Shipping lawyer George Arghyrakis is going it alone but in what he hopes
will be a slightly different way.
Arghyrakis, a partner at international law firm Richards Butler for the last
eight years, threw open the doors of much smaller offices this week at premises
near London's Fleet Street.
But it is not set to be a one-man show. Arghyrakis, 44, says he plans to expand
the business rapidly to five partners within the next three years.
"I want to work with my friends," he said, adding darkly: "I
have people in my sights".
Arghyrakis says he has no particular philosophy about his new venture but he
wants to be able to operate more freely and naturally. He does not want to be
too economical in style, and is convinced that a small company can be more flexible,
although he admits to some initial nervousness that clients would only be interested
in working with big names.
Arghyrakis believes the larger law firms have become cumbersome to deal with
for today's shipping players, with different business sectors creating internal
tensions and slowing the process.
In his time in the practice, he has seen clients' business change, with ships
becoming more modern and owners increasingly safety conscious. There are not so
many collisions and salvage claims as in the past.
He says the increased transparancy of port-state control (PSC) detentions has
become a trigger for action. But overall, there is less litigation and owners
prefer to settle rather than go for costly arbitration.
Arghyrakis says he likes ships and everything about them, from the commercial
to technical aspects. But he says his hands-on experience is confined to sailing
a Wayfarer dinghy on holiday in Greece and a brief encouter with a 120,000-dwt
A fan of writers with a maritime flair such as Joseph Conrad and Patrick O'Brien,
Arghyrakis says he would like to sail on a VLCC to get a taste of what daily life
at sea is really like.
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