Chris Grieveson

Wikborg Rein

One of 2023’s defining stories was the downfall of Axiom Ince. The revered shipping and insurance firm had been struggling for a long time before it all became too much and the firm, sadly, closed its doors. Wikborg Rein London managing partner Chris Grieveson, however, spotted opportunity in this and successfully brought in 17 lawyers to bolster the Norwegian firm’s City office, expanding its existing shipping practice as well as adding a brand-new insurance practice. The hires represented a happy reunion for Grieveson who spent several years at legacy Ince & Co and was on hand to give his old colleagues a new home.

Office headcount, though, was just one strand of what made last year a success. The conclusion of a long-running case for Norwegian shipping operator Havila finally came to an end in August in what was a vital piece of work both for the client and communities in northern Norway that rely on the company’s ability to ship in food and post during the freezing winters. Havila had purchased a handful of ships using Russian financing which, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, became the subject of various sanctions. The scope of the work was enormous and covered the entirety of Europe, requiring Grieveson to collaborate with firms in Brussels, Dublin and Luxembourg, among others. Grieveson et al found a solution and, roughly 18 months after it began, finally solved the issue.