The Lawyer UK 200 Rank28

HFW – still officially Holman Fenwick Willan – was established in 1884 and is a law firm rooted in the shipping, trade, commodities and insurance sectors. In 2003, however, the firm launched a grass-roots reorganisation of the firm’s departments in an attempt to dispel its image as a shipping practice. The previous departments (commercial one, two and three; non-contentious; international; admiralty; and insurance and reinsurance) were reorganised into trade and energy; commercial; international; shipping; and insurance. At the same time

HFW – still officially Holman Fenwick Willan – was established in 1884 and is a law firm rooted in the shipping, trade, commodities and insurance sectors.

In 2003, however, the firm launched a grass-roots reorganisation of the firm’s departments in an attempt to dispel its image as a shipping practice. The previous departments (commercial one, two and three; non-contentious; international; admiralty; and insurance and reinsurance) were reorganised into trade and energy; commercial; international; shipping; and insurance. At the same time the firm appointed its first ever managing partner, Greg Gray.

Holman Fenwick Willan was the first UK law firm to relocate its leader to Asia when, in 2014, senior partner Richard Crump moved permanently to Singapore in a bid to grow its Asia practice.

The firm now has 17 offices in addition to London, the older ones typically being in key shipping locations; the more recently opened ones evidence of the firm’s desire to be known in other areas. A merger with eight-partner Texan civil litigation boutique Legge Farrow Kimmitt McGrath & Brown in 2017, for example, gave the firm an office in Houston and further capability in energy work.

Despite reasonable financial success the firm had a reputation as being rather low-key and old-fashioned and, in an attempt to spruce up the firm’s image, it rebranded from Holman Fenwick Willan to HFW in 2017.

Appointed Senior partner Managing partner
1988  Archie Bishop
 2000  Robert Wilson
2003  Greg Gray  Roderick O’Sullivan
 2007  Richard Crump
 2013  George Eddings
 2015  Marcus Bowman