Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012
Davinder Singh SC
Office:
10 Collyer Quay
#10-01 Ocean Financial Centre
049315
City:
Singapore
Country:
Singapore
Tel:
+65 6531 2403
Fax:
+65 6532 7149

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Litigation

Chambers & Partners says, “Multiple sources endorse [Davinder’s] stellar dispute resolution practice, taking the view that ‘there is just no comparison’.” The guide adds that, according to clients, he is “a cut above the rest and the best in the business”. Davinder was in the first batch to be appointed Senior Counsel by the Courts of Singapore. He is executive chairman of Drew & Napier LLC, chairman of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and vice chairman of the ICC commission on corporate responsibility and anti-corruption.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER IN DISPUTE RESOLUTION?

I was very fortunate that my pupil master, Joe Grimberg, was by far the best advocate of his time. He was inspirational. It took only a few months of working on cases with him and watching him in action to convince myself that that my career lay in advocacy.

DESCRIBE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE CASE TO DATE.

I have been lucky in the sense that most of my cases have been memorable: whether it is because of the impact the decision had on the law or the significance of the outcome not just to the parties, but to a wider group of people.

YOU HAVE MAINTAINED A BROAD PRACTICE, AND LITIGATED ACROSS A WIDE RANGE OF PRACTICE AREAS. WAS THIS A CONSCIOUS DECISION, OR A REFLECTION OF THE NATURE OF THE LEGAL MARKET IN SINGAPORE?

It was a bit of both. I was never attracted to the idea of specialising in any one domain. I have no regrets because I have learned so much by practising in different areas of the law. Also, when I started practice, the legal market in Singapore was smaller and less diverse – so specialisation was not a viable option for everyone.

ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES FACING LITIGATORS IN SINGAPORE AT THE MOMENT?    

While opportunities for litigators have grown by leaps and bounds, the main challenge remains that the many young, bright and ambitious Singapore litigators have to compete with seniors for court time. At Drew & Napier, we are trying to address that by giving our juniors more airtime, even in the larger cases. 

THIRD-PARTY FUNDING IS RECEIVING A LOT OF ATTENTION AT THE MOMENT. TO WHAT EXTENT IS THIS REFLECTED IN YOUR PRACTICE?

Not at this time. In Singapore, third-party funding is in its early days.

AS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF DREW & NAPIER, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIRM DEVELOP OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

There are really only two ways of developing in any market: recruitment of the best and hungriest, and an unwavering commitment to train them in the law and in ethics.

WHAT QUALITIES MAKE A SUCCESSFUL LITIGATOR?

Integrity, a willingness to sacrifice one’s private time to prepare for a case, a stomach for a fight, a determination to continue to learn from one’s mistakes and a good dose of luck.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER LAWYERS LOOKING TO ENTER THE BAR?

Aim high, but know that without integrity and hard work, your ambition will leave your achievements trailing far behind. 

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Investigations: Lawyers

Davinder Singh is the CEO of Drew & Napier LLC.  He was among the first to be appointed senior counsel in 1997 by the Supreme Court of Singapore.

Davinder has over 30 years of experience as a commercial lawyer and advocate. He has litigated cases in almost every area of the law. He also has an active international arbitration practice.

At the Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2014, Davinder was the only Singapore lawyer to win the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession’ award. He has also been ranked by Chambers & Partners as the only 'Star Individual' in dispute resolution (Singapore), a category above Band 1, for seven consecutive years (2011 to 2017).

At the inaugural The Asian Lawyer Emerging Markets Awards 2014, Davinder was named ‘Disputes Lawyer of the Year’ for Southeast Asia and India. The publication described him as one “who is feared in Singapore as the city’s most powerful litigator”.

He was also named ‘Disputes Star of the Year – Singapore’ at the inaugural Asialaw Asia-Pacific Awards 2015.

According to Chambers’ researchers, he is regarded by market sources as “[a] formidable advocate who is widely acknowledged as ‘the best litigator in Singapore’”. Clients said, "The ‘Davinder factor’ puts this practice in a different league. [He] is prized for his ‘unique ability to grasp issues, including those which are not legally related, and to cross-examine with authority’."  

Davinder is the chairman of the board of directors of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). He is a vice-chairman of the Paris-based ICC commission on corporate responsibility and anti-corruption. He also sits on various boards.

WWL says: Davinder Singh is an internationally renowned practitioner known for his longstanding excellence in cross-border investigations.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Investigations which can be purchased from our Shop.

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