Meet our lawyers


Ian Teo

Managing Director,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

One of the founding directors of Helmsman, Ian is an authority on commodity trading and shipping law.

In 2019, he became one of the first senior accredited shipping and maritime law specialists appointed by the Singapore Academy of Law. What’s more, he was recognised by Euromoney Expert Guides as one of the world's 30 Best of the Best Shipping Lawyers. In 2016, Best Lawyers Singapore named Ian as Trade Lawyer of the Year.

Qualified to practise in Singapore, England and Wales, Ian read law at the National University of Singapore (LL.B) and obtained his LL.M at Cambridge University. Awarded the Justice Tan Ah Tah Prize in his PLC class, Ian is a member of the adjunct faculty at the Singapore Management University, School of Law, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration, and an Adjunct Fellow of the NUS Centre for Maritime Law. He contributes to academia regularly, and has published in Lloyd's Maritime & Commercial Quarterly.

"A specialist in shipping and trade disputes... (who) commands respect"
Chambers Global

"Meticulous in his case preparation, effective and persuasive in his advocacy"
Legal 500

"Keen eye for details and whose advice is always commercially sound"
Chambers Asia-Pacific

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Tang Chong Jun

Executive Director, Helmsman LLC Singapore Managing Partner, Tang & Co, Hong Kong

A founding director of Helmsman and Tang & Co., Chong Jun specializes in shipping and commodities disputes as well as commercial advisory work.

Recently, Chong Jun successfully represented a Malaysian palm oil producer on two multi-million-dollar GAFTA arbitrations: and, an American trading corporation in its claim against a Chinese company for the latter’s failure and/or refusal to take delivery of corn shipments. He was also involved in “Apellis” [2018] Lloyds Law Reports Plus 11 and “Alas” [2015] 1 Lloyds Law Reports 211. 

Our executive director is regularly invited to speak at shipping and maritime law conferences, including at the recent International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators in Copenhagen, and the 2017 Shipping Law Seminar in Shenzhen on “One Belt One Road – International Shipping Law and Policy”.

Qualified to practise law in both Singapore and Hong Kong, he is a fellow and council member (Hon. Secretary) of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators.

"Very responsive, friendly and helpful"
Legal 500

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Maureen Poh

Director,
Helmsman LLC, Singapore

Maureen’s practice spans the range of shipping and commodities trading work, both contentious and advisory. 

She has significant experience with energy-related shipping and commodity-related matters, such as the transportation and off-take contracts for crude oil and LNG. Maureen was involved in drafting and negotiating the charter of the “MOL FSRU Challenger” on behalf of shipowners for the Hong Kong Offshore LNG Terminal Project.  

Qualified to practise law in Singapore, England and Wales, Maureen sits on the advisory board of the NUS Centre for Maritime Law.  She read law at the National University of Singapore, and before becoming a lawyer, worked in the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Maureen was cited in Legal 500 as “a key name for charterparty disputes, carriage of goods by sea and cargo claims”, and complimented for being “proactive, clear and fast in analysing specific points”.

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Lynette Koh

Director,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Lynette’s expertise is in corporate banking and finance law. Lynette was legal counsel at two large international banks. Just before joining Helmsman, she was Head of Legal and Business Administration at Mizuho Bank, Ltd., in charge of corporate banking business in Singapore and the region. Lynette has deep expertise in the funding needs and structures across a wide spectrum of industries. She has worked on the full range of commodities and trade financing transactions with major trading houses across the world. Lynette is one of few Singapore lawyers who also has expertise in derivatives and structured products, including ISDA documentation. 

Besides her corporate inhouse experience, Lynette also spent a decade as a litigator specialising in banking and financing disputes, corporate insolvencies and debt restructuring at one of the largest law firms in Singapore. 

Lynette’s perspectives and experience as Head of Legal at an international bank and as a dispute lawyer make her a rare commodity amongst transactional corporate banking and finance lawyers.

Lynette was one of the two inaugural recipients of the Singapore Academy of Law Post-Qualification Overseas Attachment Award – set up to expose deserving lawyers to the best practices in litigation or arbitration. She spent time in London working alongside renowned Queen's Counsels with established banking practices.   

In her free time, Lynette runs a free legal clinic at the Singapore Association for the Deaf.

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Matthew Teo

Associate Director
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Matthew began his career in the largest legal practice in Singapore dedicated to banking and financing disputes, corporate insolvencies, business advisory, workouts and debt restructuring. He has advised and acted in practically all major shipping and oil-related restructurings and insolvencies in the past 10 years resulting from the downturn in the shipping and oil industry. 

Besides restructuring and insolvency, Matthew also specialises in shareholders’ disputes, directors’ duties and employment law - both contentious disputes, as well as advisory work on strategic and commercial issues. Matthew also routinely advises on security arrangements as well as insolvency risks on transactional matters.

