Global law group HFW has announced a change at the top of its shipping practice as it creates a record number of new partners.

The company said partner Paul Dean has been elected head of its global maritime operation and a member of the management board.

Dean also heads HFW's global offshore practice and was previously head of oil and gas.

He replaces former head of shipping Craig Neame, who has now returned to fee-earning.

The company told TradeWinds that Neame had wanted to return to practice after his management spell.

Dean said: "I am very proud to have been elected to head the world's leading shipping and maritime law practice. We have been serving clients in the industry for more than 135 years and remain deeply committed to the sector, as illustrated by our record number of promotions this year.

"We have ambitious plans to further strengthen and broaden our global offering – particularly in relation to transactional work – to make sure that clients continue to receive the first-rate service they expect from HFW."

New partners

The firm has also promoted four new shipping partners and three new shipping legal directors globally.

The shipping practice now comprises 59 partners and more than 190 lawyers across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

The changes follow the election of a new global management team after managing partner Marcus Bowman decided in January to retire.

Jeremy Shebson took over on 1 April.

Christopher Garley and Alessio Sbraga are the new shipping partners, while Gudmund Bernitz and William MacLachlan are the new ship finance partners. All are based in London.