Drew & Napier

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Drew & Napier LLC
Headquarters Singapore
No. of offices 3
No. of employees 500+
Major practice areas Full service firm
Key people
  • Davinder Singh, SC (Executive Chairman)
  • Jimmy Yim, SC (Deputy Executive Chairman; Managing Director, Dispute Resolution Department)
  • Cavinder Bull, SC (CEO)
  • Sushil Nair (Deputy Chief Executive Officer)
  • Dedar Singh Gill (Managing Director, IP Department)
  • Sin Boon Ann (Deputy Managing Director, Corporate & Finance)
Date founded 1889
Founder Alfred Henry Drew; Sir Walter John Napier
Company type Limited liability company
Slogan Altogether Exceptional
Website www.drewnapier.com

Drew & Napier LLC is one of Singapore’s leading law firms. Founded in 1889, the firm has more than 500 employees. It is regarded as one of the “Big Four” law firms in Singapore.[1]

Drew & Napier regularly advises governments, government institutions, regulatory authorities, financial institutions, local and multi-national corporations including Fortune 500 and blue chip companies, conglomerates, educational and non-profit organisations and high profile individuals.

In Singapore and the Southeast Asian region, the lawyers of Drew & Napier are particularly known for their expertise in litigation, international arbitration, insolvency, intellectual property, competition law, telecommunications, media & information technology and tax matters. The firm has market-leading practices in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, employment and real estate & construction law.[2] [3] [4]

The executive chairman and chief executive officer of the firm are Senior Counsel Davinder Singh and Cavinder Bull respectively as of August 2017.[5] The firm is home to another Senior Counsel (similar to Queen's Counsel in the United Kingdom), Jimmy Yim.[6]

Practice areas[edit]

Drew & Napier is a full service law firm. The firm’s lawyers have active practices in the areas below.[7]

  • Administrative & Public Law
  • Arbitration
  • Aviation
  • Banking & Finance
  • Capital Markets
  • Commercial and Corporate Litigation
  • Competition Law & Regulatory Practice
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Corporate/M&A
  • Corporate Restructuring & Workouts
  • Corporate Secretarial, Immigration, Process Agent Services (Drewcorp)
  • Crime
  • Country Desks (Greater China, Indonesia, India, Japan)
  • Defamation
  • Employment
  • Family & International Personal Relationships
  • Financial Services Regulation
  • Government
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Hotels & Leisure
  • Information Technology
  • Infrastructure
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Trade
  • Investment Funds
  • Medical Negligence
  • Natural Resources (Mineral, Oil & Gas)
  • Private Equity
  • Projects, Energy & Infrastructure
  • Projects & Project Finance
  • Real Estate
  • Shipping
  • Tax & Private Client Services
  • Telecommunications, Media & Technology
  • Transport
  • Wills, Probate and Estate Administration

Highlights in history[edit]

The firm was founded in 1889 when Manchester barrister Walter John Napier (later Sir) joined English solicitor Alfred Henry Drew.[8] Singapore was then a British colony.

Napier was the more prolific of the two founders and achieved many distinctions in his career. He was appointed Attorney-General of Singapore from 1907 to 1909. In 1909, he was knighted for his services.

In 1896, he was appointed Acting Unofficial Member of Singapore’s Legislative Council, being reappointed as a full Unofficial until 1907. At that time, he was the only Unofficial Member to have ever introduced a Bill and got it passed into an Ordinance, a feat he performed twice.

He put out 37 Ordinances in 1907 alone, almost completely reforming the entire civil law and procedure of the Colony that year. Among others, he was responsible for the notable Married Women’s Property and Partition Ordinances of 1902, and the important Merchant Shipping Ordinance of 1910.

He was also Secretary of the Straits Settlement Association from 1890, besides being a founder member of the Straits Philosophical Society. He regularly contributed articles and papers on legal subjects to the Straits Chinese Magazine. He served on the Colonial Office Committee on the Land Tenure of West African Colonies and Protectorates.

