Laure de Panafieu
Partner, Asia Head of Employment & Incentives, Singapore
"I am an employment lawyer advising on complex and sensitive standalone employment and incentives issues, as well as on the employment and incentives-related aspects of major transactions throughout Asia-Pacific. I aim to provide clients with technically sound, commercial and actionable advice that fully addresses their business needs."
Education and qualifications
Laure heads the firm’s Employment & Incentives Practice in Asia. She has significant knowledge of advisory, transactional and contentious employment law, with in-depth knowledge of restraint of trade issues, senior executive appointments and terminations, employee transfers, incentive arrangements, settlement agreements, redundancies, outsourcings and insolvencies.
Laure has extensive experience in advising on employment and incentives-related issues arising out of corporate transactions, including cross-border M&A transactions and restructurings in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region generally, with a particular focus on businesses in the financial services sector.
Laure also advises large multinational institutions on data privacy related matters (data privacy compliance programmes, complaints, investigations and breach handling) and on the implications of cyber theft (including civil/criminal liabilities, remedial steps and strategy).
Laure was based in the firm’s London office for 11 years before relocating to the firm’s Singapore office in 2014. Earlier in her career, Laure spent two years as sole in-house legal counsel for Lazard Asia, in Singapore.
Laure is recognised for her Employment & Incentives expertise, and is ranked as a Band 1 lawyer by Chambers Asia-Pacific 2023 for five consecutive years since 2019 and a 'Leading Individual’ by Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2023 for seven years since 2017. She is recognised in The International Employment Lawyer Elite 2022. Laure was also awarded Legal 500 ‘Lawyer of the Year’ for Labour & Employment and ‘Best in Labour and Employment Law’ at the Euromoney Asia Women In Business Law Awards in 2015.
Laure has acted for clients in many of the Asia-Pacific region’s most significant transactions. These include:
- successfully defending Noble Group on high value and complex litigation before the Singapore High Court, brought by its former CEO, in relation to forfeited incentives and bonuses, and Noble’s counterclaim relating to his alleged breach of restrictive covenants and fiduciary duties.
- advising Olympus Capital on new employee incentive arrangements and employment agreements in connection with its investment in the Constant Energy Group, a leading player specialized in the renewables sector with scaled development and investment in electricity generation and storage platform and high-quality power assets.
- successfully obtaining an interim injunction for Integr8 Fuels Asia Pte Ltd in respect of a breach by a former bunker trader of his employee and customer non-solicitation restrictions and confidentiality obligations.
- providing employment and incentives legal advice to Oliver Gerhardt, founder and substantial shareholder of Wavecell, in relation to the landmark acquisition of Wavecell by 8x8, Inc. This deal was awarded VC Exit of the Year by SVCA (the Singapore Venture Capital Association) in October 2019.
- advising Greene King, a UK pub retailer and brewer, on the employee incentives and remuneration aspects of its cash takeover by CK Asset Holdings Limited (via a wholly-owned Bidco) which is a Hong Kong registered and listed conglomerate.
- advising a leading global technology group on a regional disposal involving eight Southeast Asia jurisdictions and impacting over 600 employees, including senior exits, investigations and disciplinary processes, sexual harassment complaints, bonus and other employment terms.
A passionate advocate for inclusive workplace and compassionate leadership, Laure also spearheaded Linklaters’ Southeast Asia Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and Wellbeing initiatives, both internally and externally. She regularly speaks at conferences and panels on Workplace Conduct and Diversity & Inclusion. Recent events she hosted, chaired or participated in include:
- a professional training course hosted by Marcus Evans on “Best Practices in Workplace Investigation and Mediation”;
- World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019 on “Reimagining the Future of Work and Empowering Youth” alongside a panel of diverse leaders comprising the CEO of LEGO Foundation, the Senior VP of Cisco and the Asia Leadership Team of Ashoka;
- a discussion on “The Human and Business Case for Lawyer Wellbeing” organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, alongside the Chair of the UK Bar Wellbeing and a Registered Psychologist;
- HRM Asia’s 12th Annual Asia Employment Law Congress where she shared her expertise on “Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace.”;
- a HeForShe Women in Leadership forum on “Changing the narrative on Women in Leadership”, where she moderated a discussion between four leading CEOs, male and female, to better understand their journey to making an impact and leading their organisations to success, the opportunities available to women today and the vital role played by men in changing mindsets;
- a roundtable event “Diversity & Inclusion: Our Journeys” where she invited speakers from Microsoft, Accenture, Morgan Stanley and Dymon Asia to share their D&I journeys; and
- a “Glocalisation” event co-hosted by Linklaters and InterAlia, on the local application of global policies on LGBT related matters.
Other significant deals:
- advising a global provider of financial messaging services on employment, data privacy and criminal-related issues arising out of a high-profile cyber theft involving multiple jurisdictions.
- advising Ingenico, the global leader in e-payment solutions services, on its first investment into Indonesia, including on the terms of earn-out provisions and service agreements for the founders/sellers of the business
- advising RBS on the disposal of various APAC businesses to CIMB, Malaysia’s second largest lending bank, including on the transfer of employees in 10 jurisdictions, the impact of UK remuneration regulations on incentivisation proposals and severance entitlements
- advising various private equity houses, including Standard Chartered Private Equity, Advent International and the Carlyle Group, on management-related matters arising out of their acquisitions in APAC, Africa and the UK
Education and qualifications
Laure studied English law and French law at King’s College, London and at Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Paris.
She speaks French and English.