Chris Lambert joined Robertsons in 1990. He handles securities and compliance matters, and works with clients in the fintech sector on legal and regulatory issues on their products and offerings.
Lambert has also advised both private and listed company boards as well as individual directors on all forms of compliance matters, including fiduciary and statutory duties, the conduct of meetings and general issues of corporate governance. He also represents minority shareholders concerned with corporate misfeasance.
ALB: What have been some of your highlights from your time in charge?
Lambert: I became the managing partner of Robertsons in April 2019. Within a few weeks of taking up this role, the protests erupted in the city which certainly provided significant challenges for us all. And then, of course, COVID-19 appeared on the scene. So it has been a white-knuckle ride more or less from day one.
ALB: How do you feel the pandemic will reshape not just the way your firm operates, but also the legal services industry in Hong Kong?
Lambert: Everyone seems to have a theory about where the pandemic is taking us: some say it is a temporary pause before business as usual, others say that it will change us all forever. The important point for all business owners is to stay flexible, expect the unexpected but not to be so set in your ways that opportunities are missed or seismic risks are ignored.
ALB: How important is law firm culture, according to you? What kind of internal culture are you looking to foster?
Lambert: We have never set out to foster a “traditional” law firm culture. For us, the fostering of individual talents is more important than having a blueprint of what a typical lawyer should be like.
ALB: What are the keys to succeeding in this market for a firm of your size and focus? What are you currently doing well, and what are potential areas of improvement for you?
Lambert: I don’t think any of us can take our success to date for granted in the current market. As an independent Hong Kong law firm, we were able to benefit from the phenomenal 15-16 years that the city enjoyed after SARS. These more difficult times for Hong Kong have presented challenges, but we are not unique in having to readjust the way we approach our business. Without a doubt, our primary focus is to improve the efficiency of our technology without compromising the level of personalised services that our clients expect.
ALB: How have clients’ requirements evolved in recent times (either generally or as a result of the pandemic), and how are you as a firm meeting them?
Lambert: The pandemic has definitely been the most significant impetus for change in the way that clients operate in recent times. As lawyers, it is vital that we appreciate the dramatic changes that many clients have faced in 2020 - the manner in which they work and the way in which their businesses operate - and tailor our advice and services accordingly.
ALB: Where would you like to see the firm five years from now?
Lambert: Crystal-ball gazing is hard for anyone in these unprecedented times. But our primary focus at Robertsons is to remain as a significant player amongst independent law firms in Hong Kong. I think if five, ten or twenty years down the track, we continue to be active in all sectors of the legal market here, then that would be what all of us at the firm wanted.
ALB: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Lambert: Listen to all advice, but only follow what you really believe in.
ALB Conversations is a weekly series of in-depth Q&As with leaders of law firms and in-house legal departments across Asia. If you are a managing partner or general counsel based in the region who is interested in being a part of this series, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.