Employment law is another area of Matthew’s specialisation. He often advises on restrictive covenants, contentious terminations of employment and non-contentious aspects such as drafting employment contracts and disciplinary policies.  Matthew acts regularly in employment disputes, and has been involved in high profile employment disputes in Singapore.

In 2017, the Supreme Court of Singapore appointed Matthew as amicus curiae under the prestigious Young Amicus Curiae Scheme. He assisted the Supreme Court as amicus curiae in a landmark decision on the registrability of contractual liens in charterparty contracts in the Diablo Fortune case. 

Matthew graduated summa cum laude amongst the pioneer batch of law students from the Singapore Management University, and was awarded a number of academic prizes during his time there. Unlike many lawyers, Matthew reads (and understands) financial statements as he also has a Bachelor of Business Management (Finance Major), from the Singapore Management University.

Matthew was cited in Legal 500 as a "highly rated lawyer". 

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Chen Zhida

Associate Director,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Zhida’s main focus lies in international commodity trade, trade finance, and “dry” shipping work (including charterparty and bill of lading disputes). He not only regularly appears in the Singapore courts, but also acted as counsel in international arbitrations, both ad hoc and institutional (including LCIA, ICC, SIAC, HKIAC, AIAC). Zhida is qualified to practise law in Singapore and England and Wales.

He also regularly advises clients on non-contentious matters, ranging from commodity sale contracts and charterparties to UN sanctions.

Proficient in Mandarin, his expertise is much appreciated by Chinese traders, including state-owned enterprises and listed companies.

In 2019, Zhida was appointed amicus curiae under the prestigious Young Amicus Curiae Scheme, which provides young practitioners with the opportunity to assist the Singapore Courts on novel points of law.

A former Justices’ Law Clerk within the Supreme Court of Singapore, Zhida came to us from the shipping and international trade practice of a Singapore “Big Four” law firm.

Zhida was awarded a number of academic prizes from the National University of Singapore. He also has a Masters of Law in International Legal Studies from New York University. He has been teaching as an adjunct at the Faculty of Law of National University of Singapore since 2014, and has recently been appointed as an adjunct assistant professor, one of the youngest at the Faculty of Law of NUS.

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Jonathan Tan

Associate Director,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

An up-and-coming shipping and commodities lawyer, Jonathan has been involved in several landmark cases arising from insolvency of shipping and trading companies. Pragmatic and commercially minded, he is focused on finding efficient and effective solutions to address clients’ concerns.

Jonathan’s practice is focused on shipping and international trade – both disputes and advisory – ranging from commodities trading, trade finance, documentary credits, cargo claims, charter parties, ship sale and purchase to mortgage enforcement.

Equally adept at Chinese, Jonathan has represented and advised Chinese clients in court proceedings, arbitrations and non-contentious matters.

He completed his undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore, and began his career in a leading shipping and commodity law practice.

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Eleanor Wong

Counsel (Special Projects),
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Eleanor works on special projects involving highly complex, multi-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional disputes and transactions. She started her career with the Commercial Affairs Department in Singapore, prosecuting complex commercial and securities frauds, a role that gained her national prominence. After her stint with the Commercial Affairs Department, she  joined international law firms Coudert Brothers and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, where she  built a successful practice in international financial transactions. There, she helmed ground-breaking projects, such as challenging regional financial sector restructuring in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.  In 2002, she returned to her alma mater, the National University of Singapore, to launch the Law Faculty’s Legal Skills Programme as its Director. She is also Co-ordinator of the Faculty’s International Moots Programme, and currently serves as Vice Dean, Student Life & Global Relations and Director of the Centre for Pro Bono and Clinical Legal Education.

Eleanor is a recognised thought-leader in pedagogy and the mentor of a generation of young lawyers. She also happens to be an accomplished playwright.

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Djakhongir Saidov

Consultant,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Professor Saidov specialises in international commercial law, having joined The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London in August 2015 as Professor of Commercial Law. His expertise lies in the law of the international sale of goods, international commercial law instruments, remedies for breach of contract and law governing international oil and gas operations.

A consultant to Helmsman, he is the Editor of the English Sale of Goods Law section in the LMCLQ Yearbook of International Maritime and Commercial Law, and, an Academic Fellow at the Centre for Maritime Law in the National University of Singapore.

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Cristina Bernasconi

Consultant,
Helmsman LLC, Singapore

Cristina has practised law in the energy and commodity sector since 2004 – at a major Swiss utility company, a European investment bank and an oil and gas conglomerate. She established her own legal consultancy firm in London in 2015.

Fluent in Italian, English, German, French and Spanish, Cristina has considerable experience in cross-border transactions.

Admitted to the New York and Zurich bars, Cristina holds a degree from Zurich University law school and an LLM in international law from George Washington University.

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Peter Huang

Senior Associate,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Peter is one of the leading shipping juniors in his batch, with a stellar track record both academically and professionally. Specialising in shipping and trade related dispute resolution, he has extensive experience acting in arbitrations under the rules of SIAC, SCMA, LMAA, LCIA, ICC, CIETAC, AIAC. He also advises on disputes in other jurisdictions, including Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines.

