It was on William Harwood's return to London after practising in China that he and Henry Stephenson created the firm of Harwood & Stephenson in 1875. William brought with him an important regional connection, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation - and indeed, HSBC remains a major client of the firm to this day.
The firm's history can actually be traced back some sixty years earlier to 1828 with City law firm Tatham & Lousada. Tathams merged with Stephenson Harwood - as the firm was by then known - in 1920 to form Stephenson Harwood & Tatham, shortening its name back to Stephenson Harwood in 1977.
The firm's international expansion began in 1979 with the opening of its Hong Kong office. It gathered pace from the early 1990s onwards, as new offices were created in Guangzhou (1994), Piraeus (1996), Singapore (1996) and Paris (2001). In 2002, we merged with Sinclair Roche & Temperley, strengthening our corporate, finance, litigation and real estate capabilities, and extending our presence to Shanghai (office founded in 1993).
In 2009, the firm was named 'Law firm of the year' at the British Legal Awards. Two years later, in 2011, the firm won 'Chinese law firm of the year' at the ILO Client Choice Awards.
In recognition of the growing importance of China and the Middle East to Stephenson Harwood's work, the firm opened two new offices in 2012 - in Beijing and in Dubai.
These days, Stephenson Harwood is an international law firm with over 120 partners and 600 staff worldwide. With over twenty five per cent of our people operating out of China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, the Asia connection is stronger than ever. And from that first banking client some 130 years ago, we are proud today to work alongside many of the world's leading companies and institutions.