HFW lawyer Menalaus Kouzoupis is a man of parts …and undoubtedly someone you would like on your side in a fight.
Menelaus is Chair of the Training & Education Committee of the Young Maritime Professionals (YMP), an association formed under the banner of the London Shipping Law Centre last year.
Before joining HFW five years ago he was at the criminal bar and also used to run a boot camp, which, as he is also a black belt martial arts expert was no doubt a painful experience.
Undoubtedly his biggest challenge has been getting involved in setting up the YMP, which aims “to be sociable, to network with each other, and to educate”. A fluent Greek speaker he got involved with the YMP through Ted Zaimis of insurance brokers Seacurus. As it says on the tin, the YMP specifically targets younger members of the maritime industries, not just lawyers and its first few events have typically attracted attendance of 200+.
YMP is not out to compete with SPNL, the Shipping Professional Network London, on the face of it, a similar organisation. “YMP seeks to continue the work of the London Shipping Law Centre, but younger members of the LSLC found it difficult to network,” explains Menelaus. “We wanted to get away from the risk that LSLC was seen as an old fogies club and to combine our need to develop our business networks and our professional development. Many of our members are also involved with SPNL and both organisations give excellent opportunities to build the relationships we need to enjoy our jobs and do them well.”
“London has a huge maritime community and in recent years we haven’t made the most of it,” Menalaus says. “London has competition nowadays and, anyway, in the legal and claims communities, we and our clients need to be able to speak to each other. Relationships help us to resolve disputes commercially and amicably. Being able to pick up the phone is so much more powerful than faxes and emails.”
YMP individual membership is £55 and free for students. Members of LSLC automatically qualify for YMP membership as do staff of corporate LSLC members. The next YMP event is in the autumn and YMP’s soon-to-be-launched website will carry details: http://www.lslcymp.com/