Skip to main content

Open Menu

A Day in the Life of an HFW Trainee

Johanna Ohlman



I arrive at the office early as I want to finish off a draft advice that I was working on yesterday. I have now received comments from my supervisor that I incorporate into the draft along with a section drafted by another partner in the Shipping team. The advice concerns the legal status of the international maritime boundaries between two states. I send off the finalised version of the advice for approval so that it can be sent to the clients by noon. I also review emails that have come in overnight on an ongoing salvage case and file any new documents. With large marine casualty cases it is important to keep the case file up to date so that the team always has access to the latest available information and so that the documents can be referred to later on, for example during arbitration proceedings.


I grab a cup of tea with another trainee and catch up about how our days are going while enjoying some birthday cake kindly brought in by a member of the team.


An associate pops by my office and asks that I make enquiries for fee quotes and time estimates for the translation of a transcript of a vessel's voyage data recorder (VDR). The VDR transcript can serve as crucial evidence in vessel collision cases and it is important that a certified translator translates it. I send off enquiries to a number of translation service providers and answer a follow-up call from one of them to clarify some queries on the request.


I start a research task that a partner gave me yesterday on a client query relating to discharging cargo upon presentation of a fraudulent bill of lading. I review the main textbooks on bills of lading and download copies of relevant judgments that I will read and summarise in order to lay out the current position of the law in relation to the client's specific issue. I will not have time to finish the research today but am happy to have made a start and will be able to continue it tomorrow morning.


I bring my packed lunch down to the HFW canteen and join a table of trainees for a quick chat.


I am assisting the HFW Piraeus office this afternoon with attending and taking a note of a Case Management Conference (CMC) at the Business and Property Courts. The supervising partner and I depart from the office to be in good time for the hearing that starts at 14:00. I have time beforehand to receive an update on the developments in the case and what to focus on when note taking. The attendance note will assist the rest of the Piraeus team who cannot attend the hearing in person.


Attending court is a very engaging way of gaining litigation experience and seeing how judges reason when presented with arguments from both parties. On the way back to the office I send a quick email from my mobile summarising the main points from the CMC to the Piraeus team. Once I am back at my desk I clean up and proofread my attendance note and send this off as well.


I review the emails that came in while I was at court. I note that the different translators have come back to me with fee quotes and time estimates for the requested translation work. I compile these into a table and send it to the associate for their review.


I leave the office to attend an event jointly hosted by HFW's Shipping and Insurance teams. The event is aimed at lawyers and clients at the early stages of their careers and is a great opportunity to meet and network with younger professionals in the shipping industry. It is also nice to catch up with the trainees and associates in the Insurance team that I have not seen in a while.

Follow Us