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Hong Kong > Shipping > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Shipping
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • John Butler - CMS
    • Joyce Cheung - Reed Smith Richards Butler

Benefiting from 'comprehensive knowledge of the shipping industry', and aided on cross-border matters by practitioners based in other key locations including Piraeus, Singapore and London, HFW provides the full range of litigation and commercial services to P&I clubs, shipowners and charterers. Hong Kong- and UK-qualified partner Henry Dunlop regularly handles cases involving parties based in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea; he recently secured summary judgment on behalf of Cosco Bulk Carrier before the English High Court in the defence of claims bought by cargo interests following a collision in Chinese waters. The 'very competent and professional' Patrick Cheung regularly handles disputes concerning shipping-related personal injury and accidents, as well as charterparty, shipbuilding and bills-of-lading matters. In addition to handling contentious shipping matters, Henry Fung is active on the corporate and commercial front and is noted for his 'professionalism' and 'ability to anticipate problems'. George Lamplough has an excellent reputation for handling wet and dry disputes and is a key member of the team, which also includes head of shipping Christopher Chan and senior associate Catherine Smith, who is well regarded for handling charterparty, cargo and bills-of-lading disputes.

'Shipping heavyweight' Ince  provides 'responsive, commercial and accurate advice' across the panoply of transactional and litigation matters on behalf of operators, charterers and P&I clubs, among other clients. The 'commercial and highly experienced' Max Cross is in 'an elite class of his own' and provides 'results-driven service' to clients engaged in a range of shipping disputes, including those relating to cargo deliveries and bills of lading. Cross also represents banks and hedge funds on issues arising from the insolvency of shipping companies, debt acquisition and restructuring. He recently secured a favourable result for the owner of cargo of a particularly dangerous and unstable product when he persuaded the Hong Kong High Court to take the unusual step of varying an arrest order to allow the cargo to be safely removed in an expedited fashion following the arrest of the vessel on which it was being carried. Ruaridh Guy was also involved in the aforementioned matter, and is a key resource to clients engaged in complex shipping disputes by virtue of his 'adaptability' and ability to provide 'practical, pragmatic and commercially astute advice'. Rosita Lau's wide-ranging transportation practice includes a significant amount of dry shipping work, while master mariner Richard Oakley is a pivotal part of the office's market-leading admiralty practice, which often works closely with lawyers in Beijing and Shanghai to provide 'very responsive service' in disputes arising from marine casualties in the region. Rory Macfarlane has a focus on regulatory and compliance work and has developed a particular specialism in relation to maritime cybersecurity matters.

With lawyers that are 'experienced in both English and Chinese law', and able to tap into the expertise of practitioners based in other key global shipping centres, Reed Smith Richards Butler gives 'professional and practical advice based on industry knowledge and experience' across 'almost all kinds of maritime claims', including personal injury, cargo damage, collision and charterparty disputes. Appreciated by clients for his 'familiarity with the business and practice in China' and ability to 'explain complicated legal opinions to Chinese clients in plain Mandarin', team head Lianjun Li has 'very rich shipping experience' across the panoply of corporate, commercial and litigation matters for a variety of shipowners, charterers and P&I clubs. The 'very professional and hardworking' Li Min also has 'an excellent understanding of Chinese mores' and has a very strong reputation in relation to dry disputes. The team is rounded out at partner level by Jason Toms, who is notable for being the only solicitor-advocate in Hong Kong dealing with shipping claims. Displaying 'a perfect mix of legal and commercial considerations', of counsel Terry Floyd is recognised for his wet shipping expertise involving marine casualties, collisions, salvage, pollution and unsafe ports. Solicitor Joyce Cheung is another name to note.

Clyde & Co LLP's two-partner team provides 'excellent and cost-effective service' to shipowners, P&I clubs and shipbuilders across the gamut of contentious, regulatory and commercial matters. Often working alongside lawyers in other firm offices across Asia, the US, Europe and the Middle East, the firm's multi-office approach has served clients well in traditional dry disputes in addition to more niche areas including cybersecurity cases. 'Responsive and very knowledgeable about the law', Anthony Woo has expertise across a broad array of cases including ship arrests, bills of lading, charterparties and maritime salvage. Woo is currently representing the freight forwarders in the defence of cargo claims following the grounding of a ship in Southeast Asia. Matthew Lam is also recommended, particularly in relation to cargo disputes and marine insurance matters.

Often working in coordination with practitioners in mainland China, the 'experienced and knowledgeable' team at DLA Piper provides 'client-oriented and value-for-money service' across the panoply of matters impacting shipping clients, from dry shipping and marine casualty response to recoveries, shipbuilding and freight forwarding. 'Strong in shipping-related commercial court cases and arbitrations', the team takes 'a sensible and reasonable approach to handling cases'. The 'very diligent and hardworking' Ernest Yang has 'in-depth insights into and knowledge of the law and the shipping industry'; praised for his 'measured, tactical and client-centric approach', Yang's advice is 'always thoughtful, practical and commercially savvy'. The 'outstanding' Kevin Chan also regularly handles shipping-related disputes and is noted for his 'strategic and innovative recommendations'. Nicholas Mallard is also recommended, particularly for shipbuilding disputes.

Praised for its 'business acumen and value for money', Hill Dickinson Hong Kong provides broad-ranging commercial, regulatory and litigation coverage for an eclectic mix of shipping clients including shipowners, insurers and banks. Damien Laracy has 'an in-depth understanding of international maritime law and practices' and is active across a range of shipping disputes, often with a multi-jurisdictional make-up. Laracy has niche expertise in restructuring and insolvency matters within the shipping sector, and regularly acts for banks as creditors on the enforcement of ship mortgages. 'Very responsive, friendly and helpful' senior associate Chong Jun Tang is also well regarded for the enforcement of ship mortgages, as well as for shipbuilding and ship repair disputes, cargo claims and international trade disputes. As part of his wide ranging litigation practice, Bryan O’Hare regularly undertakes insolvency work in the shipping sector.

Independent local law firm Howse Williams provides 'a very strong shipping litigation service' to owners, insurers, charterers and freight forwarders across both wet and dry matters occurring throughout Asia. The 'excellent' Chris Howse is regularly engaged in high-profile maritime disputes before the Hong Kong courts, and in international arbitration. Howse also has a particular specialism in handling problems arising from the shipment of coal, iron ore, nickel ore and fluorspar. Himself a former seafarer, David Coogans has a unique insight into the shipping industry and is active across both wet and dry matters. Coogans is also involved in non-contentious matters and is regularly engaged by clients to negotiate and draft a wide variety of commercial contracts, including those concerning container leasing, trans-shipment and off-take agreements contracts for iron ore export projects in Australia. Emma Day and William Leung are also recommended.

A key component of a global shipping team that includes experts across the Asia-Pacific region, North America, South Africa and Europe, Norton Rose Fulbright has the critical mass and geographical scope to handle the full array of litigation and commercial shipping work, from both a domestic and a multi-jurisdictional perspective. On the wet shipping front, the recent relocation of 'meticulous and detail-oriented' master mariner Peter Glover from the firm's London office further enhances the office's 'very strong marine casualty offering', which also includes the 'superb' Jim James, who provides 'clear and effective advice' to clients in relation to ship arrests and international shipbuilding disputes. Although he is primarily focused on shipping finance matters, the 'solution-oriented' Jonathan Silver also handles a range of commercial shipping work, including as it relates to the sale and purchase of vessels, pooling arrangements and shipbuilding contracts.

Benefiting from 'strong knowledge of the shipping industry and the legal issues that arise within it', Stephenson Harwood provides 'practical and effective advice' to owners, P&I clubs and banks across the spectrum of litigation and commercial work. Also able to rely on the expertise of practitioners in China and Singapore, the team excels at handling multi-jurisdictional pan-Asian work and is praised for its 'good understanding of regional differences'. The 'intelligent and intuitive' Andrew Rigden Green has the 'ability to succinctly communicate complex issues' and has expertise across the spectrum of litigation including in bills of lading and charterparty disputes, as well as regularly acting for banks on the enforcement of shipping loans. Senior associate Elizabeth Sloane is 'a knowledgeable and effective litigator', and has particular expertise in handling high-profile casualties, collisions and groundings across the Asia-Pacific region.

The recent arrival of Andrew Horton and Steven Wise from RPC has substantially enhanced CMS' nascent offering, affording it a much more visible profile in the shipping litigation market in light of Horton and Wise's considerable experience in and knowledge of the Hong Kong insurance market. Senior associate John Butler is another name to note.

At Tsui & Co, name partner Sam Tsui has 'an excellent reputation for handling shipping insurance disputes' and benefits from 'excellent contacts' in the local market.

Although Watson Farley & Williams is primarily known for its market-leading shipping finance practice, its capabilities on the disputes front, in both the shipping and the offshore oil and gas sectors, were recently strengthened by the recent arrival of Marcus Gordon from the firm's Singapore office.

Weakened by the departure in August 2018 of its two main marine litigators Andrew Horton and Steven Wise to CMS, RPC is in a period of transition in the market. The team has expertise across a range of wet and dry matters including cargo and charterparty claims.

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