Stephenson Harwood adds shipping team from Ince Hong Kong

Paul Ho takes seven lawyers to UK firm, becomes third partner to exit Ince HK this month
Sunset view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

Hong Kong Shutterstock

Stephenson Harwood has bolstered its Greater China practice with the hire of a team of shipping lawyers from Ince Hong Kong. 

The eight-strong group joins in Hong Kong and Shanghai and is led by partner Paul Ho, who was the chief representative of Ince’s Shanghai office and the firm’s head of Greater China. The rest of the team comprises two of counsel, three managing associates and two associates. 

Ince Hong Kong operates independently of UK-based Ince & Co, which was shut down and taken over by the Solicitors Regulation Authority earlier this month to protect client funds. 

The group’s arrival at Stephenson Harwood comes as the London firm looks to grow its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices, with it saying the team would add strength to its marine and international trade, and ship finance offering in Greater China. 

“Transportation and trade is a core area of focus for the firm – one in which our expertise is known worldwide,” said Alex Davis, marine and international trade practice group leader at Stephenson Harwood. “Paul’s arrival gives the firm the largest team of English-qualified MIT and ship finance lawyers in the Chinese mainland, and greatly deepens our credibility in that market and globally.”

Ho has moved over after almost three decades at Ince including 21 years in Shanghai and will work across Stephenson Harwood’s Shanghai and Hong Kong offices. Dual qualified in England and Wales and Hong Kong, his practice covers all aspects of contentious and non-contentious shipping matters with a focus on shipbuilding, offshore construction, international trade, ship sale and purchase transactions. He also handles general commercial litigation including complex, multi-jurisdictional and cross-border disputes.

“The Chinese mainland market is home to some of the world’s biggest shipowners, shipyards and shipping financial leasing institutions,” said Evangeline Quek, Stephenson Harwood’s Greater China office managing partner. “The arrival of Paul and his team will expand our Shanghai office significantly, and give us immediate opportunities to work with a greater pool of Chinese mainland clients, from shipyards to traders to LNG operators.”

Ho is the third partner to exit Ince Hong Kong this month following the departure of disputes lawyer Stephen Chan for Charles Russell Speechlys and shipping and insurance specialist Richard Oakley for CMS. The firm now has 11 partners, including disputes lawyer Priscilla Wong who joined in May from Loeb & Loeb.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]