March 12, 2017 – Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) has opened a new office in Singapore and added Ashish Raivadera to the partner practice group as head of private practice for South Asia. He will also lead operations in Singapore.
In recent years, while working at ATR Associates Pte. Ltd., Mr. Raivadera focused on partner and counsel placements with international law firms in Singapore and Southeast Asia, providing strategic advice and detailed market analysis to global, regional and local law firm heads. As the region has grown, he has also become involved in helping law firms to find solutions for their Singapore or Indonesian offices. Most recently, he assisted a number of major U.S. and U.K. firms open their offices in Singapore.
“Ash possesses a strong knowledge of the Singapore legal market after recruiting there for 18 years and having witnessed dynamic changes over that time,” said Brent Harris, executive director, international operations at Major, Lindsey & Africa. “He has developed an excellent reputation among clients and candidates from international law firms, banks, and corporations in various industry sectors in Southeast Asia, and we are delighted that he now brings that enhanced level of experience and insight to MLA’s legal recruiting efforts in the region.”
Mr. Raivadera joins Major, Lindsey & Africa’s existing APAC partner practice team of Carl Hopkins (Hong Kong), Tom Stretton and Michael Robertson (Sydney), Laurie Lebrun (Tokyo), and Andrew Ng (Beijing), who also act for law firm partners.
Singapore Ideal for Place Business
The Singaporean economy is known as one of the freest, most innovative, competitive, dynamic and business-friendly around the globe. The Index of Economic Freedom ranks Singapore as the second freest economy in the world and the Ease of Doing Business Index has ranked it as the easiest place to do business for the past decade.
Singapore’s largest companies are in the telecommunications, banking, transportation and manufacturing sectors, many of which started as state-run enterprises and are now listed on the Singapore Exchange, including Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel), Singapore Technologies Engineering, Keppel Corporation, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), and United Overseas Bank (UOB).
Mr. Harris, Major, Lindsey & Africa’s international operations head, recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the legal search market in Singapore and why the search firm identified this particular region for expansion. Here’s some excerpts from that discussion.
Brent, why has MLA targeted Singapore for growth?
Increasingly, Singapore is seen as the gateway to Asia, particularly the culturally and economically diverse markets within Southern Asia. Singapore’s cultural diversity, business friendly environment and excellent connectivity to the rest of the region and the globe make it an attractive hub to do business around the region, and an attractive option for an increasingly globalized talent pool. It is a natural and attractive hub to connect Australasia to the world – particularly in the resources sector and ideally located for the capital flows from North Asia (Japan and China) into Asia and the rest of the world. The growing focus on emerging markets in Myanmar and Indochina, but also more established markets with great potential such as India and Indonesia, make it a great launch pad for business. Singapore has also taken a position as being a leader in the tech/FinTech and innovation space.
Is there increasing demand for legal professionals in Singapore?
With the increasing liberalization of other regional legal markets and a desire for regional law firms to play on a global scale, Singapore is proving to be a popular choice and an alternative to Hong Kong. Increasingly, many of our global corporate clients are choosing Singapore as their Asia hub – or having an equally large presence here with equal weight. Singapore has also taken a lead in dispute resolution – commercial litigation and arbitration with the SICC (International Commercial Court) and SIAC (International Arbitration Court). Singapore’s legal system is becoming increasing more important to the rest of Asia – particularly within commercial deals. As a consequence of these and other factors, we have seen a significant increase in demand over the last few years.
“Changing jobs is a huge decision for an individual and the opportunity has to be the right one. Above all, cultural fit is commonly the most important factor. Statistically, individuals who leave a position within a short period of time, do so because of poor cultural fit within an organization. MLA staff work with teams of ‘cultural anthropologists’ to hone their assessment skills and penetrate beyond the conventional or received view of a company’s culture.”
What can you tell us about the mid-level and senior-level recruitment market here?
At MLA in Singapore, we focus on three areas. Law firm partners and general counsel at the senior end of the legal spectrum and law firm associates at the mid-level. Demand for corporate counsel has remained strong for many years from our existing global client base and we expect that to continue based on factors outlined previously. From a law firm perspective, particularly partner work, MLA has been far more active in other Asian countries to date such as Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo but finding the right team for Singapore has been a high priority and we are delighted with the recent hire of Ash Raivadera, an experienced consultant as our head of law firm for South Asia. We know that U.K. law firms dominate the local market but increasingly U.S. and international firms are showing an interest in establishing a Singapore presence.
Are there any particular nuances when trying to attract professionals to move from one firm to another?
Over 90 percent of MLA’s consultants are ‘recovering’ lawyers with a deep functional understanding of the profession. To that end, we invest a great deal of time and expertise in seeking to understand the culture, working practices and goals of our clients and match those with the cultural traits and aspirations of our candidates. I do not think that there is a ‘magic bullet’ per se when attracting candidates, it is really being able to have that fundamental understanding of what both parties need so that the case is compelling for the applicant to at least consider moving. Changing jobs is a huge decision for an individual and the opportunity has to be the right one. Above all, cultural fit is commonly the most important factor. Statistically, individuals who leave a position within a short period of time, do so because of poor cultural fit within an organization. MLA staff work with teams of ‘cultural anthropologists’ to hone their assessment skills and penetrate beyond the conventional or received view of a company’s culture.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media