Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has elected partner Paul Dean as the new head of its global shipping practice and a member of the firm’s global Management Board.

HFW has also promoted four new shipping partners and three new shipping legal directors across its international network – the largest annual promotion round of senior shipping lawyers in the firm’s 136-year history. The firm promoted nine new partners overall, spanning offices in Europe and Asia-Pacific and all six of the firm’s global industry groups: aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance and shipping.

HFW’s market-leading shipping practice now comprises 59 partners and more than 190 lawyers across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. It provides specialist dry shipping, admiralty and crisis management, and transactional advice to clients across the industry, including shipowners and charterers, P&I Clubs, banks, international agencies, shipyards, marine insurance underwriters, governments and brokers.

Paul Dean, Global Head of Shipping, HFW:

“I am very proud to have been elected to head the world’s leading shipping and maritime law practice. We have been serving clients in the industry for more than 135 years and remain deeply committed to the sector, as illustrated by our record number of promotions this year. We have ambitious plans to further strengthen and broaden our global offering – particularly in relation to transactional work – to make sure that clients continue to receive the first-rate service they expect from HFW.”

Paul also heads HFW’s global offshore practice and previously led its oil and gas practice. He replaces former head of shipping Craig Neame, who has now returned to fee-earning.

HFW also elected new heads of its global commodities, construction and energy practices, and re-elected the heads of its aerospace and insurance practices.

This follows HFW’s election of a new global management team, with Jeremy Shebson elected as the firm’s new Managing Partner and Richard Crump re-elected for a fifth term as Global Senior Partner.


Christopher Garley: Shipping, London

Chris advises clients on “wet” and “dry” shipping disputes, focusing on issues arising from marine casualties including collisions, fires and groundings. He has particular expertise in containership casualties and incidents relating to the carriage of dangerous goods, acting for owners and charters on all aspects of the casualty response and related litigation, often requiring a multi-jurisdictional approach. Chris also advises on issues arising out of casualties including charterparty / VSA / slot charter and bill of lading disputes.

Alessio Sbraga: Shipping, London

Alessio specialises in international commercial dispute resolution in the marine and offshore sectors, covering issues relating to charterparties, bills of lading, sale contracts, shipbuilding, MOA, grounding, unsafe port, offshore (FSO, FPSO, FAU, rigs), bunker and cargo disputes. He also advises shipowners, charterers, ship managers, P&I clubs and hull underwriters on international maritime regulatory issues, and was recently a member of the BIMCO sub-committee responsible for drafting the organisation’s standard time charterparty clauses in response to the 2020 sulphur cap.

Gudmund Bernitz: Ship Finance, London

Gudmund specialises in international finance and commercial transactions, particularly involving the shipping and offshore sectors. Gudmund acts for a broad range of financial institutions, export credit agencies, owners and operators. He is dual qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales, and an Advokat in Sweden.

William MacLachlan: Ship Finance, London

William specialises in transactional shipping matters covering the full life cycle of a broad range of marine assets. He has particular expertise in ship sale and purchase, shipbuilding, ship repair and ship recycling, and also advises clients operating in complex security environments on contractual and regulatory matters. William is particularly focused on the cruise, ferry and yachting industries and acts for a range of stakeholders across these and the wider maritime industry. He was previously seconded to a leading European shipbuilder.


Philip Carney: Shipping, Piraeus

Philip advises clients on dry shipping issues. He is dual-qualified solicitor in England and Wales and as an abogado of the Barcelona Bar. He speaks Spanish, French and Greek.

Erica Chan: Shipping, Hong Kong

Erica’s practice focuses on transactional and regulatory advice, including M&A, joint ventures, shareholder agreements, ship finance, asset finance and general commercial matters. She also advises clients on international commercial litigation, focusing on banking disputes.

Alex Sayegh: Ship Finance, London

Alex specialises in the transactional aspects of the commercial shipping and yachting industries. He advises owners, shipyards and financiers on the construction, refit, repair, sale and purchase of various types of vessels, with a particular focus on contracts for the construction of new builds.