Tribute to the Scottish solicitor who as a GlobalScot became a leading light in the Hong Kong business community

Vincent Connor was a lawyer and beyond. He undoubtedly developed an outstanding reputation in the field of construction law both in Scotland and Hong Kong; however his contribution to society and life went far beyond the practice of law.

Although his mother passed away when Vincent was only nine, his father Stan (a Gliding Regiment veteran in Palestine, and ultimately a Strathclyde Police chief superintendent), his sister Pauline and brothers Arthur and Tony forged him into the dapper, multi-talented gentleman and lawyer that he became.

Vincent was an academic star from primary school in Kirkintilloch through to Glasgow University, where in 1987 he graduated with First Class Honours. He went on to train as a solicitor with Glasgow firm Hughes Dowdall, and in 1990, not long after qualifying as a Scottish solicitor, pivoted from general civil and criminal law and joined the leading construction law practice of McGrigor Donald in Glasgow. His blend of military-like organisational skill, desire for the theatre of advocacy, and superb relationship handling, ensured that by 1995 he was already a partner.

In 1996 he made partner again, this time by marrying Gillian. They were able to celebrate their Silver Wedding anniversary just weeks before his passing.

As a young boy in the early 70s his ambition was to be a spy. MI5 of course, no doubt influenced by early Bond, and it’s fair to surmise that Connor, Vincent Connor, would have excelled in the military or MI5 just as he excelled as a lawyer. Being a lawyer afforded the opportunity to wield his talents as an ambassador, diplomat, and advocate. Courage, opportunity, and a challenge always seemed to define him.

In 1998, despite being at the very top of his game and having a lot to lose by leaving McGrigor Donald, Vincent teamed up with a close friend (your author) to establish a Scottish law firm for the international London law firm of Masons (now Pinsent Masons).

Vincent seized the opportunity. There were only four lawyers at the start, but with his guidance, work ethic, advocacy skills, organisational capability, and relationship nous, it grew rapidly.

Although he made a huge success of the firm’s Scottish business, Vincent responded to another call of duty. In 2007 Vincent and Gillian left Scotland for Hong Kong, where he set about becoming a Hong Kong Scot, a Global Scot, and a leader of the Pinsent Masons Hong Kong office.

Apart from developing a stellar reputation as a construction and engineering lawyer in Hong Kong, resolving issues on some of the largest infrastructure projects in the region, Vincent somehow found the time to develop a wider societal contribution. He took on a number of external roles including chair of the International Infrastructure Forum of the British Chamber of Commerce, and honorary legal adviser to the Institution of Civil Engineers in Hong Kong. He sat on the advisory board of the Law Faculty at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Outside of Hong Kong he was a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

A proud Scot, Vincent’s contribution to Scotland as a Hong Kong Scot was incredible. He did a huge amount of work in promoting Scotland internationally, and particularly in Hong Kong. This was recognised in 2018 when he was inducted by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, into the GlobalScot Hall of Fame having been appointed as a GlobalScot as early as 2007.

Vincent was also a trustee of the Saltire Foundation, which supports high-flying Scottish graduates in securing international work experience opportunities, and chaired a council of Scottish business people in Hong Kong. He never forgot his first class legal education, and was an ambassador for Glasgow University and its alumni network in Hong Kong. On top of all that, he was a St Andrew’s Society committee member, often reciting and singing at Burns Suppers and other events.

Away from the office and his societal contributions, Vincent’s focus was on Gillian, and his enjoyment for life and fun was legendary. He was a drummer and vocalist in a gifted amateur rock band, The Basic Lawyers. He enjoyed travelling, hiking, learning Spanish, socialising, singing, and drumming.

Vincent’s star qualities held with him to the end. He took his courage to his illness and never seemed to let fear find a path. A Hong Kong Scottish man who made purposeful contributions in all walks of his life, he will be missed by his wife Gillian, his siblings Pauline, Arthur and Tony and their families, his friends, work, and society.

As he was fond of saying: “Make it so!” 

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