Senior Associate Director
Deputy Head, Family & Divorce Practice Group
Recognised as one of the Top 100 Women in Litigation in Asia-Pacific by Benchmark Litigation
Dorothy Tan is a Senior Associate Director in PKWA Law and Deputy Head of the Family Law Department.
Dorothy is listed in the “Top 100 Women in Litigation” in Asia-Pacific by Benchmark Litigation 2021. She is among 11 Singapore female lawyers who are recognised. Dorothy is recognised as a leading lawyer in family and matrimonial law.
Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific’s Top 100 Women in Litigation focuses on the leading female litigators who have earned their place by participating in the most impactful litigation matters in recent history, as well as by earning the hard-won respect of their peers and clients as top players in their respective fields. Lawyers named in the publication were chosen through several phases of research: a review of their recent casework, consideration of how attorneys at peer legal institutions might rank them, and client feedback on their performances. Dorothy is described as a “Litigation Star in family and matrimonial law in Asia-Pacific.”
Dorothy is also recognised as a Leading Lawyer in Doyle’s Guide to the Leading Family & Divorce lawyers in Singapore. She is recognised as one of Asia’s top young lawyers in Asian Legal Business 2016 listing of “40 under 40 – Asia’s Brightest Young Legal Minds”. She is named by the Singapore Business Review as one of Singapore’s Top 20 ‘Most Influential Lawyers aged 40 and under in 2016’ and is also shortlisted for “Woman Lawyer of the Year” by Asian Legal Business at the SE Asia Law Awards 2018, and for “Young Lawyer of the Year” by Asian Legal Business in 2017.
Dorothy Tan is recognised by Benchmark Litigation as a Litigation Star in family and matrimonial law in Asia-Pacific. Benchmark Litigation is the definitive guide on the leading litigation lawyers internationally and regionally. The international publisher recognizes “litigation stars” in each country as individuals who were recommended consistently as reputable and highly effective litigators by their clients and peers.
At the age of 25, Dorothy successfully led a team to win a complex divorce case at the Court of Appeal on the new Singapore law on division of matrimonial assets. Recently, Dorothy won her second Court of Appeal case. In this case, she won for her client 75% of matrimonial assets worth $13.6 million (up from 25%). The swing from 25% to 75% for her client is arguably one of the biggest amounts in appeals court history.
In both cases, Dorothy acted as lead counsel.
Achievements & Highlights
Dorothy has won two divorce cases at the Court of Appeal as lead counsel, including one when she was 25 years old. The cases are:
Twiss, Christopher James Hans v Twiss, Yvonne Prendergast  SGCA 52
In 2015, Dorothy became one of the youngest lawyers at age 25 to lead a team and to win at the Singapore Court of Appeal. The client selected her to take over his matter and to appeal to the Court of Appeal on the division of matrimonial assets. Dorothy succeeded in reversing the decision in favour of her client. The case of Twiss, Christopher James Hans v Twiss, Yvonne Prendergast  SGCA 52 was later cited and followed in subsequent cases involving division of matrimonial assets: Zhou Lijie v Wang Chengxiang  SGHC 316; TIG v TIH  SGHCF 12; TME v TMF  SGHCF 6 ; THL v THM  SGHCF 11 ; TNL v TNK  SGCA 15 and UBD v UBE  SGHCF 14.
Dorothy’s client wrote an open testimonial in appreciation of Dorothy’s dedication and hard work, which can be found here.
TQU v TQT  SGCA 08
The Court of Appeal had described this case as “complicated”, “challenging” and “highly unusual”. The judgment was 60 pages long.
After obtaining 25% in matrimonial assets in the High Court, the ex-husband engaged Dorothy to take over his matter and to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Dorothy and her team analysed, drafted and filed the Appeal papers, with the client appearing at the hearing himself. In a 60 page decision, the Court of Appeal increased the husband’s share to 75% of S$13.6 million in matrimonial assets, up from 25%. The swing in percentage from 25% to 75% to the husband is arguably one of the biggest in appeal cases.
Dorothy is recognised as one of the top divorce lawyers in Singapore and in the region. Her accolades include:
- Dorothy is listed in the “Top 100 Women in Litigation” by Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2021. Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific’s Top 100 Women in Litigation focuses on the leading female litigators who have earned their place by participating in the most impactful litigation matters in recent history, as well as by earning the hard-won respect of their peers and clients as top players in their respective fields. She is described as a “Litigation Star in family and matrimonial law in Asia-Pacific.”
- Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific – Dorothy is recognised as a “Litigation Star” in family law by Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific 2021. Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific is a leading guide to the region’s leading litigation firms and lawyers. The guide provides law firm and lawyer rankings based on extensive interviews with litigators, dispute resolution specialists and their clients as well as analysis of the market’s most important cases and firm development.
- Doyle’s Guide – Leading Family & Divorce Lawyers in Singapore – Dorothy is ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Doyle’s Guide of Leading Singapore Family and Divorce Lawyers in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021.
- ALB SE Asia Law Awards – Dorothy is shortlisted for “Woman Lawyer of the Year” by Asian Legal Business at the SE Asia Law Awards 2018. She was selected by an independent panel of 30 legal experts and is the only family lawyer in the shortlist.
- Singapore Business Review: Singapore’s Most Influential Lawyers under 40 – Dorothy is named as one of “Singapore’s Most Influential Lawyers under 40” by the Singapore Business Review in 2016. She was selected from a list of almost a hundred nominees based on thought leadership, influence, and success.
- Asian Legal Business Law Awards – Dorothy is nominated for “Young Lawyer of the Year” by Asian Legal Business at the SE Asia Law Awards 2017.
- Singapore Mediation Centre Accredited Mediator
- Singapore Mediation Centre Accredited Collaborative Family Practitioner (CFP)
- Appointed to Singapore Mediation Centre’s Panel of Collaborative Family Practitioners (CFP)
Passionate about Family Law
Outside of work, Dorothy volunteers at a family centre to help divorced couples and their children.
Dorothy has developed a reputation as a tireless and passionate divorce lawyer. She has extensive experience in all aspects of family and divorce law. She has acted as lead counsel for clients in all areas of matrimonial law including contentious divorces, division of matrimonial assets, disputes over child custody, maintenance for wives and children, and family violence.
The press regularly interviews Dorothy for her views on family law issues.
Dorothy is a contributor/author for Lexis Practical Guidance – Family Law Module.
..WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
“In my hour of need, I was recommended to PKWA. Dorothy Tan LISTENED to my case and worked tirelessly over the holidays and weekends to meet impossible deadlines. A very upsetting and stressful time, but I will be forever grateful as Dorothy believed in my case and sought a fair and just resolution against insurmountable odds. At every juncture, Dorothy provided realistic, honest assessments and I proceeded based on her recommendations. If Dorothy and her team decide to champion your cause, you should consider yourself very fortunate.” – Christopher Twiss.
“Dorothy and team are true partners. When I first met with Dorothy, it was her empathy and professionalism that gained my trust and confidence to engage her service.
Throughout the process, she and her team worked relentlessly to help me, explaining in detail the questions that I had and provided sound advice on my possible options and the potential outcome.
I am very grateful for them, as they genuinely care and are there to listen; and what’s more, they are very competent, professional and approachable.” – Wendy Teo.
“Dorothy, a big thank you for all the support, guidance and recommendations you have given me. Your judgements and ability to steer the various proceedings were absolutely critical. I was able to give you my full trust. You have certainly made a lasting impact, one which I will not forget. Thank you.” – AJ.
“I chanced upon PKWA LAW after I had dried my tears. They seem to know their stuff well. We met about 4 times. Mr Lim and Ms Dorothy took the time to listen and assured me it could be done.
We started everything all over again. Within 3 months, I got what that was deemed impossible! Knowing that with the order, I can now proceed to the next step comforts us tremendously.
Thank you! Your team made a difference in our lives.” – Ning.
“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your patience, your timely and sound advice during this very difficult period.” – A
“Thank you so much for your effort and assistance in handling my case. I recognise it has been a long, arduous few years, and I sincerely appreciate your tenacity and professionalism in the process of dealing with an irrational adversary.” – MN.
“All of you show me that genuine great lawyers exist. Many more people out there who deserve justice ought to know you.” – Ms K
I wanted to express my gratitude for your efforts and dedication to my case. I am grateful to you that you took all the stress and restored everything out for me. Your faith, knowledge and determination were something that solves my worries.” – ZT.