New Co-chair of WLG Real Estate Group
WongPartnership LLP (Singapore)
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1. Briefly describe your practice.
My practice in real estate work spans 30 years. I am involved in all manner of property and property-related corporate transactions and investment work, including acquisitions, disposals, securitisations, management and leasing of commercial, industrial and residential properties and properties with mixed uses, property advisory work, property development and finance work and government land sales. My clients are major developers, foreign and local property funds, publicly listed and private real estate companies, financiers, government-linked companies and statutory bodies across various asset classes. Real estate work is exciting and challenging and requires understanding the particular real estate needs and requirements of clients, strategy to best advise solutions, giving necessary attention to details in the contracts and helping to negotiate the outcomes clients seek.
Our Real Estate Practice houses one of the largest talent pools of real estate lawyers in Singapore, and we are regularly called upon to handle large-scale and complex transactions. As Co-Head of the practice, I am particularly proud that we are known by leading legal journals for our high-calibre real estate work both in Singapore and the region and have the depth and breadth of experience to advise throughout the entire real estate life cycle.
2. You were recently named as a leader of WLG's Real Estate Group. Do you have any specific topics that you are looking forward to discussing?
Shared issues such as the impact of technology, AI, and talent management are not new and have been discussed in other forums. I am interested to hear discussions on these topics, specifically with regard to the Real Estate Practice and how our various member firms are dealing with these challenges.
In addition, I would like to encourage greater participation and networking in our Real Estate Group. As a start, for our October 19 meeting, we have encouraged senior lawyers from our member firms to bring junior lawyers to the group discussion. This will introduce our young lawyers to WLG and hopefully inspire them to join WLG’s various activities going forward.
3. Could you tell us about a recent client, marketing, or other collaboration with another WLG member firm?
We had a secondment arrangement with MinterEllison (Australia) recently. It was part of an exchange programme where we sent an associate from our Singapore office for secondment at MinterEllison in Melbourne. In turn, we had a lawyer from MinterEllison join our Singapore office. It was a wonderful opportunity for both our Singapore associate and our real estate team in Singapore to work with our Australian colleagues and have a better understanding of the real estate practice in Australia. Having a foreign lawyer work in our office certainly gave us valuable insight into the legal issues relating to Australian real estate transactions. We discovered that our practices are similar in numerous ways, and we have many things in common with our Australian friends even though we practice in different countries.
MinterEllison later held a Zoom presentation providing us with an overview of the legal landscape and issues regarding investment in Australian real estate. We are presently arranging to give a similar presentation to MinterEllison on the key issues relating to investment in Singapore real estate.
We certainly look forward to closer ties and opportunities to work together with our WLG colleagues.
|4. What do you recommend as a must-see or activity for visitors to Singapore?
Singapore, situated in Southeast Asia, has, in a short span of 58 years, grown from a developing independent nation to a first-world developed country. Visitors to our beautiful, clean and green island state will first be impressed with our award-winning Singapore Changi Airport (winner of the World's Best Airport in 2023 in the World Airport Awards held in Amsterdam) and the iconic landmark known as Jewel Changi Airport (a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex with the world's tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex).
Amidst Singapore's various attractions, I would definitely recommend a must-do – try our delicious and diverse food. Given our multi-racial and multi-cultural population, Singapore has been dubbed East meets West. As such, you will find all types of cuisine. We have Michelin-starred restaurants (55 in total for 2023), cafes and food outlets with mouth-watering creations by homegrown chefs as well as tasty and cheap hawker fare (some of which are Michelin Bib Gourmand winners). Singapore cuisine has flavours similar to Malay, Chinese and Indonesian food. Famous must-tries include Hainanese Chicken Rice, Satay, Roti Prata and Chilli Crab. I cannot speak enough about our scrumptious food. I welcome everyone to come and try them!