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Eleanor Duprez

Associate, Shipping

Some of you may be fortunate enough to have a clear picture of what you want to do and you might even have a career plan set out to help you achieve those goals. It took me a while to work out what I wanted to do and to be honest, I think it will be a constant journey. I knew that I wanted a career that challenged me, where I would always be learning, and ideally working alongside people who I liked spending time with. I can truly say that my training contract at HFW has ticked all these boxes. I studied French with International Relations at university with a year abroad at a university in France. After graduating, I took a year out to decide what my next steps would be and in the meantime I worked at a well-known grilled chicken restaurant! I studied the GDL and LPC in London and then worked in the legal team at an international bank in London for a year and a half and then in Hong Kong for two years.

Whilst I was working in London, I applied for a training contract at HFW, having heard good feedback on the quality of the firm's work. I was particularly drawn to the offer of a guaranteed international secondment and the firm's strong litigation practice. I actually enjoyed my training contract interviews at HFW and that was when I realised that it was the place for me!

I started my training contract in the Shipping Litigation team in London. The firm's maritime expertise was immediately evident, especially in crisis management. I remember very clearly when my supervisor, both a lawyer and master mariner, was instructed on a high profile case that embodied the meaning of crisis. She handled everything so impressively and I watched in awe. A highlight was working on a case relating to arbitrator bias that was heard in the Supreme Court.

My second seat was an international secondment to the Hong Kong office working in commercial litigation. This gave me great exposure to the courts - in my first three days I was in court every day on different cases! I was able to work on a diverse range of matters, from fraud and insolvency, to shipping and criminal work.

Back in London, my third seat was in the Corporate team of the Energy & Resources group. Again, I had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of matters thanks to the team's broad experience, including projects, logistics, ports and terminals, oil and gas and general corporate work. I also gained exposure to the tender process which involved working with teams across the firm and improved my understanding of the sector.

I have just started my final seat in the Commodities Litigation group which is already looking to be a very interesting seat.

Throughout my training contract, I have been given a lot of responsibility and have always been involved in meetings with clients and counsel. This has made my training all the more valuable.

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