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What sort of clients do you advise?
Our focus is very much on superyacht owners and lenders. Although we enjoy excellent relationships with all the major shipyards, we rarely if ever act for them. As a result our owner and bank clients can always be assured that their interests come first.
How did you end up in superyacht law?
I started my career engaged in commercial shipping law following qualification in London in 1996. Having spent some time abroad, I decided to return to London in 2003 which is when the opportunity to join the Yachts Team at Hill Dickinson came up. It struck me as an exciting opportunity to do something a little different from the mainstream marine work I had specialised in up to that point, and that’s exactly how it turned out. The fact that Hill Dickinson is the market leader in this area of work is a bonus.
What makes a good superyacht lawyer?
You need to have a genuine interest in the subject matter. Our owner clients in particular tend to be far more personally invested in their projects than they would be with virtually any other asset, and they like their lawyers to understand and share their passion. The other key is having a broad and deep knowledge of the market, which is what sets us apart from our competitors.
What do you most like about your job?
Aside from getting to see the yachts we work on, I think the most enjoyable aspect is meeting and spending time around the negotiating table with our owner clients. Many of them are household names, all of them highly successful in their field, and it’s always fascinating to see how they conduct a commercial discussion in what may well be quite an unfamiliar area for them.
What advice would you give to potential yacht buyers?
Try before you buy, and always take specialist advice.
Panos was originally engaged in both contentious and non-contentious work in the commercial shipping sector, but has focused on yacht work for most of his career. He has extensive experience acting for yacht owners and almost all of the major banks involved in the provision of finance for new build projects and second-hand yachts and is an acknowledged leader in this field. He also advises on the negotiation of construction agreements, sale and purchase work and other ship and yacht related regulatory issues. Panos is also admitted in Hong Kong.