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Singapore Spotlight: Tahirah Ara

Posted on 18 June 2024

This article is part of our Singapore Spotlight series, profiling our lawyers based in our Singapore office. In the series, we find out about their backgrounds, their journey through law and hear why Singapore is important to them.

Tahirah is the firm's Managing Partner in Singapore and Head of Asia. She acts as lead counsel for her clients in cross-border M&A transactions, joint ventures and financing transactions including acquisition financings, receivables backed financings, high yield syndicated loans and debt restructurings.

I knew I wanted to get into law when…I was looking for a career that would be thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating. My application to law school was successful, and from there, the rest was history.

I chose transactional work after… I was exposed to several litigation and conveyancing matters during my pupillage. It was through this exposure that I found my true calling in transactional work, which has since been my professional focus.

The thing that motivates me most is… the advancement of clients’ commercial interests. Working on interesting transactions is not just about the deal itself, but also the opportunity to learn from clients, smart advisors and counterparties.

The work achievement I'm most proud of is… the PT Bumi Resources $4.5 billion debt restructuring with multiple lenders and bondholders. This award-winning transaction was the result of many years of hard work and represented a successful outcome for the client when it closed in 2017.

The thing that makes Singapore such an exciting place to be is… Singapore's role as a regional and global financial centre positions it at the heart of Southeast Asia and the world's financial activities.

One opportunity in this region… is the chance to travel. The region offers a balance between work and exploration, with many beautiful destinations within easy reach.

One thing I wish I knew when I started my career is… the importance of having clients that believe in you. It's vital to have clients who trust you enough to let you act and speak for them, which is a fundamental aspect of legal representation.

The future in my practice area looks like… it will involve more project finance. Indonesia, often dubbed the biggest invisible country, is the fourth most populous nation and is rapidly developing. With a youthful demographic compared to Europe and the US, we anticipate more private and public projects, particularly in energy, commodities, electric vehicles and infrastructure.

One thing you don't know about me is… I enjoy a good tearjerker movie! It's a wonderful way to unwind and experience a range of emotions outside of work.

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