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Senior partner Lilian Chiang was recently profiled in the South China Morning Post’s Saturday edition.
Titled, “Route to perfection,” the profile traced Lilian’s early experiences and how they inspired her, both personally and professionally, and eventually led her to the practice of law.
Some highlights are featured below:
Discussing a summer scholarship to tour Europe, she said: “I was part of a group of university and high school students chosen to represent Hong Kong. Before leaving, we were invited to meet the then governor at Government House; we visited the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, went to several other capitals, saw historical sites, and were provided with cameras, pocket money, uniforms and two chaperones to look after us. For someone from a modest family who had previously never even been to Macau and thought of the New Territories as remote, it was a completely eye-opening experience. It gave me a lot of confidence, new ambitions, and was a sort of transformation.”
On practicing law, Lilian explained: “Initially, I had some doubts about doing law. I found the subject very dry and was extremely unhappy in the first year at university. Later on, it took time to settle with Deacons and I didn’t plan, for instance, to become a partner in so many years. But I did know that, whatever happened, I had to give my very best and, looking back, I have been very lucky.”
As senior partner and head of the property practice, she has to focus on overseeing the smooth running of the wider firm — which now has 50-plus partners and a total of close to 660 staff — a different, yet complementary, set of skills is called for.
“Any senior partner has to balance management responsibilities with client contacts,” she said. “Because I’m a lawyer at heart, I want to feel I’m really contributing by working with clients, not just attending lunches or dealing with aspects of general strategy.”
While, when it comes to management, “You can’t just do things your way,” Lilian says. “I’ve become more aware of the need to look after the well-being of staff, including the mental and emotional aspects. You have to be supportive and flexible to create a strong team spirit and a sense of camaraderie.”
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