A key Richards Butler shipping partner who acted in the well known Koch Shipping case will leave the firm this week to launch his own niche shipping litigation practice
It is a move that George Arghyrakis, who has been at the firm for almost 15 years, has been planning for some time. He expressed uncertainty about the sustainability of large shipping departments as clients become more cost-conscious. This is exemplified in the Value for Money report by the worlds largest protection and indemnity (P&I) club, which complained of disproportionate costs and the need to harmonise rates (The Lawyer, 20 January). He also referred to significant pressures on fee-earners, and a feeling that large shipping departments were becoming more corporate and procedure conscious. I dont think its beneficial for things to work on such lines. An element of flexibility, controlled by the partner, is whats required, he said. Arghyrakis takes an impressive list of clients to his new firm, which opens for business this Friday (31 January). They include major Greek shipowners such as European Navigation, Star Marine Management and Styga, Turkish shipping line Deval Shipping and US trader ConAgra. He also acts for the principal P&I clubs, including West of England, North of England and Thomas Miller. He acted for Koch on a case until allegations (which proved to be unfounded) of a conflict of interest arose, when a lawyer who had been acting for the other side joined Richards Butler. Koch transferred the case to Middleton Potts as a result. He will be joined at Arghyrakis & Co by his assistant Michael Harakis.