Hong Kong law firm Ince & Co has continued to shed partners in the city, with an eight-lawyer marine and shipping team moving to UK law firm Hill Dickinson.
The group coming from Ince Hong Kong includes asset finance partners Janice Lee and Gary Wong, and asset finance lawyer David Beaves, along with five other fee-earners and two support staff. This triple partner hire doubles the number of partners in Hill Dickinson’s Hong Kong office.
Beaves had been at Ince since 2002. A former managing partner of Ince Hong Kong, he has more than four decades of experience in corporate, commercial and banking transactions, specialising in the shipping sector.
Wong provides advice on shipping finance matters, representing shipping companies, banks and leasing companies for matters including restructuring, loan facilities, and sale and purchase of vessels.
Lee acts for leasing companies, shipping companies and ship owners with matters including syndicated leasings and sale and leaseback transactions. She had two stints at Ince: Lee was initially at the firm until 2011, and then returned in 2018 from Stephenson Harwood.
“The new team will complement Hill Dickinson’s existing practice in Hong Kong, led by Damien Laracy, with a focus on shipping and commercial arbitration and litigation, ship sale and purchase, insolvency and restructuring,” the firm said in a statement.
The departures come at a time when Ince Hong Kong has been losing partners across the board. The head of the firm’s Greater China practice and Shanghai office lead, Paul Ho, moved to Stephenson Harwood earlier this month. Disputes partner Stephen Chan joined Charles Russell Speechlys, and CMS added shipping and insurance partner Richard Oakley as a consultant.
Ince Hong Kong’s website is temporarily closed, noting that a new website is in the works. An estimated eight partners now remain, including Priscilla Wong, who joined from Loeb & Loeb earlier this year.
The Hong Kong firm has no relationship with UK’s Axiom Ince, although the two share a history connecting them to the legacy global law firm Ince & Co. Axiom Ince, a product of the acquisition of Ince & Co by Axiom DWFM earlier this year, was shut down by the UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on Oct. 3, following Axiom’s application to the UK High Court giving notice of its intention to appoint administrators.
Trouble began for Axiom Ince in August when the SRA suspended its high-profile managing partner Pragnesh Modhwadia and two directors on allegations of siphoning client funds and beach of solicitors’ practice rules.