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Joseph Malpas


I studied social anthropology at university, before completing the GDL. I then completed the LPC in London, after successfully applying directly for a training contract at HFW.

When completing the GDL, I particularly enjoyed contract law, and found that the majority of significant cases in this area relate to shipping and commodities, with HFW acting in many. I have also sailed from a young age, close to the busy ports of Felixstowe and Harwich, and so was naturally attracted to a career in the shipping sector. I feel very lucky to be both personally and intellectually stimulated by my work at HFW.

Training at HFW exposed me to an incredible range of high quality work and some brilliant personal experiences. One highlight came during my first seat in the Commodities team in London, where I worked on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) dispute that went to the High Court for a week-long trial. The Court considered key cases of contractual interpretation (the same I enjoyed studying at law school), and it was very interesting watching top barristers make submissions using the hearing bundles I had spent hours preparing.

I was also lucky enough to spend six months with the Shipping, Offshore and Logistics team in the firm’s Melbourne office, where I assisted in a substantial offshore energy dispute. Whilst the firm is notable for giving Trainees lots of responsibility, this was particularly the case during my time in Melbourne. I was tasked with leading the preparation of a key witnesses’ evidence with junior counsel, involving many long meetings with the witness to discuss significant documents and the facts of the matter. Despite the hard work, I also had plenty of time to enjoy the delights of Melbourne, such as watching the Australian Open, exploring the Great Ocean Road, and consuming as much artisan coffee and street food as possible.

I have now qualified into the Shipping, Offshore and Logistics team in London, and I am loving it. HFW is a firm where the standard of the lawyers and the work they do is top quality, but the atmosphere in the office remains relaxed and friendly. It has been great integrating into the team as a qualified lawyer, and getting my teeth into some fascinating matters, ranging from the "usual" charterparty and bill of lading disputes to piracy, (super)yacht theft, and fraud.

Besides matter-related work, I play football for the firm against client teams, and have competed in the Baltic Exchange’s Warwick Cup sailing competition in the Isle of Wight. I also recently played my first gig as drummer in the firm's "house band", which has been a great way to connect with clients through a shared love of music.

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