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Robert Wilson is to become senior partner at maritime firm Holman Fenwick & Willan, taking over from Archie Bishop, the firm's senior partner for the past 12 years.
Wilson, who is currently finance partner, has been with the firm for 25 years and will formally take over the post on 1 November. He says that his aim is to continue expanding the firm, which has 200 lawyers and offices in China, Singapore and France.
He rules out any immediate move to merge but admits that he will be "keeping an eye on" the sector and possible merger moves elsewhere.
"We would prefer to continue on our own, but we are conscious of consolidation in the industry," he says.
Wilson says that the firm's leveraging would be unlikely to change substantially under his leadership. "We are an extremely partner-led practice and our partners are not project managers," he says.
"We might see leveraging raised a little but basically shipping is partner intensive work."
Departing senior partner Bishop will stay with the firm and says he is stepping down in the interests of "fresh energy and commitment".
Holman Fenwick has one of the largest admiralty and marine litigation practices in the world. Its litigation department accounts for 50 per cent of its work.