Napier was also the driving force behind the Bar Council’s decision in 1892 to begin publishing the Straits Settlements Law Reports, of which he was the first editor.

Decades later, Drew & Napier’s first Singaporean partner, Joseph Grimberg (later Senior Counsel), joined the firm in 1957 as a legal assistant (equivalent to a modern-day associate). Grimberg accelerated the pace of Asian recruitment to the more senior ranks in the office.

In 1967, he became the firm’s Senior Partner at the young age of 33. He then became Judicial Commissioner in 1987, and later rejoined Drew & Napier as a consultant in 1989. He is with the firm till today.

In 2000, Drew & Napier was corporatised to form a limited liability company.

The firm came full circle in 2011 when it moved to its current location at Ocean Financial Centre, which stands on the site of its first office at 10 Collyer Quay.

In 2014, the firm celebrated its 125th anniversary with a dinner and dance in Bali.

Notable alumni[edit]

In alphabetical order of first name:

  • David Marshall – Singapore’s first Chief Minister
  • George Lim, SC – Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Singapore International Mediation Centre, Former President of the Law Society of Singapore
  • G.P. Selvam – Former Justice of the Supreme Court
  • Hri Kumar Nair, SC - Deputy Attorney-General
  • Indranee Rajah, SC – Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law
  • Joseph Grimberg, SC - Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court, Singapore (1987-1989); first to be appointed Senior Counsel by the Chief Justice in January 1997 when this category was introduced
  • Justice Judith Prakash – Justice of the Supreme Court
  • K. Shanmugam, SC – Minister for Law and Home Affairs
  • Murgiana Haq – Former Chairperson of the Intellectual Property Committee of the Law Society of Singapore
  • Ong Kian Min – Former Member of Parliament of Singapore
  • Sachi Saurajen – Crown Counsel and Deputy Public Prosecutor
  • Sir Evelyn Ellis – Unofficial Member of Legislative Council and acting Attorney-General
  • Justice Steven Chong – Justice of the Supreme Court and former Attorney-General
  • Professor S. Jayakumar - Former Deputy Prime Minister, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Law and Labour, and former Coordinating Minister for National Security
  • Tan Cheng Han, SC – Chairman, Centre for Law & Business at the Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore
  • Dr. Thio Su Mien – Former Law Dean of the National University of Singapore
  • Sir Walter John Napier – Unofficial Member of Singapore’s Legislative Council, Attorney-General

Recent firm accolades[edit]

  • Named Southeast Asia Law Firm of the Year at the Asian Legal Business Southeast Asia Law Awards 2017[9]
  • Named the Commercial Litigation Law Firm of the Year at the Asian Legal Business Southeast Asia Law Awards 2017 for 13 years.[10]
  • Named a Top 10 firm in Asia in Asian Legal Business’ Innovative List 2016[11]
  • Named an Employer of Choice 2017 by Asian Legal Business.[12]
  • Named Singapore Contentious Intellectual Property Firm of the Year 2016 by Managing Intellectual Property.[13]
  • Ranked Band 1 by Chambers and Partners 2017 for Arbitration, Litigation, Intellectual Property, Restructuring & Insolvency, Telecommunications, Media & Technology (TMT), and Competition / Antitrust.[14]
  • Ranked Tier 1 by Legal 500 (Asia-Pacific) 2015/2016 for Dispute Resolution, Employment, Intellectual Property, Real Estate & Construction, Restructuring & Insolvency and TMT.[15]
  • Recognised as one of the world’s top 100 international arbitration practices by the Global Arbitration Review for 7 years.[16]
  • Recipient of Restructuring Deal of the Year Awards at the IFLR Asia Awards 2016[17]
  • Named “National Law Firm of the Year – Singapore” and “Best Domestic Arbitration Firm of the Year” at the Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2015[18]
  • Named Singapore Firm of the Year 2014 for Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Singapore Firm of the Year 2014 for Corporate and M&A; Singapore Firm of the Year 2014 for Projects and Project Financing; Singapore Firm of the Year 2014 for Antitrust/Competition; and Most Responsive Domestic Firm of the Year award, Singapore.[19]
  • Named Singapore Firm of the Year 2013 for Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Singapore Firm of the Year 2013 for Taxation; and Most Responsive Domestic Firm of the Year award, Singapore.[20]
  • Named “Singapore National Law Firm of the Year” at the Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2012.[21]
  • Awarded “Legal Aid Bureau Best Contribution from Law Firm Award 2012 (Large Firm – Silver Award)” by the Ministry of Law for recognition of Pro Bono contribution. Drew & Napier was the only law firm to receive an award in the ‘Large-Firm’ category.[22]
  • Restructuring & Insolvency practice ranked in the top tier in the 2015/2016 Edition of IFLR1000 while the Capital Markets, Banking & Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions and Energy & Infrastructure groups were named as leading practices.[23]

