Qualifications

  • LL.B. (Hons), National University of Singapore (2008), Shaw Foundation Scholar
  • LL.M. International Arbitration & Litigation, University College London (2009)
  • B.Sc. (1st Class Hons) Politics & International Relations, London School of Economics, External (2006)
  • Advocate & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore (2011)
  • Attorney-at-law of the state of New York (2011)
  • Solicitor of England & Wales (2013)
  • International Lawyer, Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (2013)
  • Acc. Spec. (Building & Construction), Singapore Academy of Law
  • Chairman, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Young Members Group

Mahesh has an active litigation and arbitration practice with a particular focus on complex, high-value and cross-border disputes across a range of industries (construction, infrastructure, telecommunications, IT, shipping, energy and commodities). He is also the Deputy Head of our Construction & Engineering practice and advises on front-end construction matters.

Mahesh commands praise for being “a first-rate litigator”, “an excellent disputes lawyer and a master strategist with a deserved reputation for solving complex issues” and a lawyer who “is quick on his feet, pays attention to detail and is clear and concise in his explanations”. He is consistently ranked in several publications. Mahesh is ranked in both Chambers Asia-Pacific and Chambers Global for Dispute Resolution: Arbitration (2022 edition). The Legal 500 Asia Pacific recommends Mahesh for Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Projects & Energy, White-Collar Crime and Construction (2022 edition). He is recognised as Asia's Super 50 Disputes Lawyers by ALB in 2021 and 2022. Mahesh is recommended by Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific for Construction (2022 edition). He won the Young Lawyer of the Year Award at the Asian Legal Business (ALB) SE Asia Law Awards 2019. He is ranked as a Future Leader in Arbitration by Who’s Who Legal from 2020 to 2022 and a Future Leader in Investigations from 2018 to 2021, and by the Global Arbitration Review in 2016. Asialaw ranked him as a Leading Lawyer in Dispute Resolution & Litigation in 2017 and 2018. ALB identified Mahesh as an outstanding young lawyer in the “40 under 40” survey in 2018 and the Singapore Business Review selected Mahesh as one of the most influential lawyers under 40 in 2017.

In 2014, Mahesh was selected by the Supreme Court to be placed in the Young Amicus Curiae list and he appeared as amicus curiae in a High Court matter involving money laundering.

Mahesh’s experience also includes stints at two ‘magic circle’ barristers’ chambers, Fountain Court Chambers (as a Singapore Academy of Law Scholar) and Essex Court Chambers (as the first winner of the Essex Court Singapore moots), where he worked on complex commercial litigation and arbitration matters.

Mahesh graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a Shaw Foundation Scholar. He earned an LL.M. in International Arbitration & Litigation from University College London (UCL) where he represented the United Kingdom as an oralist in the UCL team that was the runner-up in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

For his pro bono work and increasing access to justice, Mahesh was highlighted as one of Asia-Pacific’s Innovative Lawyers at The Financial Times’ annual FT Innovative Lawyers Asia-Pacific 2018 awards. He was also shortlisted for the 2018 IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for his pro bono representation of accused persons facing the death penalty in Singapore and civil party victims before the United Nations Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Mahesh has handled various high profile matters. Here are just a few:

  1. Construction dispute over Asia’s largest petrochemical plant  Representing a Korean multinational conglomerate in an UNCITRAL arbitration against an Indian state-owned company over claims amounting to US$210 million arising out of the construction of a petrochemical plant.

  2. Arbitration against the Government of Maldives   Represented  an international contractor in two UNCITRAL arbitrations against the Government of Maldives for claims amounting to over US$155 million relating to expropriation of land and delays to a project to construct public housing over 10 islands.

  3. Maritime accident in the South China Sea  Represented a €6 billion Norwegian company in a US$20 million maritime arbitration, where Swiss law and Chinese law applied, against a Chinese public-listed company for project delays arising from a tug and tow accident in the South China Sea. The dispute involved issues of seaworthiness of vessels, obligations under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 and gross negligence.

