Qualifications

Rakesh leads the Dispute Resolution & Information Technology practice at Drew & Napier. He is also 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. Defended a global financial services company which provided payment processing services in a claim for fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust and successfully discharged a freezing injunction against the same defendants (B High House International Pte Ltd v MCDP Phoenix Services Pte Ltd & anor [2023] SGHC 12).

  2. Defended an Indonesian pulp mill (part of the Sinar Mas group) in a claim brought against it by its Indian piping supplier in the construction of a pulp mill (Sunrise Industries (India) Ltd v PT OKI Pulp & Paper Mills & anor [2023] SGHC 3).

  3. Acted for a Chinese state-owned entity in a 2022 English law ICC arbitration in London against a Canadian listed company in the field of hydrocarbon exploration and oil speculation.

  4. Struck out a claim by a third-party purchaser of utility tokens on a private blockchain against the issuer of the tokens who had forked the blockchain to prevent a fraud perpetuated against it.

  5. 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).
  6. Advised the Singapore subsidiary of a Japanese listco on a ransomware attack as well as personal data and cybersecurity issues.

  7. Advised a major Chinese state-owned oil rig company on a ransomware attack as well as personal data and cybersecurity issues.

  8. Advised an Indian data analytics entity on its dispute with its US MNC client in respect of data leakage caused by server misconfiguration.

  9. Advised a reputable insurance brokerage on a potential data breach, personal data and cybersecurity issues, and issues concerning the legality of port scanning.

  10. Acted for a client in a matter involving allegations of fabrication of electronic mails and proving the authenticity of electronic mails.

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 2023
Recognised as being amongst the top 50 disputes lawyers in the region for 2 consecutive years

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-based with the ability to achieve a good response combining technical knowledge and legal ability". 

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 
Commercial & Transactions 2023 – Future Star 

“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 2023/2024 – Distinguished Practitioner for 2 consecutive years 

“Rakesh is clear in his counsel and incredibly responsive.”

“He helps our company to handle our legal issues and we are satisfied with his work.”

“He possesses a strong spirit to win for the client. He has a client-centric approach and is an expert at IT and data security.”

“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".

Who’s Who Legal
Global Guide: Data – Information Technology 2024 – Recommended Lawyer
National Guide: Southeast Asia – Litigation 2023 – Recommended Lawyer

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

Best Lawyers International: Singapore
Litigation 2024 – Endorsed individual

  • 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
  • “Pitfalls of user-generated content” (Drewtech Series Chapter 13,18 October 2023)
  • “Beset on all sides – liability for data breaches” (Drewtech Series Chapter 12, 19 July 2023)
  • “Large Language Models and Larger Legal Minefields” (Drewtech Series Chapter 11, 4 April  2023)
  • “Emerging Technologies, the Law and Disruption”, Lexology Getting the Deal Through: Legal Technology 2023
  • 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