• LL.B. (Hons), National University of Singapore (2006)
  • Admitted to the Singapore Bar in May 2007

Rakesh is the Chief Technology Officer of Drew & Napier. He has an active practice in complex commercial dispute resolution, including litigation and arbitration. He is engaged in appellate and trial advocacy at all levels of the Singapore Courts and also advises on risk management and disputes concerning technology, electronic evidence, employment, compliance with technology-related regulatory issues and cybersecurity.

He has extensive skills and knowledge in the information technology field and manages the interface between legal and technological issues for clients, regulators, judges and arbitrators.

The clients he has advised include various multi-national corporations, multi-jurisdictional private equity funds and listed companies both in Singapore and other jurisdictions.

As a student, Rakesh was a speaker on the winning team that represented NUS in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition Asia-Pacific Regional Rounds in Sydney, Australia, in April 2005 and went on to represent NUS at the World Finals in Fukuoka, Japan in October 2005 where he appeared before members of the International Court of Justice. He was also the winner of the Law Society Prize for the Best Student in Advocacy in the Postgraduate Practical Law Course in 2006.

Rakesh also teaches advocacy and coaches moot teams at the NUS Law Faculty on a voluntary basis.

  1. Lead counsel in a 2017 ICC arbitration in London in a claim by a Chinese state-owned entity against an African counterparty for dispute over a seismic data acquisition contract.

  2. Successfully defended a High Court claim against Performance Motors Ltd by a customer in respect of allegations of a defective BMW car. The claim was successfully dismissed in the High Court. (Chan Chee Kien v Performance Motors Ltd [2015] SGHC 54)

  3. Represented a group of investment companies in an arbitration brought by its information technologies contractor over the failed deployment of its IT systems in a failed joint venture project.

  4. Advised insurance majors on compliance with Singapore cybersecurity law in offering cybersecurity services and compliance with Monetary Authority of Singapore technology regulations.

  5. Advised an acted for a company listed on the Singapore Exchange on a dispute with its technology service provider concerning migration issues to a new platform. 
  6. Advised a major financial institution on regulatory and risk issues arising out of a significant ransomware attack.

  7. Successfully acted for a distributor of Caterpillar equipment in a multi-million dollar claim against a buyer who refused to take delivery of ordered equipment. (Tractors Singapore Ltd v Pacific Ocean Engineering & Trading Pte Ltd [2020] SGHC 60)

  8. Successfully defended a majority shareholder in an up-and-coming commodities trading firm against an action for minority oppression. (Ronnie See Eng Siong v Sassax Pte Ltd & Anor [2020] SGHC 96)

  9. Successfully acted for liquidators in resisting an application by creditors claiming security over substantial assets in the Company in liquidation. (Aavanti Offshore Pte Ltd (in creditors’ voluntary liquidation) v BAB Al Khail General Trading and Anor [2020] SGHC 50)

  10. Advised a major financial institution on risk and regulatory issues arising out of the roll-out of a new app.

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific

Labour and Employment 2023 – Recommended lawyer
Dispute Resolution 2021 – Recommended lawyer
International Arbitration 2021 – Recommended lawyer

“Rakesh Kirpalani listens well then offers clear and lucid advice.”

“Rakesh Kirpalani provides expertise in technology-related employment disputes.”

Rakesh Kirpalani is a “fantastic litigator” in the realm of technology and intellectual property.

He is “a person of integrity and he always provides wise, deliberate, and prompt advice.”

“He is proficient both in English and Chinese, which makes very smooth, thorough, and clear communication. Furthermore, he is skilled in debate and has a clear mind and a wide range of knowledge.”

He “thinks very fast in the courtroom and is not fazed by any curve ball thrown at him in court.”

“Rakesh Kirpalani is an excellent lawyer as he is very detailed. Goes the extra mile to provide prompt advice when time is of the essence.”

ALB Asia Super 50 Disputes Lawyers
Recognised as being amongst the top 50 disputes lawyers in the region in 2022

A client praises Rakesh for being “prompt, clear and concise with his advice”.

“Rakesh is able to distil the issues quickly and provide timely advice.”

ALB Asia Super 50 TMT Lawyer 2023
Listed as one of the standout lawyers in the field of TMT in the region by Asian Legal Business for 3 consecutive years

Rakesh was commended by a client for his “unique ability to straddle both the tech and legal space”. “He is very sharp and is able to identify potential risks and liabilities in novel issues that are caused by emerging technology. He is able to ensure that our leaders can fully comprehend and appreciate the issue, all the while remaining professional and ethical. Rakesh's grasp and understanding of the local TMT landscape never fails to assure us that we are guided by one of the best in the market.”

A client commended Rakesh saying, “Rakesh was a safe pair of hands in navigating the technical issues and provided sound advice on which we were able to reach a good outcome and resolution on the matter on which we were working”.

"Rakesh is fast, practical and solution-basesd with the ability to achieve a good response combining technical knowledge and legal ability". 

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific (2022 edition)

“Rakesh communicates well both in English and Chinese and always provides feedback promptly. He is familiar with our industry and is quick to get the points and concerns from us.”

“Commercial-minded, practical legal solutions. Keen understanding of clients' business needs and challenges. Thorough analysis and balanced judgment on novel issues, including useful comparisons with legal reform efforts in other common law jurisdictions.”

Asialaw Leading Lawyers
Dispute Resolution 2023 – Distinguished Practitioner

“Rakesh is fluent in both English and Chinese and quite familiar with our industry practice, and works in a highly effective way. He always bestows skilful and valuable advice.”

“He is a very detailed person.”

“Very dynamic and thoughtful lawyer. Takes the time to listen and understand the problem. He proposes solutions that follow the law and have a high chance of success.”

“Prompt, effective and driven.”

“Harding working. Very Smart. Excellent communication.”

“Solid guy. Result-driven and thinks out of the box.”

“Highly responsive, professional, effective and timely.”

“Good option provided, proactive, and problem solver.”

Global Arbitration Review 9th edition (2016)
A client praised Rakesh for his “professional and efficient service".

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

  • Assessor, Panel of Assessors for COVID-19 Temporary Relief, Ministry of Law
  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law
  • Member, ICC Singapore Enrichment SubCommittee
  • Honorary Legal Counsel, Cyber Youth Singapore
  • Industry Reviewer, LawTech.Asia's Associate Authorship Programme
  • Co-author, “Service by airdrop – no parachutes required” (Drewtech Series Chapter 10, 7 July 2022)
  • “Of blockchains and stumbling blocks” (Drewtech Series Chapter 9, 21 July 2021)
  • “New risks in new skins – Updates to the Guidelines on Risk Management – Technology Risk “ (Drewtech Series Chapter 8, 3 March 2021)
  • “My Kingdom for a Horse – When your Systems are Held to Ransom” (Drewtech Series Chapter 7, 22 January 2021)
  • “Signing without signing — Contactless contracts” (Drewtech Series Chapter 6, 16 July 2020)
  • “Bringing hygiene online — The MAS Notice on cyber hygiene” (Drewtech Series Chapter 5, 28 April 2020)
  • “Diabolus Ex Machina - Artificial (Un)intelligence and Liability” (Drewtech Series Chapter 4, 18 February 2020)
  • “I Host, You Post, I Get Sued?” (Drewtech Series Chapter 3, 24 September 2019)
  • Bring Your Own Device programmes are a win-win, but do the groundwork (The Business Times, 12 July 2019)
  • “Employees, Technology And A Legal Hangover – Bring Your Own Problems?” (Drewtech Series Chapter 2, 4 June 2019)
  • “The Importance Of An Exit Strategy In Technology Contracts” (Drewtech Series Chapter 1, 6 March 2019)
  • Co-author, Chambers and Partners Global Practice Guides – Litigation 2019 (Singapore chapter)
  • Co-author, “Presentation of Computer Forensic Evidence”, appeared in the 2012 International Conference on Electronic Litigation, published by the Singapore Academy of Law