The partners at Bargate Murray would not describe their firm as a ’super-yacht boutique’, but it is hard not to reach that conclusion.
Senior partner Quentin Bargate says the firm’s major practice area is super-yachts. At least it makes a change from corporate, litigation or real estate.
“No, it’s not exactly what you’d traditionally call a practice area,” agrees Bargate, “but in fact we do have a super-yacht group. I’d say more than half my time is spent advising on matters relating to super-yachts.”
The very words conjure an almost impossibly glamorous image of gleaming 90-foot monsters cruising through crystal waters, usually captained by oligarchs. “We do have a number of oligarchs as clients,” admits Bargate. “But there is also a much wider range of commercial clients, not all of which are related to yachts.”
Bargate Murray in its present incarnation was established in 2006 with the arrival of Andrew Murray, after Bargate, formerly head of international trade and shipping at Simmons & Simmons, had in 2004 launched his own firm, Quentin Bargate & Co.
Murray had been a partner at City firm Constant & Constant, focusing on shipping advisory and finance work. Together the pair launched Bargate Murray, a firm with super-yachts at its core, but with additional expertise in litigation, commercial and employment matters. The latter group launched last year when the firm’s third partner came on board.
“Philip Henson joined us last July from Magrath & Co and set up the employment practice,” says Bargate.
Bargate says that, although the recession has had an impact on his firm’s core maritime business, the predominantly oil-related wealth flowing through the Middle East should ensure plenty of super-yacht work for the foreseeable future.
“If you speak to the big yards they’ll tell you things are picking up,” Bargate states.
An unusual barometer of global financial health maybe, but possibly an accurate one.
Senior partner: Quentin Bargate
Number of partners:Three
Number of lawyers:Five
Number of fee-earners:Six
Main practice areas:Company and commercial, employment, litigation
Key clients: Made Simple Group, Manse & Garrett, MTU, Trinity Conferences, Westbury
Number of offices:One