Nick is senior partner and head of litigation at Gall. He has extensive experience in dealing with multi-jurisdictional fraud and international asset tracing litigation. Nick has acted for publicly listed companies, senior employees, the Hong Kong government, the US government, and major international banks and corporations throughout the world. His work often requires making cross-border applications, freezing/gagging applications, urgent injunctive relief, the examination of senior executives/bank officers, and recovery and enforcement proceedings.
What do you enjoy most in your current role as head of the firm’s litigation practice?
I’ve enjoyed bringing together and growing my team of highly capable litigators at all levels of the firm, establishing one of the leading litigation practices in Hong Kong. I enjoy interactions with clients and with my team, who I encourage to get involved in shaping the strategy of the firm and in crafting a career path that best suits their individual goals. It is also very rewarding to be able to advise on some of the most high-profile, complex, multi-jurisdictional and high-value litigation matters. The firm’s reputation has grown over the years and we are now regarded as the top litigation firm in Hong Kong.
What is the greatest challenge currently facing litigation specialists?
The political instability across the world, and not knowing what the future holds. The regulatory landscape is also rapidly changing so staying at the forefront of it, while generating opportunities for litigators, also creates significant challenges.
The overcrowded litigation marketplace is a further challenge, meaning litigators are required to constantly differentiate and innovate in order to compete with new entrants. These challenges all stem from there being ongoing change and uncertainty. People who succeed are those who can confront the challenges head-on and resourcefully adapt.
How does Gall stand out from its competitors in the market?
Gall is a specialist dispute resolution firm. Our almost exclusive focus on dispute resolution distinguishes our firm from others in Hong Kong.
As an independent firm we are largely conflict-free. We continue to be the first-choice firm for referrals from some of the market’s largest players, both inside and outside Hong Kong, who cannot act due to conflicts of interest. We also have strong working relationships with a large network of dispute resolution providers in jurisdictions around the world. We receive referrals from them for clients who would otherwise have no representation in Hong Kong. The firm has also focused on building strong ties with other Asian firms, in particular working closely with firms in Korea, Japan, Singapore and China.
In addition to Hong Kong disputes, Gall has also made a name for itself as a specialist in high-profile, high-value, China-related matters under Hong Kong law. The firm’s expert technical ability, language skills and awareness of cultural aspects have seen us receive instructions from PRC firms and clients who choose to work with Gall instead of the larger international firms.
Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?
It lies in empowering our young lawyers who will be the ones transforming the way we approach legal work and business processes, and driving their firms’ innovation agendas. It is vital that we support the next generation of lawyers and give them a voice in modernising the legal system and in simplifying how legal advice is provided.
The future of the practice also lies in technology within the law. New processes are being adopted to ensure wider and more efficient access, and delivery, of justice. Courts in the UK, for example, are putting £1 billion into a programme that hopes to see most civil disputes resolved by an online court by 2022.
What advice would you give to younger lawyers hoping to one day be in your position?
Take charge of your practice from as early as possible in your career – appreciate the importance of growing your own network and in being commercially-minded. Growth and success not only equate to technical legal ability but also to one’s ability to communicate with the client, and to market themselves and their firm. At Gall, I encourage lawyers to take their own initiative when it comes to their development. Both junior and senior lawyers set out their personal plans for the year and enlist help from within the firm where and when required to fulfil the plan. We have a dynamic work environment that I’m proud of, where work and clients come first and lawyers are free to grow without the constraints of traditional law firms.