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)[edit]

As part of the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility & Pro Bono Legal Services programme, Drew & Napier lawyers offer complimentary legal advice at legal clinics, assist charities and non-profit organisation with their registration procedures, agreements and other legal matters, and also act on legal matters for accused individuals without means.

The firm also supports children’s charities. Lawyers and staff have sponsored, organised and attended activities for 8 children’s homes and charities since the year 2000.

Drew was named the “Best Contribution from Law Firm Award” by the Legal Aid Bureau in 2012, 2014 and 2016 and received the ‘Impact Award’ at Trustlaw Awards 2014.[24]


  1. ^ Grace So (4 February 2016). "Big Four continue to sweep top law rankings". The Business Times. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Chambers Asia-Pacific > Drew & Napier LLC". Chambers and Partners. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "IFLR 1000 > Drew & Napier LLC". International Financial Law Review (IFLR) 1000. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "The Legal 500 > Drew & Napier LLC". The Legal 500. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  5. ^ CHIN, YONG CHANG (10 August 2017). "How S'pore's oldest firms stay relevant". The Business Times. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  6. ^ "Our Senior Counsel". Drew & Napier. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  7. ^ "Drew & Napier - Our Expertise". Drew & Napier LLC. 
  8. ^ Sharp, Ilsa (1990). The History of Drew & Napier, 1889-1989. Singapore: International Press Co (Pte) Ltd, Drew & Napier
  9. ^ "Southeast Asia Law Awards 2017". Asian Legal Business. 
  10. ^ ALB Southeast Asia Law Awards 2017, Asian Legal Business, 18 May 2017.
  11. ^ ALB Innovation List 2016, Asian Legal Business, 24 March 2016.
  12. ^ ALB Employer of Choice 2017, Asian Legal Business, 8 May 2017.
  13. ^ Managing IP Global Awards 2016: The Winners, Managing Intellectual Property, 11 March 2016.
  14. ^ Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific Rankings 2017, Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific>Drew & Napier LLC,.
  15. ^ The Asia Pacific Legal 500 Rankings, The Legal 500 > Drew & Napier LLC > Singapore > What we say, 9 November 2015.
  16. ^ GAR 100 - 10th Edition, Global Arbitration Review, 1 January 2017.
  17. ^ IFLR Asia Awards 2016, International Financial Law Review (IFLR), 3 March 2016.
  18. ^ Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2015, Asialaw Profiles, 24 September 2015.
  19. ^ Asian-Mena Counsel’s Firms of the Year 2014, Asian-MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Counsel, 18 September 2014.
  20. ^ Asian-Mena Counsel’s Firms of the Year 2013, Asian-MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Counsel, 18 September 2013.
  21. ^ Chambers and Partners Asia Pacific Awards 2012, Chambers and Partners, 29 February 2012.
  22. ^ Legal Aid Bureau Best Contribution from Law Firm Award, Ministry of Law, Singapore, 18 October 2012.
  23. ^ IFLR 1000>Drew & Napier firm profile, International Financial Law Review (IFLR), Retrieved 1 September March 2016.
  24. ^ "TrustLaw Awards 2014". Thomson Reuters Foundation News. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 

External links[edit]