  4. Disputes over the design, installation and operation of a nationwide telecommunications network  Represented a leading multinational information technology and telecommunication company in two SIAC arbitrations against the telecommunication of a Malaysian conglomerate over contractual disputes relating to the design, commissioning and operation of a telecommunication network, and the supply of hardware and software.

  5. Litigation involving SEA’s largest pipe trading company  Representing the Managing Director and a shareholder of Southeast Asia’s largest oil pipe trading company in a complex S$100 million dispute resulting in 5 suits involving 7 sets of solicitors.

Chambers Asia-Pacific

Dispute Resolution: Arbitration - Singapore 2022 – Band 5

"Mahesh Rai is very clever and well versed with the law. An excellent advocate who would have thoroughly mastered the case by the time one is at the hearing, he is very user-friendly as well."

Chambers Global

Dispute Resolution: Arbitration - Singapore 2022 – Band 5

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific

Dispute Resolution 2022 – Next Generation Partner for 3 consecutive years

International Arbitration 2022 – Next Generation Partner for 3 consecutive years; Recommended lawyer in 2019

Projects & Energy 2022 – Recommended lawyer for 4 consecutive years

White-Collar Crime 2022 – Recommended lawyer for 2 consecutive years

Construction 2022 – Recommended lawyer for 2 consecutive years

“Mahesh Rai’s in-depth knowledge of construction law was very evident in the initial meeting of the arbitration dispute – which was key in convincing the client to move forward with the arbitration case. He was able to give a clear picture and an accurate timeline of how the case would proceed all the while giving constant updates on the progress of the case.”

“Highly recommend Mahesh Rai. He fits the firm’s profile of being efficient and excellent at advocacy. Would not be surprised if he becomes the next and youngest senior counsel.”

“Mahesh Rai provides good input based on his vast experience and commercial knowledge of the industry.”.

“Mahesh Rai is highly regarded for construction and engineering disputes”

Sources say “Mahesh Rai was always on top of every aspect of the dispute, nothing could slip away from him. His strategic advice and sound reasoning were key in developing and framing claim.”

“wonderfully engaging to deal with and has an incredibly relaxed manner”

The Joseph Grimberg Outstanding Young Advocate Award 2021 
Winner of the annual award instituted by the Singapore Academy of Law and Drew & Napier which recognises young lawyers in good standing who exhibit professional excellence, service to the profession and the bar; service to the community; and/or a reputation for or the advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility. The award also recognises lawyers who demonstrate the same professional excellence and high ethical standards that Mr Grimberg embodied.

Asian Legal Business Asia Super 50 Disputes Lawyers 2022

Recognised as being amongst the top 50 disputes lawyers in the region for 2 consecutive years

A client rates Mahesh as “top of the class”, while another adds: “Working with Mahesh and his team has been seamless from start to finish. As soon as Mahesh stepped in, our long-standing dispute got resolved in no time.”

Rated “10/10” by a client, Mahesh is lauded for working “that extra 10 percent to ensure all bases are covered, and was always three steps ahead of the defendant in my High Court litigation”.

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific

Construction 2022 – Future Star 

Asian Legal Business SE Asia Law Awards 2019

Young Lawyer of the Year – Mahesh Rai

Asian Legal Business

Identified as one of 40 bright legal minds in the region under the age of 40 – “40 Under 40 list” (October 2018 issue)

Financial Times Innovative Lawyers APAC 2018 awards 

Mahesh was commended for his commitment to pro bono advocacy, highlighting his work with HOME (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics) and AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research) that led him to challenge laws that disadvantage migrant and refugee workers.

Who’s Who Legal

Future Leaders
Ranked as an eminent lawyer under 45 in the respective fields:

Global Guide: Arbitration (2020 to 2022 editions)
Global Guide: Investigations (2018 to 2021 editions)

National Guide: Southeast Asia - Arbitration 2021 – Recommended Lawyer

Mahesh Rai impresses as “one of Singapore’s best dispute resolution specialists”, with peers commending his “expertise in construction disputes” and “strong pipeline of arbitration work across the Asia-Pacific region”.

Mahesh Rai is a “sensational lawyer” who “has built a strong practice” in corporate investigations.

