Introducing Calvin Chow, Litigation partner in Hong Kong
We sat down with Hong Kong Partner Calvin Chow, who recently joined Harneys from a local onshore firm to get to know him a bit better.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what and/or who has inspired you to pursue a career in law?
I took the scenic route – I studied mathematics and computer science in university and initially worked as a software engineer before going into the finance industry. At the time I worked for a financial institution but I wanted to try something new. The main reason I chose law was that it gave me an opportunity to continue applying my problem solving skills – it is quite like designing and creating software, where I have to consider different inputs, analyse and cater for what can go wrong, and develop practical solutions that will achieve the end user’s goal.
You previously worked for 15 years at a local Hong Kong onshore firm. What motivated you to make the change to an offshore law firm?
I had a great experience at my previous firm. It was a perfect Goldilocks size – large enough that we were able to take on a wide range of instructions, but not so large that I was dedicated to any particular type of work. This meant that I had a chance to deal with all sorts of disputes, contentious family and probate proceedings, regulatory matters, shareholders’ disputes, insolvency proceedings acting on both creditors’ and company side and for liquidators and receivers, and judicial reviews.
The work and clientele was very interesting, but I had reached a point in my career where I wanted to focus on developing my own specialty. Moving offshore, and specifically to Harneys, was the perfect opportunity – again, a firm large enough that we would have a range of instructions dealing with shareholders’ disputes, insolvency-related work, and contentious trust and probate, but not too large that I would be locked into any one area.
What were your expectations of working at an offshore law firm and how has your experience been so far?
To be honest, it has been much busier than I expected! I have had lots of fun working at Harneys – we have an energetic, highly-motivated, knowledgeable and experienced team with a great all-around vibe.
You will be travelling to the BVI shortly, what is your impression of the BVI and life there?
The picture I get in my mind is of beautiful beaches and sunsets. I know however that our office there is very busy, bearing in mind the number of offices and lawyers we have around the globe and the fact that the BVI office is on the front lines for our BVI court work.
Outside of your legal profession, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I spend more time than I probably should reading on Wikipedia and Quora. Apart from that, I inherited a love of mechanical watches from my father, so I also spend time looking at and dreaming about different pieces.
If you had a time machine, what historical event would you want to see and why?
Game 6 of the 1967 Stanley Cup Finals, so I can finally say that I have seen the Toronto Maple Leafs win the championship in my lifetime.
Which three famous people would you invite to a dinner party?
I would love to discuss artificial intelligence and the future of humanity with Nick Borstrom, Ray Kurzweil, and Michael Sandel.
If you just won the lottery (Hong Kong has a HKD96 million lottery upcoming as we prepare this interview), what would you do with the money?
The conservative me says invest. The other me that is more likely to win out is to make a few expensive purchases likes watches or cars.
If you could give your 18 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Try. Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid to try – if you never try you will never succeed.
What are the best and worst purchases you have ever made?
I tend to overanalyse before making major purchases, and so thankfully I don’t have anything that I regret buying. The best purchase was buying an engagement ring which got my marriage off to a great start!