Stephenson Harwood's senior partner, David Slade, is due to step down this week to return to his Greek shipping practice and develop the client base.
Slade will be based in the Piraeus office near Athens, where he will continue to expand the practice and build on work from the Croatian shipping industry.
His replacement has not yet been chosen. Chief executive John Pike says the other partners are still voting.
At the time of his appointment in May 1996, Slade said: “I think the international connections I have made through my shipping connections are why I was made senior partner.”
He was head of the shipping department before being appointed senior partner.
Slade has been with the shipping practice from the start more than 10 years ago, and was instrumental in its growth in the UK and internationally.
In 1995 he was influential in luring eight shipping lawyers from a rival firm, Sinclair Roche Temperley, to Stephenson Harwood. These included his brother Robin, who became a partner.