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About Desmond Chong

Desmond is an Associate in our international arbitration group. Desmond is a graduate of Cambridge (B.A. Honors Law, Double First) and Harvard (LL.M.), and is dual-qualified in New York and Singapore. Desmond specializes in resolving complex and high stakes disputes, including commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration.

Desmond has extensive experience in a wide variety of disputes. Desmond has acted for clients in multiple industries (e.g., private equity, energy, and technology) and on issues ranging from joint venture and corporate M&A disputes to fraud claims. Desmond has also worked on matters involving many different arbitration rules and laws, such as the arbitration rules of the ICC, SIAC, UNCITRAL, and HKIAC, and the laws of New York, England and Wales, India, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, Sweden, and Russia. Desmond has experience in matters across the globe, including the US, South Korea, Japan, India, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, the Philippines, France, and the UAE.

Desmond is knowledgeable in the full breadth of the common law, having been educated at Cambridge in the UK and Harvard in the US, and having served as a Justices’ Law Clerk for the International and Singapore Judges of the Singapore Supreme Court and Singapore International Commercial Court. At Cambridge, Desmond graduated with a Double First in law and won the Sir David Williams Prize for the top First Class performance in his college at the final law exams. At Harvard, Desmond won the Best Individual Oralist Award at the Vis East International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

Desmond understands States and public policy considerations well, as he has personal experience advising the Singapore government as a prosecutor and State counsel (in the Attorney-General's Chambers) before joining Freshfields. Desmond also served in the Singapore Supreme Court, first as a Justices' Law Clerk and then as a Judicial Officer himself (Magistrate and Assistant Registrar).

Desmond speaks English and Mandarin Chinese.

Recent work

  • Achieved a favorable settlement for a private equity joint venture company in an HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong and governed under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules concerning a post-M&A dispute regarding a securities purchase agreement governed by New York law.
  • Representing alternative asset management companies in an SIAC arbitration seated in Mumbai, India and governed under the SIAC Arbitration Rules concerning a dispute regarding a real estate investment joint venture.
  • Representing investment companies in an SIAC arbitration seated in New Delhi, India and governed under the SIAC Arbitration Rules concerning a joint venture dispute over a company that provides educational services.
  • Representing a multinational oil and gas company in commercial litigation proceedings in Singapore concerning a trade finance dispute.
  • Advised a Japanese technology and electronics company in a potential arbitration dispute concerning indemnification obligations under a New York law-governed contract.
  • Advised a Japanese trading company on its rights under supply agreements governed by Swedish law and potential arbitration seated in Sweden.
  • Advised a multinational oil and gas company on its rights under a liquefied natural gas sale contract governed by English law and potential arbitration proceedings seated in Singapore governed under the ICC Arbitration Rules. 
  • Adjudicated a striking out application in the Singapore General Division of the High Court concerning a USD 63 million claim on a financing agreement governed by Ontario law.*
  • Adjudicated an application in the Singapore General Division of the High Court to set aside a default judgment concerning a construction dispute in Singapore.*

*Matters worked on before joining Freshfields.



  • Harvard Law School (Master of Laws (LL.M.)) (2017) 
  • University of Cambridge (Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Law (First Class Honors); Master of Arts (M.A.)) (2016) 

Professional qualifications

  • Attorney and Counsellor at Law, New York State Bar
  • Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court, Singapore Bar

Law Clerkships

  • The Honorable Chief Justice and Justices of the Court of Appeal, Court of Appeal, Singapore (2021)
  • The Honorable Judges of the Appellate Division, Appellate Division of the High Court, Singapore (2021)
  • The Honorable International Judges, Singapore International Commercial Court, Singapore (2020-2021)
  • The Honorable Judges of the High Court, General Division of the High Court, Singapore (2020)