HFW bolsters Greek ship finance offering with Ince team hire

Ince’s Greek finance practice head Robin Parry joins alongside fellow partner Ronan Le DU and six more lawyers

Robin Parry (l) and Ronan Le Du Images courtesy of HFW

HFW has expanded its Greek ship finance offering with the hire of a team from Ince, led by partners Robin Parry and Ronan Le Du. 

Parry and Le Du each have decades of experience on ship finance matters and join HFW in Piraeus alongside a team of six lawyers and three business services professionals from Ince, where Parry was head of the finance practice in Greece.  

The team’s move to HFW follows the closure of Axiom Ince last October by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to protect client funds, with lawyers from the firm exiting for rivals including Birketts, Horwich Farrelly, Greenwoods and RPC. Meantime earlier this month Hill Dickinson launched a new office in Cyprus in association with former Ince shipping partners George Zambartas and Ester Toumpouris.   

The team’s move also follows HFW recruiting legal director and ship finance expert Antonella Karalis from Australian bank ANZ in Piraeus last summer and makes the firm one of the largest ship finance teams in Greece.  

“Robin and the team are go-to advisors for ship finance in Greece, and we are very pleased to welcome them to HFW,” said Dimitri Vassos, head of HFW’s Piraeus office.  

“Following Antonella’s arrival earlier this year, this is another significant step in the development of our transactional capabilities in Piraeus, to complement our strength in shipping litigation. We also see strong synergies between the new team and our global ship finance practice, and particularly with our teams in London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. We will look to continue to add partners and teams in Piraeus to further strengthen our offering to clients.”

Parry, Le Du and the team specialise in ship finance and transactional shipping matters, acting for Greek and international lenders, financiers and owners, including banks and investment funds. 

They advise on documenting and negotiating loan and security documentation for syndicated and bilateral, pre- and post-delivery financings and club deals, as well as on restructuring and rescheduling arrangements for existing facilities. 

Parry is ranked by The Legal 500 in the Hall of Fame for shipping finance in Greece, with Le Du ranked as one of the market’s four leading individuals. 

Parry commented: “HFW is the clear market leader for shipping globally – no other law firm has the same combination of sector expertise and international reach, thanks to its network of expert shipping teams around the world.   

“As a shipping lawyer, there is no finer place to work, and HFW gives our team the best possible platform on which to grow. We are very excited to work with HFW’s existing ship finance lawyers in Piraeus and as part of the wider global team to continue to build the practice.”

HFW’s shipping practice has more than 200 shipping lawyers and 13 master mariners, specialising in dry shipping, admiralty and crisis management, and transactional work for clients across the industry. 

The firm has added around 30 new partners globally since the start of FY23, including five that joined last November as part of a 20-lawyer team hire from MinterEllison across Australia and China to bolster the firm’s corporate, projects and regulatory offering in the region.   

HFW, which upped revenue by 13% to £225.3m in FY23 against a 17.5% jump in PEP to £786k – bucking the trend among UK law firms of revenue growth but flat PEP, also opened an office in Shenzhen Qianhai last summer to support its Greater Bay Area practice.   

The SRA took control of Axiom Ince – which was formed when regional UK firm AxiomDWFM bought Ince out of administration last April – after discovering that around £66m of client money was missing. 

On 14 November, the Serious Fraud Office made seven arrests and raided nine sites across the South East of England in connection with the firm’s collapse.

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