Hill Dickinson secures former Ince team for Cyprus office launch

Shipping partners George Zambartas and Ester Toumpouris join alongside trio of associates and existing support team

Limassol, Cyprus Shutterstock

UK-headquartered law firm Hill Dickinson has expanded its international network with a new office in Limassol, Cyprus.  

The new office has been launched in association with former Ince & Co shipping partners George Zambartas and Ester Toumpouris. 

Their law firm – named Hill Dickinson in association with G Zambartas – previously traded as Ince and Ince Consultancy (Cyprus). The move over to Hill Dickinson follows the closure of Axiom Ince last October by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to protect client funds, with lawyers from the firm moving over to rivals including Birketts, Horwich Farrelly, Greenwoods and RPC. 

The head of Hill Dickinson’s marine business group, Tony Goldsmith, said the new team was “an excellent addition” to the firm’s international marine group. “The full-service shipping team [in Limassol] will continue to strengthen our longstanding client relationships and networks in Cyprus, Greece and further afield,” he added.  

Zambartas will serve as head of the new office, with Toumpouris acting as deputy head. They have been joined for the launch by a pair of senior associates, an associate and their existing support team.  

Zambartas brings more than 30 years’ legal experience and is expected to help bolster Hill Dickinson’s international marine services offering across commercial, corporate and maritime matters. He advises on ship finance matters, including as Cyprus law counsel for domestic and international banks, and has extensive experience advising on cross-border acquisitions and joint ventures for shipping and corporate clients. 

Meantime Toumpouris previously spent more than 12 years with Ince in London and will strengthen Hill Dickinson’s shipping and international trade offering. She advises on complex multi-jurisdictional litigation and represents clients in arbitrations and before the English High Court. She acts for shipping clients including ship managers, owners, charterers, traders, maritime service providers and P&I clubs. 

Jasel Chauhan, head of Hill Dickinson’s Piraeus office, said: “George and Ester’s profile, client base and rapport with the team in Piraeus made them a natural fit at Hill Dickinson.  

“Having grown our presence significantly in Greece over the last five years, developing a local presence in Cyprus was the natural next step, reinforcing our commitment to our local Greek and Cypriot client base.” 

The team’s arrival follows Hill Dickinson securing a 10-strong team from Ince Hong Kong last October to bolster its marine and shipping bench. Ince Hong Kong operates independently of Ince & Co but has experienced a string of departures in recent months, including the loss of a team of shipping lawyers to Stephenson Harwood

The SRA took control of Axiom Ince – which was formed when regional UK firm AxiomDWFM bought Ince out of administration in 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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