The Lawyer UK 200 Rank45

Ince & Co began life in 1866 when 25-year-old Francis Ince partnered with John Ingledew in Cardiff to form Ingledew Ince. The firm established itself in London in 1870, and from the very beginning focused on shipping and commercial law. This relatively narrow focus is still evident. Ince specialises in shipping, insurance, energy and aviation. The firm made efforts to develop a bit more of a transactional practice in the mid-2000s but ultimately this remains a very litigation-heavy firm. The

Ince & Co began life in 1866 when 25-year-old Francis Ince partnered with John Ingledew in Cardiff to form Ingledew Ince. The firm established itself in London in 1870, and from the very beginning focused on shipping and commercial law.

This relatively narrow focus is still evident. Ince specialises in shipping, insurance, energy and aviation. The firm made efforts to develop a bit more of a transactional practice in the mid-2000s but ultimately this remains a very litigation-heavy firm.

The firm has a rather old-school reputation and has not changed nearly as much as one-time near rival Clyde & Co. While in the last decade Clydes has opened other UK offices, grown via significant mergers with insurance firm Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and Scotland’s Simpson & Marwick, Ince has remained a relatively similar shape to what it was before the last recession.

Revenue fell three years running between 2013 and 2017 and this seems to have shaken the firm into action. It overhauled its remuneration system in 2015, and in 2017 The Lawyer revealed Ince was on the hunt for a merger and had approached a number of firms including Hill Dickinson and Watson Farley & Williams.

The firm’s overseas network reveals the importance of shipping to the firm: its offices are all in major ports or shipping centres. Hong Kong (opened in 1979), Singapore (1991) and Piraeus (1993) have been followed by Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, Le Havre, Marseille, Hamburg, Cologne, Monaco and Dubai. As senior partner from 2000 to 2008, Peter Rogan led the firm through much of this international expansion.

The seating system for trainees is rather more fluid than at most firms: trainees can get work from any department, regardless of their supervisor, throughout their training contract and keep working on matters past the end of their notional six-month stint in one place.

Jan Heuvals has been senior partner since 2015. Previously Hamburg managing partner, he relocated from London in 2015, but moved again in 2017 to lead the firm from Hong Kong. Since taking charge, he has overseen several changes at the firm which saw two redundancy consultations at the firm’s London office in 2015, downsizing that same office and an overhaul in its lockstep.

The firm created the new position of chair in 2015, which was filled by Paul Herring. Ince & Co does not have a managing partner and major strategic decisions within the firm are made between the chair and senior partner. Herring too has relocated from London since taking on the management role, moving to Greece in 2018.

Senior partner Chair
1866 Francis Ince
1920

Ernest Wilson

1957 Jack Griggs
1976 Donald O’May
1989 Patrick Griggs
1995 Richard Sayer
2000 Peter Rogan
2008 James Wilson
2015 Jan Heuvals Paul Herring (role created)