RICHARDS Butler admiralty lawyer Frank Coles has left his City base to move to the Hong Kong office of Stephenson Harwood.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Coles moved to the UK at the age of 17 and spent 13 years in the merchant marine before studying law.
The Nautical Institute awarded Coles its first scholarship to study an MSc and he later completed an LLM in maritime law at Cardiff.
“I am looking forward to being based in Hong Kong. I went there several times as a mariner and the Far East is going to be an exciting place over the next few years,” says Coles. “The practical experience of having been a mariner is invaluable when looking at maritime accidents.”
Coles' work with Stephenson Harwood's 50-fee earner Hong Kong practice – Stephenson Harwood & Lo – will include general shipping work as well as his speciality area of marine collisions and salvage.
The firm has a wide range of clients including owners, operators, P&I clubs, underwriters and brokers.
Head of the admiralty practice Richard Olsen says Coles adds strength to the shipping team, already a market leader, and enables the firm to provide an improved service to clients in South East Asia and the Pacific Rim.
“We have quite a lot of work out in Hong Kong and we needed to strengthen the admiralty practice,” says Olsen.