60 second interview with Alice Lau, Intertrust
A day in the life of Alice Lau, Executive Director, Head of Private Wealth Services at Intertrust and a member of the Hong Kong management team.
22 July 2020
Tell me about your role.
I have been a Lawyer in Monaco since 2005 when I founded my own law firm after various previous work experiences in Paris (Commission Bancaire), Sao Paulo (Swedish multinational company Electrolux AB) and New-York (Tannebaum-Helpern Syracuse & Hirschstritt law firm). I have surrounded myself with talented lawyers who help me every day to build a renowned law firm in Monaco which assists many public and private institutions, especially banking institutions. At the end of 2019, I had the honour of being elected Chairman of the Monaco Bar and I do my best to defend the image and the interests of my profession in a world of continuous changes. While my staff and I can treat any legal matter, my field of predilection concerns criminal matters, notably white-collar crimes. I am also expert in fundamental rights and freedoms as I was elected to represent Monaco at the Council of Europe anti-torture Committee for the last ten years and I represent the International Association of Lawyers at the Council of Europe. I am also expert with international private law as I assist some HNWI in their divorces or estates.
Walk us through your daily routine.
I wake up at 6 am to have some time to practice some sport (cycling or running, diving in the summertime) before having breakfast with my family. After taking my three children to school, I usually arrive at my office at 8:30 am. At 9 am, I take a coffee with my team during a 10-min meeting in order to discuss the most urgent and sensitive files to be treated that day. My workday is divided between different appointments, team meetings and pleadings in Court. I try to take a break for lunch which often turns out to be a work meeting lunch. When I have the opportunity, I take a break between 4 and 5 pm to help my children with their homework. At 8 pm, I go back home to have dinner with my wife. I usually work again after dinner and try to switch off my phone at 10 pm.
Tell us about a recent client instruction.
Last month, a client I assist in various civil cases called me to inform me that the police had taken him into custody for an investigation in which he was suspected of money laundering, fraud and misappropriation of funds. I had to assist him at the Police station for three days and two nights. The issue was to convince the Police to let him out and not to keep him in detention. We finally achieved this as after the third day he was allowed by the Judge to go back home against a caution of $100,000 which was a great relief for him. This case is not over as my client remains a suspect and I will have to assist him during the whole investigation phase and during the potential trial if the investigation judge chooses to charge him.
What is the most challenging issue your clients are facing currently, and how are you helping your clients to overcome it?
My Clients are confronted with the complexity of legal proceedings, especially when they are international in scope. For example, I assist a sports federation in an international dispute at the Paris Court. Nullity applications are also an important issue, especially in a case with an international dimension in Monaco, where there is a proliferation of investigative procedures. Finally, I also assist in a dispute against the State to have a regulation limiting access to property annulled. I help my Clients by always trying to have the imagination to find solutions even when it seems that there are none.
What is your proudest professional achievement to date?
Having founded my own law office formed with an excellent team. This great responsibility forces me to deal with daily stress but it is so gratifying every time the Clients are satisfied by the service we provide, that it is really worth it.
What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?
Trusting your team, which is not always easy but essential for a good working team and rewarding good initiatives. Listening skills are also necessary to anticipate any potential difficulty.
Who do you most admire and why?
The first person who comes to my mind is my wife who pursues a brilliant career in a globalized world where gender inequalities still subsist, Monaco not being spared by them.
Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?
I was in London a few months ago both for work and pleasure as I was invited by the International Advisory Experts for the presentation of an award to my firm. I also took this opportunity to enjoy some time with my wife.
If you weren’t in the wealth management industry, what else might you be doing?
I would have liked to work on resolving family and property issues in order to avoid future conflicts.
How do you relax after a long day?
I love cooking which is the best way to relax from my point of view, especially for my friends who often come home.
Best piece of advice for Generation Z?
Stay optimistic. You will have to face many challenges, especially due to climate change but despair never helps so stay optimistic and be players of the world you want to live in.