Simpson Thacher Hong Kong partner arrested for drink driving

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  • Why do we care? Is this news worthy? It's a purely private matter. Does the word 'privacy' ring a bell?

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  • When someone engages in drink driving and endangers the safety and lives of other drivers it is a matter of great concern to the public. Being arrested for drink driving is a matter of public record - there is nothing "private" about it. If Mr. Chen wants to endanger the public by driving while intoxicated then he should suffer the consequences of his actions, including the negative publicity that results from his criminal activity. Kudos to The Lawyer for making us aware of this matter. I for one will think twice before I send anymore business to Simpson Thacher.

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  • Two high profile partners in Hong Kong at top-tier firms arrested for drink driving. Yep. Definitely newsworthy. Nothing private about a criminal arrest. I'm pretty sure it's all a matter of public record. Thank goodness he didn't kill someone.

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  • Why do we care? I guess you have never lost a loved one to drink driving.

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  • This is newsworthy because studies have shown that lawyers are prone to depression and alcohol abuse as a result of the considerable stress involved in the profession. It has been reported that in the UK, alcohol-related deaths among lawyers were twice that of the national average with 30% of male lawyers and 20% of female lawyers abusing alcohol. While I do not have statistics for Hong Kong, I think it is safe to assume similar rates of alcohol abuse in Asia, at least among lawyers at the big global firms. Alcohol abuse among lawyers often goes untreated. Let's hope Mr. Chen gets the help he needs before he seriously hurts himself or someone else.

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  • What are the implications on his admission to the bar if he is convicted? Can one be disbarred for a criminal conviction of drink driving?

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  • ben is absolutely right

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  • What the do-gooders above do not seem to realize is that this is a legal website, not a local HK paper. We are sitting thousands of miles away from where this non consequential incident took place, so the only reason we are being fed this info is gosspip.

    It's juicy info involving Magic Circle partners getting drunk. Nothing else.

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  • Ben:

    A) Simpson Thacher isn't a MC firm.

    B) This could result in the guy being put on gardening leave and possibly thrown out of the firm (and ejected from the bar). Given the impact this could have on ST's offering in HK it is definitely newsworthy for an industry publication.

    (Also, given the range of clients most major firms have, there's the possibility that this could actually be a big deal for some of them (e.g. lobbying for alcohol industry etc))

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  • To Ben:

    Lose a loved one to a drunk driver, then you will understand. I am tired of those making excuses for self indulgent jerks, whether those jerks are from the magic circle or otherwise.

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  • I'm a client of STB Hong Kong and it matters to me! Sounds like Ben is just worried that The Lawyer will be writing a similar story about him one day.

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  • Alcoholism in the legal profession is a serious problem and most definitely worthy of coverage in The Lawyer. Perhaps The Lawyer should do a full blown article on the issue and expand on some of the issues raised in the comments above.

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  • Drunken partner of a prestigious Wall Street firm crashes his Porsche into a mini-bus in upscale Stanley neighborhood. Come on Leiming! You're giving the entire profession a bad name!

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  • There is no shortage of taxis in Hong Kong. Just leave the Porsche in the parking garage when you've had to much to drink!

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  • Gosspip?

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  • Not sure I understand the emotional arguments about losing someone in an accident, lawyers being prone to depression and alcoholism, etc... The guys drove drunk so he's a bipolar, suicidal alcoholic now? Be serious.
    At the end of the day, a law firm partner gets arrested for DUI (which absolutely all of us have already done at least once; we just didn't get arrested) and people try to rationalize their interest in this gossip by making it about larger issues. But it just doesn't fly.
    As for the "STB client" , you’re right, what do you mean about moving your business because of this? You'll need to find a firm where no one has any chance whatsoever of ever being arrested for DUI. Good luck now.
    Anyway, biglaw partners getting arrested and getting exposed makes some people happy, I suppose. No better ego boost for failed lawyers...

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  • If anything the drinking culture amongst lawyers is even more extreme over here.

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  • Must be the hot, humid climate turning them to drink.

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  • I have to be slighly concerned about the welfare of Hong Kong lawyers if Ben is a typical example. How can he seriously say that DUI is something that "absolutely all" (not just "all", mind) of us have done at least once?
    Yes, a more in-depth article on lawyers and alcohol would probably be a good idea. It is something which does not get much attention in comparison with say the "work-life balance" issue. For example, absolutely all, to coin a phrase, of the firm-sponsored post-work events I have attended have served alcohol, and very often served for free.

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  • To Ben
    When all else fails, resort to personal attacks on those you disagree with.

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  • If you think that drink driving is something that "absolutely all of us have already done at least once" then you really are delusional. I think you must have had a few too many drinks before posting here!

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  • Quote "General Counsel":
    "I for one will think twice before I send anymore business to Simpson Thacher."
    Because of one misbehaving partner in Hong Kong, whose ability as a lawyer has not been called into question? Thank God that not everybody is like you, otherwise Barclays bank would have no customers left.

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  • It's actually quite easy to find high quality lawyers who aren't out crashing their Porsches and getting arrested drink driving. Also, Hong Kong has a small close knit legal community - we all knew this news well before The Lawyer ran the story. The Lawyer didn't ruin anyone's career. Mr. Chen did that to himself.

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  • You all er jus a bunch of do-gooders who don't no hows to have a good ole time like me. Yeah. Thats write. You heard me. Doo-gooders. Just don't appreciate that a lawyer needs him some drink to help take the edge off. Now you'll have to scuse me cause I gotta go now. My Porch sporty car is waiting for me now. Vroom vroom vroom!

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  • Uhm. I losted my keys. Can sonebody helps me find me keys? Do-gooders? Anybody?

