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May Tai

May is the first woman to become Asia Managing Partner of Herbert Smith Freehill, leading a team of approximately 600 people across nine offices in Asia. She is the partner sponsor of the Gender Equity Matters (GEM) Network and plays an integral part in creating a more diverse and inclusive working environment at her firm, and promoting and protecting individual rights in Hong Kong. May represented Herbert Smith Freehills’ Hong Kong office to sign the Fair Hiring Pledge, encouraging employees in Hong Kong to hire domestic workers fairly. Under May’s leadership, the firm signed a government-led Code of Practice against Discrimination in Employment on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation in 2018. This code was to facilitate self-regulation on the part of employers to eliminate the discriminatory practices. In addition to this, May has been teaching “International Arbitration in the Asia-Pacific region” at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.

Justin D’Agostino

This year, Justin championed the introduction of a market-leading shared parental leave policy which is available to the firm’s employees across its nine Asia offices, supporting all parents, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or other circumstances. The policy creates a ground-breaking “sharing” arrangement that allows working parents to organise their families as they see fit rather than being cast in typical “maternity” and “paternity” gender roles. Justin is also focused on breaking down barriers that prevent women from reaching the highest levels, advocating for the introduction of gender targets in the firm, resulting in 33% women in the Asia partnership. He was instrumental in the introduction of new, stretch global targets in May 2019, stating that women will comprise 35% of the global partnership and partner leadership roles by 2023. Justin is also a personal sponsor and mentor to numerous high-performing women across the firm, and Executive Sponsor of the firm’s IRIS (LGBT+) Network, and led the development of the firm’s Asia Multicultural Network in 2018. Beyond Herbert Smith Freehills, Justin is a member of the 30% Club HK as well as BritCham’s HK Women in Business Committee, through which he acts as a vocal ally and champion of gender equity across Hong Kong.

May Tai

May, the first female managing partner in Asia, has been instrumental in creating a more diverse and inclusive working environment at her firm, and promoting and protecting individual rights in Hong Kong. In 2018, May led the firm to sign up to a Code of Practice against Discrimination in Employment on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation. She has simplified and updated the firm’s agile working policy to allow more flexible and efficient ways of working for employees. The firm has also seen improvements in terms of maternity and paternity leave policies under May’s leadership. May represented the firm’s Hong Kong office to sign the Fair Hiring Pledge, committing the firm to encouraging their employees in Hong Kong to hire domestic workers fairly. Externally, May is passionate about nurturing new generations of legal talent including a number of young female lawyers-to-be, and she leads the firm’s efforts in developing home-grown PRC lawyers under the firm’s PRC Scholarship Programme.