Graduate story: Shaun Folpp
Mourant Ozannes, Hong Kong
Bachelor of Legal and Justice Studies, Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Mourant Ozannes is one of the world's largest offshore law firms. Based in Hong Kong, and at just 35, Shaun Folpp heads up the firm's Asian litigation and insolvency practice where he practices Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands (BVI) law.
Most of the matters in which Shaun is involved are high in value, complex, and multijurisdictional. His core practice areas are shareholder disputes, disputes concerning mutual funds, general commercial disputes, and liquidations. Shaun has been retained by many of the world's largest accountancy firms, including Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC. He regularly acts for, and against, investors, directors, fund managers, auditors and other professional service providers.
"Litigation is a real leveller, which I like. It matters not which law firm you're from, what degree you have or which university you went to. In practice, these things are irrelevant. Everyone has access to the same cases and the same laws. It ultimately comes down to what my evidence lecturer at SCU told us on day one of Evidence and Civil Procedure: proper preparation prevents poor performance.
"SCU's law course was far more practical than what I've since seen from other universities around the world, and the lecturers ingrained the idea that it is okay to question what is thought to be right and to challenge principles which may appear to be settled."
After graduating from SCU, Shaun practiced at Tucker & Cowen, a boutique litigation and insolvency firm in Brisbane. He then moved to the UK and accepted a position with the Court of Appeal in London where he was head of commercial and chancery appeals, before relocating to the Cayman Islands and the BVI to practice with offshore law firms.
Shaun said the nature of the disputes which arise in his workplace are very attractive for a young lawyer: "A lot of these matters result in leading decisions which are, in turn, referred to and applied in most English common law jurisdictions. For example, I am currently involved in a matter in which, for the first time, non-executive directors of a hedge fund were found liable for the fund's losses following their breaches of duty, resulting in an award of US$111m. The matter is currently going through the appeals process and we will be before the Privy Council in London next year.
"On our larger matters, my role is to lead a team of lawyers and other support staff - located in Hong Kong and also in our offices around the world. We also often work alongside onshore law firms given, more often than not, there will also be concurrent proceedings running in parallel - for example in London, New York or Hong Kong. From time to time I am also required to travel to Cayman and BVI to appear in court."