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  • - I am well aware that STB is not a MC firm - thank you. I was referring to CC, which is also mentioned in the above article in relation to a prior incident.
    - Agree that an in-depth article on alcoholism in the profession would be useful and certainly enlightening.
    - I stand by my earlier point: there are very hypocritical lawyers (and posturing "general counsels") around here who are trying hard to rationalize their interest in gossip by making it about larger issues. It would be just more honest and straightforward to acknowledge that the "Wall Street firm / Porsche / Partner / Booze combination" makes for a good, fat, juicy and gossipy story...

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  • PS: Refusing the blatant voyeurism of this article is very different from condoning dangerous driving or “making excuses” for it. This guy should, and will, face the consequences of his actions.
    Now does this make it ok to gloat?
    Apparently the nuance is lost on some.

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  • Do lawyers still take an oath of honor of sorts? If so, lawyers shouldn't be considered typical folks. They are probably held to higher standards than the public and you, Ben. Is there still freedom of speech and press in Hong Kong? You are entitled to your opinion and may choose to ignore this article. Let everyone else decide whats newsworthy of The Lawyer.

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  • no one answered, what impact does a DUI have on a lawyer's ability to practice in HK? Can you be taken of the list of solicitors? Also, can you be admitted in the first place

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  • Loving the fact that posters are correcting one another on the magicness or otherwise of a huge global US firm. Like anyone cares. At All. Ever. In a million years. The "Magic Circle" concept is so utterly out of date in our global world, particularly when you look at the world from a legal centre on the Pacific rim. Time to drop it.

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  • The drink drive limit in Honkers is 50 mg compared to 80 mg in the UK.
    It's therefore quite possible that he was under the UK limit when arrested - there's nothing in the article to indicate how much he was over the limit.
    So as little as a pint of beer could have put him over the limit.
    It's typical of contemporary society that there are so many po-faced prats willing to condemn him for something that on the evidence presented may have been of no more consequence than a minor speeding offence. Indeed, in many cases speeding would probably be far more dangerous than a drink driving offence involving so little alcohol.
    And how many of those sanctimonious people gravely speculating about whether this makes him unfit to practise or whether his firm's reputation has been severely damaged have taken their eyes off the road while fiddling with the satnav or shouting at the kids in the back or having a heated argument on their mobile?
    You disgust me. You have as much humanity as the average lump of flint, and none of you is fit to practise as a lawyer. You judge without evidence and the concepts of justice, mercy and basic decency are completely alien to you.

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  • Rural Bliss:
    "You disgust me. You have as much humanity as the average lump of flint."
    "You judge without evidence and the concepts of justice, mercy and basic decency are completely alien to you."
    Er.... Irony anyone?

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  • "I for one will think twice before I send anymore business to Simpson Thacher."

    Has to be the most silly comment ever. Really? And what will the thought process be? 'I willl hire XXX because he's a good lawyer...oh no two years ago so and so was arrested for drunk driving - oh well, that's it, try another firm.......' Personally I'd hire Mr Chen himself, let alone his partners, if I thought he was the best man for the job, regardless of his driving habits.

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  • Sorry Ben, I have never driven drunk. Obviously you have. Don't drink and drive. It's not that hard to comprehend.

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  • Regarding regulatory sanction by the Law Society in HK (the HK Bar is not relevant; it does not regulate non-barristers), much depends upon, if convicted, (a) whether Chen is admitted in HK, and (b) whether a disciplinary tribunal considers his conduct has brought the profession into disrepute.
    I cannot see any regulator taking a professional stand over an offence which does not relate to honesty. Perhaps that is what "Ben" clumsily meant at the outset; giving him the benefit of the doubt!

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  • I think it is also a bit about people thinking that they are above the law. Where is their moral integrity? Would you allow one of your friends to drink drive? It is not just the risk that they pose to themselves, but more importantly the risk that they pose to others. Taxis are cheap and plentiful in HK - well paid partners can afford them!

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  • @11.33 - Chen was admitted in HK in 2011. Also NY and BC, Canada. But completely agree that nothing will happen at the regulator in the absence of dishonesty.

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  • To Rural Bliss:
    Re: 50mg vs 80mg limit difference
    Have you ever been to Hong Kong? Average Hong Kong'er is physically smaller than average UK'er. Judging from the pictures available online, Mr. Chen looks way smaller than the average Hong Kong'er. So yep, a pint would do it. He should have had the common sense and judgment to either call a cab home or limit himself to half a pint that faithful evening.

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  • Responding to the call for an analysis of lawyers and alcoholism:

    http://www.vallexfund.com/download/Being_Happy_Healthy_Ethical_Member.pdf

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  • Will all you people pretending to be "clients" and even less credibly "general counsel" please for the sake of shame stop it. No one believes you. You are all trainees/associates at city law firms. Enough already.

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  • You can't be disbarred for drunk driving...but you can be disbarred for lying about it. If lawyers were disbarred for DUIs, there would be quite a bit fewer of them. You don't take away someone's livelihood for this, as serious as it is.

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  • All these comments. This must be a godsend for Charlton (3x over the limit of CC); deflecting attention from him.
    PS ~ what ever happened to his prosecution; I saw nothing further in The Lawyer

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  • Well said sock puppet! All those do gooders should shut their pie holes! I'm a real general counsel and not only do I not mind if my external counsel drinks a few pints, I practically demand it. Afterall, I hate to drink alone. And when my counsel picks me up after a hard day of pushing papers to go to the pub for a little schoomzing they damn well better be driving a rocket fast Porsche because I don't have time to waste with my busy schedule. Enough already indeed!

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