2019 Annual Conference of In-House Lawyers

The Annual Conference of In-House Lawyers is the flagship event organised by the In-House Lawyers Committee (“IHLC”). The 2019 Conference was successfully held on 12 June at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with an all-encompassing theme of “Finding the Common Ground” which touched upon various topics related to diversity and inclusion at workplace. The event was well attended by around 350 members with the majority being in-house lawyers from various sectors and industries.

The first session was a panel discussion on gender diversity in management featuring Ms. Ivy Au Yeung, Chief Executive Officer, ANZ Hong Kong; Mr. Brian Henderson, Chief Operating Officer, Baker & McKenzie, Hong Kong; Ms. Teresa Ko, Partner & China Chairman, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; and moderator Ms. Benita Chick, CEO & Founder, Encompass HK, who highlighted the potential opportunities and challenges of maintaining or improving gender diversity at workplace, in particular the boardroom and beyond, with examples of achieving the optimal gender mix in various scenarios.

Cross-cultural competency has been identified as an important skill in today’s global business environment. Mr. Francis Chang, Executive Vice President & General Counsel Business & Legal Affairs, FOX Networks Group Asia; Mr. Paul Li, General Counsel, OAX Foundation; Mr. Alan Tsang, Senior Legal Counsel, Ant Financial; and moderator Mr. Charles To, Partner, Ella Cheong & Alan Chiu, Solicitors & Notaries offered their personal experiences on how to conquer the conundrum of cross-cultural understanding, especially in the practice of law, across jurisdictions, and how to handle racial discrimination at workplace.

The thought-provoking afternoon session started with a dialogue between Ms. Felicia Law, Executive Director & In-House Counsel, JP Morgan and a working mum, and Mr. Nicholas Metson, Executive Director & Head of AsiaPac Employment Law Coverage, Morgan Stanley and a working dad, on how they balanced work and parenthood.

The dialogue was followed by an interview with Mr. Allan Man and Mr. Peter Reading, both Legal Counsel of the Equal Opportunities Commission, who introduced the legal framework of protection for disability discrimination in Hong Kong and shared their experience in striving for equal opportunities for the disadvantaged. The interview was conducted by Ms. Joyce Cheng, member of the IHLC.

In the penultimate session, Ms. Anita Lam, Senior Consultant, HK Head of Employment, Clifford Chance, led a vibrant discussion among speakers representing different stages in their careers and the legal profession who shared with the audience how they perceived power harassment at workplace and their experience in overcoming generational differences at work. Joining Anita were Ms. Eirene Yeung, Executive Committee Member & Company Secretary, CK Asset Holdings Limited; Mr. Winston Yu, Associate General Counsel & Vice President, Jefferies; and Ms. Vivian Chiu, Legal Counsel, Nan Fung Development Limited.

With the awareness of LGBT rights on the rise, the concluding session of the Conference examined issues of gender identity discrimination at workplace in Hong Kong from the legal, social and business perspectives. Panelists included Mr. Peter Reading, Legal Counsel, Equal Opportunities Commission; Dr. Suen Yiu-tung, Assistant Professor & Graduate Division Head of the Gender Studies Programme, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Ms. Ilan Wong, Attorney, Ropes & Gray; and moderator Mr. Gordon Chan, Vice President, Legal, Asia Pacific, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.

IHLC would like to express its heartfelt thanks to all panellists who exchanged with us on a spectrum of topics that are of interest to in-house lawyers and relatable in the legal field. If you have any feedback on the 2019 Conference, or have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact IHLC on inhouselawyers@hklawsoc.org.hk.President Melissa Pang led off the Conference with her welcoming remarks.

Ms. Maggie Tsui, IHLC Chairlady, delivering the opening remarks.

From left: Council Member Roden Tong, Mr. Brian Henderson, Ms. Teresa Ko, Ms. Ivy Au Yeung and Ms. Benita Chick.

From left: Mr. Francis Chang, Mr. Charles To, Council Member Jonathan Ross, Mr. Paul Li and Mr. Alan Tsang.

Mr. Nicholas Metson (left) and Ms. Felicia Law (right) in a dialogue between a working dad and a working mum.

From left: Ms. Joyce Cheng interviewing Mr. Peter Reading and Mr. Allan Man.

From left: Council Member Roden Tong, Ms. Anita Lam, Ms. Eirene Yeung, Mr. Winston Yu and Ms. Vivian Chiu.

From left: Mr. Gordan Chan, Dr. Suen Yiu-tung, Ms. Ilan Wong, Mr. Peter Reading and Council Member Karen Lam

IHLC members gathered at the Conference.