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White & Case Will Not Merge With Singapore Firm

Civil liberties? Who needs those?White & Case, one of six international firms granted a license to practice Singapore law, has canceled plans to merge with local alliance partner Venture Law.

The firm declined to comment further, though a source briefed on the matter confirmed that White & Case’s plans no longer included a merger with the 10-lawyer Venture Law.

The two firms had been in a formal alliance since 2003. Until December, such alliances and joint ventures were the only means through which international firms could practice Singapore law. Prior to its arrangement with 10-lawyer Venture Law, White & Case had participated in a short-lived joint venture with another local firm, Colin Ng & Partners.

Other foreign firms, including Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Shearman & Sterling and Freshfields, also pulled out of Singapore joint ventures, and the Singapore government last year introduced its liberalized Qualified Foreign Law Practice regime partly in response to their complaints.

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Along with White & Case, the other foreign firms who received QFLP licenses were Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith, Latham & Watkins and Norton Rose.

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