Industry focus distinguishes award-winning law firm in Asia
As more of the world's trade gravitates toward Asia, globally competitive Asian companies trust leading international law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) to meet their specific business requirements. "We major in focusing on specific industries - it's what distinguishes us," says George Eddings, managing partner.
More than half of HFW's revenue stems from its 12 offices outside Britain, with much of this business coming from operations in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Having substantial representation in key industries, the firm stands out with its capabilities in aerospace, commodities, shipping, insurance, mining, logistics, power and construction. HFW assists Asian companies across these industries with their international trade through services spanning advisory, contract formation, finance, contentious practice and dispute resolution.
HFW's deep roots in shipping have enabled it to expand its capabilities into aligned sectors. This broad coverage gives HFW insight into the movement of trade within and between industries, allowing it to monitor and react to industry developments on behalf of its clients.
"We have a deep understanding of the industries because we have people who have actually worked in those businesses," says Richard Crump, senior partner. "We bring to clients the capability to understand legal issues from their side and not just purely from a lawyer's side."
HFW makes sure its clients receive the best possible service and advice through its client-centric approach based on its industry focus and its structure as a single global partnership. Having established a network of offices across key global dispute resolution centres, such as Paris and Geneva where regional arbitration takes place, HFW is able to leverage the expertise of its local offices.
"We run the firm in a more co-ordinated fashion," says James Huckle, commercial director. "We work very hard to make sure that clients feel that the firm is as integrated as possible."
This client-centric service has been fundamental to HFW's historic commitment to Asia. It was one of the first international law firms to open an office in Hong Kong in 1978. In addition to its Hong Kong office, which was its second and remains its largest international office outside of London, HFW established its presence in Singapore in 1991.
The awards that HFW has won over the years in numerous industries manifest how it has established itself as the law firm of choice for Asian businesses. Among these distinctions is the Shipping Law Firm of the Year at the Asian Legal Business Hong Kong Law Awards 2013, which it has won all but one year since 2004. HFW also won Hong Kong Law Firm of the Year at the ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2013.
Expansion throughout the region will be a top priority for HFW in the next two years. The firm will particularly concentrate on developing countries where the industries it serves are crucial to economic growth.
"The major focus for us in Asia is reinforcing what we have and expanding the office in particular areas where we see opportunities for growth," Crump says.
HFW sees these opportunities in massive infrastructure projects in countries such as China and Indonesia. Such opportunities fit seamlessly within the related industries that the firm serves.
"We were one of the first in the region, and we are committed to the region - we see that we can add value to what our clients' businesses require for their own expansion within Asia and out of Asia into the West," Eddings says. "We are really there to assist them in relation to whatever they are doing because we understand their industries."
Holman Fenwick Willan