The head of the Hong Kong Corporate Counsel Association (HKCCA) said its decision to form an alliance with the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) would allow the local association to punch above its weight in terms of resources and benefits it will offer its members.

The HKCCA, which boasts more than 800 members in the territory, recently announced its decision to join with the much larger ACC, which has an in-house counsel membership of more than 42,000 in 85 countries and is expanding its presence in Asia.

“We thought that to really grow and to continue to be able to offer our members additional benefits, an alliance like this would be very beneficial, because in addition to the global access that they could get, ACC will also start developing local content for our members,” HKCCA president Lin Shi told Asia Business Law Journal.

Members would also have access to content from the ACC virtual resource library, templates, research, monthly journals, professional development programmes and regional conferences, all complimented by global resources and programmes.

“The way we’ve structured this arrangement, there is going to be a two-tier membership, which means that for our members who want more resources, want more benefits in programming, they can opt to join the full membership,” Shi said. “And for other members who are happy with the existing level services, they can stay on our standard membership.”

Shi said that in terms of the HKCCA’s legal structure, it would remain its own legal entity. “We are going to be largely autonomous and the executive committee, which is also the board of directors of the organization, will continue to function as we always have and set the direction of the organization.

“Obviously we will be aligning some strategic elements so that we can co-ordinate with ACC. But the alliance will not result in any changes to our bylaws or constitution. All our members retain the same votes. So we don’t really see a downside.”

Initial discussions several years ago on the idea were renewed in mid-2015, when Shi became president. “The organizations do have a lot in common you know, in both cases we are by in-house counsel for in-house counsel,” Shi said. “And we have very similar mission statements. So we saw a lot of overlap there and we thought that an alliance would be mutually beneficial.”

Moving forward, Shi said the HKCCA would relaunch as ACC Hong Kong from 1 September, when a three-month free trial of full membership would begin. “In the coming months, ACC will also continually add regional and local resources that are relevant to Hong Kong-based members to enhance the value of full membership.”

ACC has also committed a full-time staff member to Hong Kong to assist with the alliance implementation, and to help local members understand the resources and programming available to them.

“The Hong Kong based in-house counsel joining the ACC network will enrich our association and provide an important perspective on doing business in Hong Kong and the broader Asia-Pacific region,” said Veta T. Richardson, ACC’s president and CEO. “The alliance strengthens ACC’s ability to enhance our member engagement in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most important business hubs.”

ACC Hong Kong will be managed by the ACC Hong Kong Executive Committee comprising:

  • Lin Shi, joint head, IPO vetting, listing department of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
  • Sharyn Ch’ang, global counsel, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Gordon Chan, vice president, legal, Asia-Pacific, at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
  • Grace Chan, senior counsel, Asia-Pacific, at ARRIS Hong Kong, part of the ARRIS International Group
  • Beverly Chau, Asia-Pacific legal counsel, L’Oréal
  • Sun Kim, head of regulatory risk Asia, Macquarie Group
  • David Lamb, executive director and group counsel, Hongkong Land
  • Andrew Olson, legal counsel at PRADA Asia-Pacific
  • Chi Wai Pang, managing director and legal counsel, Macquarie Capital
  • Doug Silin, legal counsel, Western Union
  • Michelle Wei, vice president and general counsel Asia at Flextronics
  • Keith Wong, group legal counsel, Dickson Concepts (International)
  • Sandra Wu, head of legal and compliance and chief compliance officer,  Mercer Investments (HK)
  • Ben Yip, general counsel, NF Trinity Capital (HK)
  • Jiaxing Zhou, managing director and head of legal department at China International Capital Corporation (Hong Kong)