Stephenson Harwood has added more lawyers from troubled Ince & Co, this time in Asia.

The UK-headquartered law firm has bolstered its practice with a team of eight shipping experts in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The group is led by partner Paul Ho, a lawyer with 27 years of experience, including 21 years based in Shanghai.

The rest of the team comprises two counsels, three managing associates and two associates.

Its practice has a strong focus on shipbuilding, offshore construction, ship finance, international trade and ship sale and purchase transactions, as well as general commercial litigation, Stephenson Harwood said.

“The group’s arrival … comes at a time when the Hong Kong and Shanghai offices seek additional growth in the firm’s areas of focus, and Paul’s team adds to the strength of the firm’s marine and international trade and ship finance offering in Greater China,” it added.

At the start of October, the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority closed down law firm Axiom Ince amid claims of a misuse of client funds.

The SRA said the move was intended to “protect the interests of clients and former clients of the firm”.

It followed the SRA’s closure of the individual practices of three former Axiom Ince directors, Pragnesh Modhwadia, Idnan Liaqat and Shyam Mistry.

There has been an exodus of lawyers from Ince & Co to London rivals.

Earlier this month, Ince & Co’s global head of marine projects, Stuart McAlpine, joined Stephenson Harwood, strengthening its ship and offshore finance practice.

He will work in London for his new company after three-and-a-half years at Ince.

Big market

Evangeline Quek, Stephenson Harwood’s Greater China office managing partner, said: “The Chinese mainland market is home to some of the world’s biggest shipowners, shipyards and shipping financial leasing institutions.

“The arrival of Paul and his team will add significant bench strength to our Greater China maritime and international trade practice and expand our Shanghai office significantly, and give us immediate opportunities to work with a greater pool of Chinese mainland clients, from shipyards to traders to LNG operators.”

Stephenson Harwood has more than 1,300 staff worldwide, including about 190 partners.