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Team of six joins firm to expand global Commodities and Shipping Group

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Dry Bulk,

Squire Patton Boggs has announced the appointment of partners Chris Swart and Katie Pritchard in the Commodities and Shipping Group. They join from Holman Fenwick Willan and are accompanied by director John Rollason, senior associate Gabriella Martin, and associates Joseph Magoon and Patrick Greaney.

Swart and his colleagues will play a key role in the leadership of the firm’s Commodities and Shipping Group, working closely with partners Barry Stimpson and Jessica Kenworthy, who recently joined the firm from Reed Smith.

Welcoming the team to the firm, Steve Mahon, global managing partner – clients and strategy, said: “With Chris, Katie and all our new colleagues, we have expanded our Commodities and Shipping Group to a best-in-class team with an enhanced global reach, able to support clients on the full range of commodities, shipping and finance issues. In the current crisis and the period of recovery that will follow, the Commodities and Shipping Group will work closely with the firm’s Corporate, Litigation and International Disputes Resolution Practices enabling complex problem solving and a full-service approach to clients in the sector.”

“Even before COVID-19,” commented Swart, “most commodities industries were restructuring as a result of technology, regulation and finance, with the legal services industry being challenged to adapt to provide much needed support. Now we are seeing an explosion in the demand for legal support and restructuring. The sale and shipment of goods remains essential to the global economy and its revival. With its truly global reach and extensive range of legal services, Squire Patton Boggs provides a fantastic platform for the development of the Commodities and Shipping Group to meet client requirements for support. We have found a very collaborative and entrepreneurial culture at the firm, which is a huge advantage.”

Swart has specialised in the areas of commodities, shipping and litigation, including international arbitration, for more than 20 years. Swart has been involved in some of the leading reported cases in these sectors. As well as advising many of the world’s leading commodities trading companies, he also advises a wide range of charterers, traders, insurers, SOE’s and banks as well as ship owners on corporate and commercial disputes (including global enforcement of debt and restructuring) and joint ventures. Bringing a multi-jurisdictional practice to the firm, he specialises in soft commodities, mining, as well as oil and gas. Swart established the commodities practice at Holman Fenwick Willanin 2002 - 2003 and served on that firm’s Management Board and global Strategy Board for many years. He played a key role in setting up its Geneva office in 2008, as well as the development of its commodities practice in Asia Pacific from 2013. He is ranked by the major legal directories for his work in the shipping and commodities sectors.

Pritchard’s practice is focused on international commodity trading and shipping and international commercial arbitration and litigation. She has a particular expertise in soft commodities and acting for grain trading houses. A former barrister herself, she has been involvement in a series of complex multi-party high court actions in London. Her court experience includes enforcing arbitration awards and agreements to arbitrate in the High Court and she regularly obtains anti-suit injunctions, asset disclosure orders and worldwide freezing orders.

Rollason is one of the leading global experts advising on GAFTA and FOSFA contracts, and frequently provides training for their members and GAFTA. Enforcing awards in challenging jurisdictions is a speciality. He advises and represents soft commodity, oil and gas, coal and petcoke clients from the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East in international arbitrations and court proceedings.

Martin is a rising star and fluent Mandarin speaker who has lived and studied in China, and worked in Singapore, Hong Kong and London. She is increasingly the 'go to' person for key clients in the US, Asia and Europe for both litigation and contractual support.

Squire Patton Boggs launched its Commodities and Shipping Group in November 2019, augmenting its venerable and highly recognised maritime and logistics practices. The global team provides a full range of legal services on all aspects of international trade and shipping and across all commodity sectors, including advice and assistance with transactions, corporate matters, trade finance, litigation and arbitration, regulatory matters, environmental law, renewable energy, derivatives and projects.

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