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Withers KhattarWong appoints Shashi Nathan and Daniel Yong Joint Managing Partners, succeeding Deborah Barker, SC | Singapore

11 March 2024 | Applicable law: Singapore | 8 minute read

Withers KhattarWong, the Singapore office of international law firm Withersworldwide, announced today that Deborah Barker, SC, will be stepping down as the firm's Managing Partner.

Photo of Shashi Nathan and Daniel Yong

Shashi Nathan, Partner and Head of the Singapore White Collar Defence and Investigations Practice, and Daniel Yong, Partner and Head of the Singapore Funds Practice, will take over the helm as Joint Managing Partners effective 31 March.

The appointment of Nathan and Yong coincides with the firm's 50th anniversary celebration, marked by several initiatives to give back to the community. 

Their appointments also underscore Withers KhattarWong's success in integrating into Withers' international legal network while still maintaining its strong Singapore branding and leadership in local law. Reflecting this are the two Managing Partners’ solid credentials in their respective Singapore and international practices. 

Experienced leaders

Nathan is one of Singapore's leading white-collar and serious crime lawyers, with over 30 years of experience. He regularly advises clients on issues ranging from fraud and corruption to insider trading and market manipulation. Nathan is frequently recognised in global legal publications, including Who's Who Legal, Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific Guide and Doyle's Guide

Nathan said, "It is a privilege to step into this role alongside Daniel. Deborah has been an extraordinary leader, having propelled Withers KhattarWong to success over the years. Building on this strong foundation, I am committed to steering our team towards new opportunities, embracing innovation, and ensuring our clients continue to receive the best legal solutions. Central to my vision is the emphasis on growth and the cultivation of emerging legal talent."

Yong's expertise in investment funds, cross-border private equity and M&A transactions has earned him recognition from the Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide. Throughout his practice years across various international firms, Yong has managed complex fund formation and cross-border investment mandates in the region, including Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India and China. 

Yong said: "I am humbled and honoured to step into this new role with the benefit of the valuable insights gleaned from Deborah's exceptional leadership. Together with Shashi, I will continue to pursue strategic growth and innovation at Withers KhattarWong. Our clients and our people are important to us and we will endeavour to provide them with our best service and care.

"We will explore strategic partnerships in overseas markets like Indonesia, Vietnam and India. In doing so, we aim to cultivate relationships that enhance the value we bring to our clients." 

Celebrating Deborah Barker, SC's, contribution

Barker, SC, became one of the first female Managing Partners of a major law firm in Singapore when she took over leadership of KhattarWong in 2014. In the same year, she led discussions for a formal alliance with Withers, which led to the formation of Withers KhattarWong. 

A pioneer in the legal world, Barker, SC, was one of the first few women to be appointed SC in 2001. Under her leadership, Withers KhattarWong grew its regional footprint while maintaining a leading position in key practices in its home market. The firm's revenues and profits rose significantly during her 10-year tenure as Managing Partner. Barker, SC, will continue her litigation and arbitration practice as a partner with the firm.

Reflecting on her time at the helm, Barker, SC, said, "Serving as the Managing Partner at Withers KhattarWong for over a decade has been a profound honour. It has been a journey filled with growth, challenges and triumphs. With a great sense of pride, I now entrust the leadership of the practice to Shashi and Daniel and am confident that they will continue to build on this momentum and steer Withers KhattarWong into its next phase of growth." 

Margaret Robertson, Global CEO of Withersworldwide, added, "I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Deborah for her unwavering dedication to Withers KhattarWong. Her tireless efforts and commitment to legal excellence embody the values that make the firm thrive. This is an exciting new chapter led by Shashi and Daniel. With their fresh perspectives and strategic vision, I believe they will embrace emerging challenges, and continue to bridge the local and global aspects of the firm's operations."

Marking Withers KhattarWong's 50th anniversary

As part of the firm's 50th anniversary celebrations, Withers KhattarWong will announce a series of initiatives throughout the year in line with its theme of celebrating success and shaping the future. These include:

  • Launching the inaugural Withers KhattarWong Future Female Leaders Award in partnership with the Singapore Management University. The programme aims to support young women in the legal field with opportunities for growth, mentorship and professional development. This pioneering initiative aligns with the firm's long history of championing female leadership, with women making up 45% of the Withers partnership globally.
  • Pledging 1,000 hours of pro bono legal services and CSR activities in Singapore. This commitment underscores the firm's dedication to giving back to the community and providing access to justice for those in need.
  • Moving to a new open-concept office designed for mobile working at 18 Cross Street in February 2024. 
  • Rolling out an alumni programme aimed at nurturing lasting connections with former members of the firm. 

These initiatives underscore the firm's enduring commitment to its clients, the community, and the advancement of the legal profession.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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