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Norton Rose Fulbright makes shipping play with Monaco opening

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) is planning to increase its European shipping and transport offering by launching an office in Monaco.

The firm will open as Norton Rose Fulbright Monaco having gained permission to open in the principality. The firm is looking to build on its shipping and maritime practice in the region.

The office will become NRF’s 54th worldwide and its 13th in Europe. The firm listed as a Monaquese company in September with an office set to open in early 2017.

The firm’s new office will be led by finance lawyer and head of Greece Dimitri Sofianopoulos, who will serve the firm’s shipping and finance clients.

NRF Europe, Middle East and Asia managing partner Martin Scott said: ‘Our shipping and finance practice is widely regarded as a global leader and, as much of its work is derived from businesses located in the principality, it makes sense for us to establish a base there from which to provide an enhanced service to our clients.’

NRF global head of transport Harry Theochari told Legal Business: ‘Shipping and transport has been at the heart of this Firm since it was founded.  We’ve got more than 3,600 legal staff around the world of which over 400 are involved with shipping and transport. Despite the shipping downturn we have continued to invest in our shipping and wider transport practice.’

NRF joins Ince & Co, Hill Dickinson and Gowling WLG as international law firms with offices in the area. Ince was one of the first international firms to launch in the city in 2011 as Ince & Co Monaco SARL. The firm’s office specialises in shipping, yachts and superyachts and commodities trading.

Gowlings’ office specialises in private client work in the country, advising high net worth clients from Russia, Saudi Arabia and China. Hill Dickinson’s office was launched in 2013, servicing the firm’s yacht clients.

The additional European office comes after a renewed period of North American expansion for the global firm. NRF most recently announced a tie up with Vancouver firm Bull, Housser & Tupper, adding the 92-lawyer practice to NRF’s Canadian arm in the its third tie up in the country.

In June the firm also expanded its public finance practice and opened in San Francisco with a team of 17 lawyers, including six partners, from Sidley Austin.