City firm Lovell White Durrant has reversed its decision made in the 1980s to create separate shipping and commodity departments.
Since this month the two departments have been operating under one roof as the commodities, trade finance and shipping department.
Partner Philip Quenby said: "In the 1980s we were seduced by the lure of specialisation. Since then we have realised the shipping and commodity departments overlap too much to be separated and our original decision to split was not as smart as we thought it was."
Quenby said the move was made in response to "huge" changes in the shipping world: the increasing importance of Asia, technological innovations in the North Sea, environmental concerns and the importance of new commodities. "We need an increasingly sophisticated structure in order to cope with these changes," he said.
The department's core team comprises three partners - Quenby, David Moss and Christian Wells - and six assistants. Robin Hallam has joined Lovells from Sinclair Roche & Temperley along with two assistants, as an aviation finance specialist working in conjunction with the new department.
The department will also be co-ordinating lawyers from other parts of the firm.
Ian Ward, a member of Lovell's shipping department for 20 years, has retired to join Holman Fenwick & Willan as a consultant.
Christopher Lockwood and Christopher Swart, previously of Lovells, have also joined Holmans as partners.