"Mahesh is a bright up-and-comer in the investigations space".

Mahesh "is always keen to think out of the box” applaud sources who commend his “great industry knowledge and level of responsiveness”.

Mahesh Rai is "truly a leader in this area"…He provides specialist insight into disputes in the telecommunications and energy sectors.

“Mahesh is quick on his feet, pays attention to detail and is clear and concise in his explanations.”

Global Investigations Review 100 (GIR 100) 5th edition (2019)

Recognised as a leading individual for investigations. The GIR 100 identifies top 100 firms worldwide that handle complex cross-border government-led and internal investigations.

Asialaw Leading Lawyers

Dispute Resolution & Litigation 2018 – Leading lawyer for 2 consecutive years 

“Deep understanding of Singapore law and appreciation of practical problems in multijurisdiction litigations.”

“Strong knowledge of Indian laws.”

Sources say Mahesh “demonstrates commitment and responsiveness to queries at all hours. A very driven individual who has sensible commercial solutions. A capable lawyer who delivers results we ask for.”

“Mahesh is a first-rate litigator with a good eye for detail. He grasps issues quickly, was accessible and was excellent in providing commercial solutions to our problems.”

“Mahesh is an excellent disputes lawyer and a master strategist with a deserved reputation for solving complex issues. He was very user friendly, commercially-minded and was one of the best lawyers my company has worked with.”

“To the point discussion. In-depth knowledge of the matter and the industry. Hands-on related to the approach and strategy.”

“The level of legal advice and general client service that I received while working with Mahesh Rai's team was outstanding. My queries were answered promptly and with great attention to detail. Not only did the team closely monitor the progress of the settlement discussions, but it had also taken it upon itself to supervise and check the drafts that came back from the Indonesian law firm instructed by us to advise on Indonesian law queries pertaining to the transaction. Our management and I have been very pleased with the standard of service received from D&N.”

Global Arbitration Review 9th edition (2016)

A client said Mahesh “expressed a commendable level of personal engagement and was always available to provide support, guidance and direction from start to end.”

Asia Business Law Journal

Identified as one of Singapore’s Top 100 lawyers 2019

Singapore Business Review

Singapore’s 70 most influential lawyers aged 40 and under in 2016 – Listed lawyer

Excellence in Advocacy Award (2012)

Awarded by the Singapore International Arbitration Academy

Winner of Essex Court Chambers-Singapore Academy of Law Moot Competition for Singapore lawyers (2012)

  • Co-author, International Comparative Legal Guide – Construction & Engineering Law 2021 (Singapore chapter)
  • Expert author, Commonwealth Study on International Commercial Arbitration 2019
  • Co-author, The Legal 500 Country Comparative Guide – Litigation 2021 (Singapore chapter)
  • Co-author, Chambers and Partners Global Practice Guides – Litigation 2019 (Singapore chapter)
  • Contributing author, Global Investigations Review, The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations 2017 and 2018 (1st and 2nd edition)
  • Contributing author, Global Investigations Review’s Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations (Edition 2) newsletter (2018)
  • Contributing author, ‘FIDIC around the world – Singapore’, appeared in the 2017 Construction Law International Vol.12 Issue 3; published by the International Bar Association.
  • Contributor to Singapore Civil Procedure (2014 (Supplement) & 2015)
  • Director, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Singapore Branch
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
  • Panel Arbitrator, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Reserve Panel
  • Arbitrator, Asian International Arbitration Centre Panel
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Thailand Arbitration Centre (THAC)
  • Assessor, Panel of Assessors for COVID-19 Temporary Relief, Ministry of Law
  • Accredited Specialist (Building and Construction), Singapore Academy of Law
  • Chairman, CIArb Young Members Group
  • Former Regional Representative, ICC Young Arbitrators Forum 2017-2019
  • Member, Young International Arbitration Group
  • Member, Young International Council for Commercial Arbitration
  • Member, Inter-Pacific Bar Association
  • Member, International Bar Association
  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Committee Member, International Relations Committee of Law Society of Singapore
  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law
  • Lead Counsel, Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences