Hong Kong: Counsel Magazine Profiles Hong Kong Partner Ian Mann

Last Updated: 20 January 2016
Article by Ian Mann

You are a partner and head of Harneys' litigation and restructuring department in Hong Kong. Having moved from the Bar, to what do you credit your success?

It's always hard to say why others in an organisation decide to promote you, but I think a quality that Harneys really values, and somehow saw in me, is an entrepreneurial spirit. Clearly, to become a partner leading high value international cross border litigation, you have to be a half-decent lawyer, but equally, fuelling the growth of the firm has been immensely important in the last few years. That has meant a truly revolutionary, not evolutionary, process of introspection for Harneys. In certain areas, we stopped all marketing and global expenditure, only to find that it made little difference to the bottom line. In other areas, we threw the full weight of Harneys resources at it, usually in a race with our competitors, and have managed sometimes to steal the march. I take no credit for any of this since I am but one person and it is down to the partners of the firm as a partnership. However, for the small contribution that I have made, I am more than happy to credit my own entrepreneurial spirit to my eight years at the Bar in London.

Harneys remains the sole top tier BVI firm in Chambers UK 2016 and now also has four offices in Asia. What are the recent trends in Asia?

Recent trends in Asia, for my part of the business, include a new intolerance for fraud. In the honeymoon period of investing in emerging markets, when returns were comparatively phenomenal, investors would put up with fraudulent dispositions of their target company's investment assets – they were still making great returns. In the era of the PRC Government's anti-graft campaign and following some very high profile foreign investment disasters throughout North Asia and South East Asia, the climate has changed. Over the years we have been amazed at the reluctance of investors in Asia to pursue claims such as breach of fiduciary duties, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance. We would identify fraud and assume that we would be retained to hunt down assets and then be sorely disappointed. In the last 18 months, the tide has changed and claims are on the up at last. The reasons for this are hugely complex and not capable of a linear exposition, but a slowing PRC economy and the drop in commodity prices are significant contributing factors.

How did you find the transition from the Bar to an international law firm?

I had a fairly easy ride. In my four years living in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), I was one of a team of Harneys' employed barristers whose job it was to appear regularly in court. We then had people on our team with backgrounds in solicitors' firms to look after the client, thus shielding us from some of the toughest parts of the job. On reflection, that is not necessarily the best strategy. It delayed me learning some core skills of client care and overall case management. However, it did launch me from a small common law practice to an international commercial practice with appearances in the BVI court arguing over hundreds of millions of dollars. What I would say, though, is that the junior Bar can create somewhat pompous young barristers. In my first few years of practice, I had the arrogance of youth, and was attracted to the idea of the pomp of the ancient buildings of the Inner Temple, where I worked, and the ceremony of court dress. It can be a shock to move to a firm where you work in teams and arrogance is not tolerated. Thankfully, Harneys knocked me down a peg or two very quickly by taking me under its wing and teaching me how little law I really knew when I arrived. Some of the partners who were so tough on me when I arrived are my closest friends in the world now.

Where do you see the growth areas for your practice?

Growth for offshore lawyers will continue to come from the established financial centres, but the environment will be much more competitive. Service standards will need vastly to improve in the offshore community. For offshore litigation growth, the use of much better technology must be introduced to the offshore courts of Bermuda, BVI and the Cayman Islands as a matter of urgency. Embracing that technology will in itself drive growth.

What is the best professional advice you have been given?

One of the senior litigation partners in Harneys very early on said to me that rather than worrying too much about my own career progression, I should do everything possible to create opportunities for other parts of the firm. He was warning me about sharp elbows. The firm's internal market, as it were, recognises team players and people who put the firm first. As he put it, at the end of each day I should leave the firm in a better state than it was in when I arrived that morning. He is absolutely right. I now give that advice to my own team of associates – usually claiming it as my own.

How do you like to spend your time away from work?

I am fortunate enough to have a very supportive and able team of junior partners and associates which means I can go on holidays. I also try not to work too hard. I see that some of my peers look ten years older than they should, and I am quite sure that they are cruelly ageing early due to work stress and too many long hours. It's important to have a break. I ski every year. I love running, and my wife and I often go on running holidays in Continental Europe in the summer time. It is the ultimate way to switch off and forget about work.

Previously published in Counsel magazine, January 2016.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions