Holly Foster – Associate, Shipping (London)
Law – Cambridge
I was originally attracted to HFW because of its size and the nature of work it offered – it was not too big, nor too small and it had an international focus with a reputation as one of the top shipping firms in the world. I started as a Trainee at HFW in 2012, having read law at Cambridge University. My first seat was in insolvency litigation, where I became involved in a large and interesting fraud and offshore trust case. Immediately I was treated as a full member of the team, given large amounts of responsibility, attended client meetings and even took a role in case strategy.
My second seat was in the ship finance department where I was lucky to work on a large bond issue from the offset. It was rather a baptism of fire, but the experience I gained was invaluable and I developed a keen interest in transactional work. One of the great things about HFW is that if you prove you can handle responsibility, you will be given more of it and the firm's open-door policy helps to ensure that even when faced with something initially daunting, there are always people happy to lend a moment of their time.
For my third seat I moved to Singapore where I was able to do a mixture of corporate and contentious work. I enjoyed my time there so much (both in the office and out!) that when I was offered a second international secondment to the Piraeus office for my final seat, I decided to grab the opportunity. Working in the smaller international offices also allows you to tailor your training in a way that is not so easy in London due to its size, and during my final seat in Greece, I was able to again focus on transactional shipping work (which was where I had decided I would like to qualify) and gain valuable experience in a different market.
The quality of work in the Greek seat was exceptional and that combined with its friendly culture and proximity to numerous wonderful islands (!), convinced me that Greece was the place where I would like to qualify. I have now worked as part of the office's transactional team in Greece for two and a half years working directly for the Partners on a wide range of deals including financing, joint ventures and acquisition/investment fund structures and generally all matters shipping! Working in an international office often provides increased opportunity for junior Associates to get involved with the marketing and practice development side of the job and during my time here I have attended many conferences, client events and parties - most notably the biennial 'Posidonia' where the shipping world descends on Athens for a week of networking, presentations and late nights!
Having spent a wonderful couple of years in Greece, I have now decided to return to the firm's London office to rejoin their finance department. I am very much looking forward to working with the team in London again and to new challenges ahead.