan Jude Benny (JTJB) is to become the first Asian firm to open an office in Piraeus as part of its expansion into new markets.
JTJB, a leading Singapore shipping firm, will open in the Greek port in March.
The office will be staffed permanently by a Greek lawyer and used on an ad hoc basis by visiting Singapore partners.
The 11-partner is also planning to open in the Middle East, either in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
Jude Benny, the firm’s managing partner, said he wanted to compete in the global market.
He said that other Singaporean firms had opened branches in China and Vietnam, but he wanted to explore locations untouched by rival firms.
The move to Piraeus was also influenced by the quantity of shipping traffic between Piraeus and Singapore.
About 15 million tonnes of Greek shipping passes through Singapore waters each year.
Benny said the firm will only permanently base local lawyers in its foreign offices, using local people for their language skills, and flying in Singaporean lawyers to give advice.
He added that he wanted to take a different approach from English firms, which generally staff their foreign offices with partners from their home country.
Although Benny wanted to rely on foreign lawyers for foreign expansion, he said they will initially be brought to Singapore to learn the firm’s practices and become assimilated into its culture.
Nigel Bowen-Morris, managing partner of Stephenson Harwood’s Piraeus office agreed with Benny, but stressed the importance of having people from the firm’s home country on the ground.
“It is a personal business and it is important to have people on call,” he said.