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Asia Business Law Journal reveals Indonesia’s best private practice lawyers. Wilda Fong reports

To be one of Indonesia’s top lawyers, you have to be “professional, fast and [provide] advice that makes sense,” according to Moses Lo, co-founder and CEO of Xendit, when describing Freddy Karyadi, a partner at ABNR.

“[Freddy] has been the best lawyer we’ve come across in this country and we’ve worked with quite a few,” he adds.

Kim Huat Chia, regional head, corporate and transactional practice at Rajah & Tann in Singapore, says you need to “have very good connections in Indonesia, apart from being an accomplished lawyer … provide practical legal advice, and help to expedite closing of transactions”, when describing Chandra Martha Hamzah, partner of Assegaf Hamzah & Partners.

“[He] has outstanding knowledge in the finance and power sector,” says Heidi Panjaitan, head of the legal department at Toba Sejahtra in Indonesia, when describing Vincent Ariesta Lie, partner at Makarim & Taira S.

Comments such as these, submitted to Asia Business Law Journal by the clients of Indonesian lawyers, suggest that they not only look for lawyers with an extensive knowledge of the law, but also those who have skills to communicate using non-legal jargon, and who have a wide network, and business acumen to sense that time is of the essence when it comes to deal closures.

In addition, most international clients seek out Indonesia lawyers who have international experience and mindset.

Spotlighting the individual

Indonesia’s complex legal landscape makes it imperative for both domestic and international businesses to seek legal assistance when navigating the regulatory environment. The Indonesian legal market continues to be one where clients seek out good lawyers, rather than good law firms. Perhaps this is because of the respect and trust individual lawyers have built and nurtured in lawyer-client relationships, and more importantly, their reputation by name, which far outweighs their firm’s brand name or firm size, factors that are predominant in more developed jurisdictions.

It is against this backdrop that Asia Business Law Journal presents its A-list of the top 100 lawyers (including foreign legal consultants/advisers/counsel) practising in Indonesia (see the list of all 100 lawyers and the key practice areas for which they are endorsed). The list is based on extensive research conducted and nominations received from in-house counsel around the world, and Indonesian-focused partners at international law firms.

Nearly all of the A-list lawyers are located in central Jakarta. This may reflect the premium on lawyers who are well placed to have their ear to the ground with regard to developments among the financial and sector-specific regulators, and within the corridors of power in government.

As would be expected, the heads of Indonesia’s top law firms are on the A-list. These include Tony Budidjaja, senior partner of Budidjaja International Lawyers, who is described by Richard Kimber, principal of Norman Waterhouse Lawyers in Australia, as a “very experienced disputes resolution and international trade lawyer in the Asia-Pacific region”.

Also making the list is Eddy Leks, managing partner of Leks & Co, described by Aldo Fajar, head of research and innovation at L’Oreal (Indonesia) as “a specialist in property law … very professional and reliable [providing] excellent service quality”.

Singing high praises

A-list lawyer Andi Walli, managing partner of Andi & Law, received praise from Nanda Juwita, senior legal personnel at Cipta Integra Duta, a leading insurance broker in Indonesia, who says, “[Andi] is a full package high-quality lawyer, high skills, manner, integrity and professionalism, yet easy going”.

Azman Jaafar, deputy managing partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing in Singapore, has this to say about Al Hakim Hanafiah, partner of Hanafiah Ponggawa & Partners: “Having worked with Pak Al personally, I have experienced his ability to provide his clients with unparalleled industry insights and innovative solutions for their legal needs.” He adds his dedication to solving issues for his clients is unparalleled: “I especially value his ability to simplify a complicated legal issue and communicate the salient points to a client without the legal jargon that non-legal professionals tend to get lost in.”

A-list women lawyers

Not to be outshone by their male peers, a good portion of the A-list was filled by Indonesia’s leading women lawyers including: Rosna Chung, partner at Hutabarat Halim & Rekan, who leads her firm’s banking and finance, capital markets and securities practice groups; Ira Eddymurthy, partner of SSEK Legal Consultants who recently participated in the inaugural US-Indonesia Women’s CEO Summit to discuss ways to increase the number of women in leadership positions in the private sector; Hanim Hamzah, the regional managing partner of the ZICOlaw network, who has around 20 years of regional practice experience and also guest lectures at leading Indonesian universities; Arfidea Saraswati, founding partner of Akset, who is recognized throughout the region as an expert on Indonesian mining law; Tasdikiah Siregar, partner of TNB & Partners, who is recognised as one of Indonesia’s leading women in business law, with a practice focusing on banking and finance including aviation and shipping finance; and Linda Widyati, partner of boutique law firm Linda Widyati & Pusponegoro, with more than 25 years of experience in corporate/M&A.

Team excellence

Even as we celebrate individual lawyers, it is important that clients routinely seek out lawyers who have strong teams around them. For instance, A-list lawyer Agus Ahadi Deradjat, a partner at ABNR, and his team are lauded by John Mansfield, vice president of strategic development at CTC Global Corp, who says his company successfully established a manufacturing joint venture in Indonesia and “are proud to consider Agus and his colleagues at ABNR as part of [the] team that made this possible”.

Satisfied clients such as these are what make a lawyer or foreign legal consultant/counsel/adviser one of Indonesia’s top 100.

Compiling the A-List

The A-List is based on extensive research conducted by Asia Business Law Journal. For this we turned to thousands of in-house counsel in Indonesia and around the world, as well as Indonesian-focused partners at international law firms, and asked them to nominate private-practice lawyers including foreign legal consultants, advisers and counsel for the list of Indonesia’s top 100 lawyers.

Nominations were received from professionals at a wide range of Indonesian and international companies, law firms and other organizations, including: Alodokter, Amway, Bank Mandiri, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Edelman, Jemi Alberto Zachary & Partners, L’Oreal, Linklaters, Merck Sharp & Dohme, ORIX, Prasetiya Mulya University, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Rajah & Tann, Saipem, Sekar Wijaya, Telekomunikasi, Tilleke & Gibbins, Volvo Group Trucks Asia and ZICOlaw.

The final list reflects the nominations received combined with Asia Business Law Journal editorial team’s more than 30 years of collective experience in documenting and analysing Indonesia’s legal market.

All Indonesian private-practice lawyers were automatically eligible for inclusion in the nominations process and, as always, there were no fees or any other requirements for entry.

The names and photographs of all 100 A-list lawyers are published here. In addition, each A-list lawyer was given the opportunity to include their biography and contact details, for which a publishing fee was charged. It is important to note that while the compilation of the A-list was based solely on independent editorial research, the biographies and contact details that appear alongside many of the listings have been written by the participating lawyers and the content has not been independently verified by Asia Business Law Journal.