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Diving into a legal career

Legal Abbreviations

PQE – Post Qualification Experience
SQE – Solicitors Qualification Examination(s)
LPC – Legal Practice Course
QWE – Qualifying Work Experience
CPR – Civil Procedure Rules

Working in the Law – Types of employer and types of shipping law

Private Practice (Law Firms)

Contentious = Handling Disputes (Dispute Resolution)

  • Litigation
  • Arbitration
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation and conciliation


  • Finance
  • Company law
  • Transactional work

Dry Shipping (contractual work)

  • Charterparties (vessel performance, unsafe ports, delays, on/off-hire, laytime & demurrage, bunker payments, etc etc)
  • Ship arrest
  • Cargo claims / bill of lading work
  • General shipping contract work

Commodities / International Trade

  • Buying and selling of goods / cargo
  • Letters of credit

Wet Shipping (also known as Admiralty, also known as Casualty)

  • Bumps and scrapes
  • Pollution, collisions, groundings, sinkings, salvage, explosions/fires, etc

Ship Finance (sale & purchase and newbuildings) also known simply as ‘asset finance’

Construction & Conversions (Shipbuilding, Offshore Construction, Conversion of ships to offshore facilities)

Marine insurance and reinsurance

P&I (marine liability insurance)


Energy and Oil & Gas is something we’re starting to do more of.

P&I Clubs

P&I clubs are (for the most part) mutual marine insurers (mutual meaning that they are owned by the ‘members’ who insure with them). Other than law firms, they employ more shipping lawyers as P&I and / or FD&D Claims Handlers than any other type of employer.

Staff employed by P&I clubs:

  • P&I Claims Handlers
  • FD&D Claims Handlers (legal expenses cover, known as “defence work” but actually providing legal costs for both pursuing and defending claims not otherwise covered by P&I itself). FD&D stands for freight, demurrage and defence which is historical terminology really.
  • Underwriters
  • Loss Prevention Staff

In-House employers

Employment with any of the following:

  • Shipowner
  • Oil Major
  • Charterer / Trader
  • Port
  • Regulatory body
  • Insurance company / insurance broker
    …… any many more
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