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01/22/07

After Singapore, Duane Morris now eyes Vietnam


Duane Morris opened office in Singapore, where it will concentrate on the areas of corporate finance, project finance, energy, cross-border transactions, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and telecommunications. Former Mexican Ambassador to Singapore and Duane Morris' New York-based partner since 2004, Eduardo Ramos-Gómez, will lead the Singapore office. He is well known in Singapore's business and government sectors.

Besides Ramos-Gómez, another five of prominent partners currently practicing in Singapore will join the new office. They are Rudy Lim, former partner at DLA Piper; Lian Yok Tan, former associate at White & Case; Chris Muessel, at present serving as a special counsel at Baker & McKenzie; Sandor E. Schick, former counsel at Shearman & Sterling; and Adam Summerly, former counsel at Jones Day. The firm also expects three to four more associates to join the firm shortly.

Singapore's flourishing free-market economy has seen rapid growth in recent years and the firm's new office in the region will place it among the top five U.S. firms in Singapore. The firm also envisages opening two offices in Vietnam, one in Hanoi, and the other in Ho Chi Minh City, this spring. This move will push the firm to become the second U.S.-based firms with offices in Vietnam. Douglas Woloshin, the architect behind the firm's Asian presence, will continue to look after the firm's interest in Singapore and Vietnam. He will also lead the firm's Project Finance Practice Group, a vital factor of the firm's Asian practice and also serves at the firm's Partners' Board.

With more than two decades of experience behind him, renowned international and corporate lawyer Ramos-Gómez, will advise multinational and foreign companies in Asia, North America, Europe and Latin America on cross-border direct foreign investment, project development and project finance. His practice encompasses a broad range of international investments, from M&As and securities, financing to infrastructure projects and other corporate transactions in the United States, Latin America, and Asia. Apart from this, he will also head the Latin America desk in the Singapore office.

Associate accuses giant firm of biasness
One of Sullivan & Cromwell's fourth-year associates filed a state lawsuit seeking a jury trial and compensation with penalizing damages. The associate alleged the firm of adopting a systematic discrimination and retaliation campaign against him because of his sexual orientation.

Filing the lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court Manhattan against the prominent law firm, Aaron Brett Charney leveled allegations that the firm's senior partners in M&A practice group since early 2005 subjected him to a series of "lewd and illegal conduct." Charney who will fight his own case, said that no other lawyers wanted to take on the law firm of this stature.

In his lawsuit, Charney denied accusations of his "alleged" gay affair with another of the firm's associate for which he was "sacked". Charney names eight of the firm's top-slot lawyers in his suit; notable among them is partner in the mergers practice Eric Krautheimer. Citing the firm's heavy-handedness towards him, Charney also stated that after he lodged a formal complaint with the firm's higher authorities, they began harassing him by transferring him to a foreign office on pretext of his over-billing firm's clients, etc. Though not formally sacked, Charney says he has been asked not to attend work till the firm completes its internal investigation on the matter.

On their part the firm denies all allegations leveled by its associate stating them as baseless. The firm's chairman, H. Rodgin Cohen, and another partner, David H. Braff (who has openly accepted his gay status), categorically denying the allegation said that the firm has a strong culture of acceptance and in fact fights for their equal rights.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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