Holman Fenwick bolsters French shipping practice

Shipping firm Holman Fenwick & Willan has opened its third office in France in the port of Nantes.

The office will be headed by French avocat, Helene Cadiet, who joins from local firm Menard Quimbert & Associes.

London partner Michael Donithorn said that the initiative had been driven by the firm's Paris office which was keen to exploit the growing regionalisation of the French shipping market.

“The feeling of the French operation was that quite a lot of the shipping market has moved into provincial mode and out of Paris,” he said.

He added that some major shipping companies, such as Unitramp and Societe Delamas Vieljeux, had recently moved their operations to the north west of France.

Responding to this trend, the firm set up four years ago in Rouen which is situated to the north of Nantes and was “keeping in mind” the idea of setting up offices in other regional locations.

Holman Fenwick & Willan was one of the first UK firms to establish itself in France with an office in Paris in 1977. It currently has 17 lawyers in the country, most of whom are French-qualified.