At the National University of Singapore, Peter was awarded the M. Karthigesu Memorial Gold Medal for top shipping student, as well as the Maritime Law Association of Singapore Prize in Carriage of Goods by Sea. Peter represented NUS in the 2015 Jean Pictet Mooting Competition and the 2016 International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot, emerging as the champion in the former, and the sixth overall speaker in the latter. Peter continues to coach mooting at NUS Law.

Peter is native Chinese and effectively bilingual, and deeply understands the Chinese culture and legal landscape. Before joining Helmsman, Peter worked as a solicitor in a leading international shipping firm, where he obtained qualification to practise English law, on top of his Singapore qualification. 

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Christopher Ong

Associate,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Christopher graduated from Singapore Management University with a Bachelor of Laws - Summa Cum Laude (With Highest Distinction). While there, he was placed on the dean’s list for three consecutive years. He was also awarded the Maritime Law Association of Singapore Prize for the Top Student in Shipping & Admiralty Law.

Christopher completed his practice training period with a leading shipping and commodity law practice, and joined Helmsman shortly thereafter. He is an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore.

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Geoffroy Ygouf

Associate,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Geoffroy specialises in shipping litigation and dispute resolution, with a particular focus on carriage of goods by sea and international trade.

He began his career in the marine industry in London, where he joined a renowned maritime law firm acting for insurers/reinsurers, brokers and high-profile clients in soft commodities. While there he worked on a variety of matters including subrogated cargo recovery actions, bills of lading and charterparty disputes.

A qualified solicitor in England and Wales, Geoffroy is fluent in both English and French. 

He has a bachelor’s degree in French law, a graduate diploma in English law, a Master’s degree in Law and Political Sciences (exchange program) from Thammasat University, as well as a LLM in Maritime Law from the University of Southampton.

 

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Wira Hakim

Associate,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Wira read law at the National University of Singapore, with a particular emphasis on shipping and maritime law. Wira brings with him in-depth knowledge of all facets of shipping and commodity trading law. Wira also spent time at the London Centre for Transnational Legal Studies where he researched various aspects of trade and maritime law at both global and comparative levels. He is an accomplished sportsman, having played competitive rugby at the national level. Apart from English, Wira is conversant and proficient in Malay and Bahasa Indonesia.

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Kenneth Lim

Associate,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Kenneth read law at the National University of Singapore, where he was Assistant Editor for the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies. He was also Assistant to A/P Dr Sandra Booysen for her thesis on the mis-selling of bank retail products. Kenneth is an avid mooter. He represented NUS at the 16th Willem C. Vis East Commercial Arbitration Moot, where he was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Best Oral Advocate. Kenneth obtained a Distinction in Civil Procedure in Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations.

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Ahmad Noorfahmy

Associate,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Fahmy graduated from Singapore Management University with a Bachelor of Laws - Magna Cum Laude (with great distinction).  Fahmy is experienced in a wide-spectrum of shipping and commodity trading matters, both contentious and transactional. He was also awarded a Distinction for Advanced Corporate Practice in his Singapore Bar exams. Fahmy is effectively bilingual, fluent in Malay and English.

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Xu Jingchen

Associate, Helmsman LLC Singapore

Jingchen specialises in shipping, international trade and insolvency related dispute resolution.

She obtained her PhD and LLM in Admiralty (with distinction) from Tulane University Law School in the United States. She obtained her LLB in Maritime Law from Dalian Maritime University. At Tulane, Jingchen was a Senior Editor for Volumes 40-41 of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal, and a research assistant to Professor Robert Force.

Jingchen is an accomplished scholar, whose work is frequently published. Before joining Helmsman, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Centre for Maritime Law, National University of Singapore.

She recently contributes a book chapter titled “Ship Arrest and the Hanjin Bankruptcy: Lessons for Ship Management” in the newly published book, Stephen Girvin and Vibe Ulfbeck (eds), Maritime Organisation, Management and Liability: A Legal Analysis of New Challenges in the Maritime Industry (Hart Publishing 2021).

Her another publication is a monograph, Maritime Cross-Border Insolvency under the UNCITRAL Model Law Regime: Commonwealth and US Perspectives (Hart Publishing 2020), which discusses the pressing issues of cross-border cases involving admiralty and bankruptcy law. In addition, her papers analysing issues arising from the bankruptcy of OW Bunkers have been published in the American Bankruptcy Law Journal and the Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce.

She has also worked with the American P & I Club and several US maritime law firms.

Jingchen is qualified to practice law in China, and is admitted to the New York Bar.  She is native Chinese and fluent in English

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Marisa Tse

Senior Legal Executive,
Helmsman LLC Singapore

Marisa looks after our business development. She was previously employed by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat in Singapore as a programme executive, and, leading shipping law practice where she was a senior legal executive in ship finance.

Also fluent in Cantonese, Marisa was admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2010, and holds a dual Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) degree from Queensland University of Technology.

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