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HFW continues Paris office, global shipping and export finance growth with team hire

29 April 2024

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its Paris office and its global shipping and export finance practice with the hire of Partner Paolo Pinna and Associate Constance Ollat.

Paolo and Constance join HFW on 2 May from Norton Rose Fulbright.

This follows HFW’s recent recruitment of a leading ship finance team in Piraeus led by Partners Robin Parry and Ronan Le Du, and its recruitment in Paris of an international arbitration team led by Partners Julien Fouret and Gaëlle Le Quillec, of M&A and private equity Partner Thomas Forin, and of restructuring Of Counsel Armelle Loste.

HFW has been in Paris since 1977 and now has more than 50 lawyers advising on maritime and air transportation issues, insurance and reinsurance, industrial risks, infrastructure and construction, energy, international trade, and commodities, as well as commercial disputes, corporate, finance, and private equity.

Jean-Marc Zampa, Paris Office Head, HFW:

“Paolo and Constance have worked closely together for many years, and are excellent additions to HFW, continuing the strengthening of our transactional capabilities in Paris. They are recognised players in the market and bring significant experience and expertise not just in ship finance, which is a key growth area for the firm globally, but also in other areas that align with the finance work we do in Paris, Geneva, and across Europe, such as export finance, aviation finance, yacht finance, sustainable finance, infrastructure finance, and commodity finance. We are very pleased to welcome them to the team.”

Paolo is an ECA finance and shipping finance specialist. He advises on English, French, Italian law and the international aspects of banking and finance transactions, including asset finance (shipping, aviation, and rail), ECA and project finance, infrastructure finance, structured finance (securitisation and derivatives), lease transactions, and restructuring.

He has particular experience acting for banks, financial institutions, and ECAs, as well as corporate borrowers on complex domestic and cross-border finance transactions, including the structuring, negotiating, drafting, and reviewing of a wide range of contracts and agreements. Paolo’s experience also extends to ESG, green loans, and sustainability-linked loans, including advising on the development of ESG criteria in financing transactions.

Paolo was previously Senior Legal Counsel at Italian export credit agency SACE S.p.A., giving him significant experience in export credit financing, and he also spent time on secondment in a senior in-house role at BNP Paribas.

He is ranked as a ‘rising star’ in The Legal 500, with client testimonials praising his “great mastery, diplomacy, and experience”.

Paolo is a native Italian speaker and is also fluent in English and French.

Paolo Pinna, Partner, HFW:

“HFW has the world’s largest shipping practice and is the clear market leader across wet and dry shipping. It is building a formidable ship finance team across its large international network, and I’m excited and proud to be joining a thriving firm that shares my values of client service, that has a strong culture of entrepreneurialism and cooperation between partners, and where I can really help shape the practice’s growth and future success.

“This move represents a significant milestone in my career and in my commitment to delivering exceptional legal services and personalised attention to clients. HFW is exceptionally well-positioned to provide tailor-made innovative solutions, proactive strategies, and steadfast advocacy on behalf of our clients. I very much look forward to working with my colleagues across the firm’s offices.”

HFW has been advising clients across the shipping industry on the full range of dry shipping, admiralty and crisis management, and transactional work for more than 140 years, and has over 200 shipping lawyers and Master Mariners throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. It has more top-tier rankings for shipping in legal directories Chambers and The Legal 500 than any other law firm, and is recognised by The Times as one of the market’s top maritime practices.

Paul Dean, Global Head of Shipping, HFW:

“This is another important hire for our global shipping transactional offering, coming hot on the heels of our new team in Greece. We will continue to target leading partners and teams in key markets across our international network, as we seek to build the world’s number one shipping transactional practice, to match our preeminent position in shipping disputes.”

Paolo and Constance’s arrival continues a period of sustained growth for HFW globally, with the firm adding more than 30 new Partners since the beginning of FY23, including team and Partner hires in Hong KongLondonMelbourneParisPerthPiraeusRiyadhSingapore, and Sydney.

HFW also launched an office in Shenzhen in 2024 to support its clients in China’s Greater Bay Area.

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