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Law firm Clyde & Co adds new partners Jon Howes, Sean Hardy to regional construction team

Jon Howes.jpg
Jon Howes (pictured) will join Clyde & Co as joint head of Asia-Pacific infrastructure, together with Sean Hardy who will be a partner at Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore.

CLYDE & Co has made two key partner hires to its South-east Asia construction team based in Singapore, the global law firm told The Business Times on Wednesday.

Jonathan Howes will be joint head of Asia-Pacific infrastructure, while Sean Hardy will be a partner of Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore. The Singapore office operates through a joint law venture with Clasis LLC.

Both Mr Howes and Mr Hardy are joining from Pinsent Masons MPillay LLP.

Their new roles will commence by the end of the year, although the start dates have not been finalised, according to a Clyde & Co spokesman.

The firm is looking to build the region’s leading construction and infrastructure team, said David McElveney, current joint head of Asia-Pacific infrastructure at Clyde & Co.

Its construction team works across all sectors, specialising in the infrastructure space and also servicing clients in the residential, commercial and hospitality sectors.

The two new appointments are part of Clyde & Co’s strategic objective to capitalise on the growth potential of the construction sector in Asia.

“Asia-Pacific is set to be the fastest-growing infrastructure market for the foreseeable future, and claims and disputes are an inevitable part of an industry where big money is involved and margins are tight,” Mr McElveney told BT.

Disputes may arise from a range of causes – such as project delays, cost blowouts, non-payment, geopolitical risk and changing market conditions such as fluctuations in commodities prices and the real estate market.

“They are common in all sectors, but we are seeing massive disputes mainly in the areas of transport, energy and resources,” Mr McElveney said.

Mr Howes has considerable experience in dispute resolution in the construction and engineering sectors, and in professional negligence actions for and against construction professionals. He specialises in domestic and international arbitrations, mediation, adjudication and expert determination.

Meanwhile, Mr Hardy is seen as a “rising star” in the field, Clyde & Co said. He is an arbitration specialist with a focus on the infrastructure, construction and energy sectors. Mr Hardy has advised on major projects in the Asia-Pacific region, including power stations, jack-up rigs, pipelines, ports, petrochemical and water treatment plants, tunnels, railways, roads and airports.

Clyde & Co has a strong reputation in dealing with disputes in emerging markets, or what are dubbed “difficult cases in difficult places”, Mr McElveney said.

“But, while we are experienced in handling disputes, a major focus is always on assisting clients in managing risk and resolving issues before they turn contentious,” he added.

In Singapore, Clyde & Co has represented a major construction company in arbitrations commenced against the main contractor in a condominium project, claiming costs of variation works and prolongation costs incurred, the firm’s spokesman told BT.

It also acted for various contractors in adjudications under the Singapore Security of Payment Act.

Through Clasis LLC, its lawyers have represented contractors, consultants and management corporation strata titles (MCSTs) in various local litigation proceedings, including claims for professional negligence and defects in strata developments.

MCSTs are the managing bodies of strata developments in Singapore, which include condominiums, shopping malls and industrial facilities with multiple owners.

Within the region, Clyde & Co has represented an Indonesian state-owned engineering and construction company in multiple related arbitrations, as well as acted for international contractors in transactional and regional arbitration matters arising from rail and metro projects in South-east Asia.

With over 150 infrastructure lawyers across six continents, the law firm’s global projects and construction team provides transactional and contentious legal services to some of the most high-profile and complex infrastructure projects in the world.

In Asia-Pacific, the firm saw a 12.6 per cent fee growth over 2018-19.

Headquartered in London, Clyde & Co specialises in the transport, infrastructure, energy, trade and commodities, and insurance sectors.