Law firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) is welcoming back a former employee from troubled UK group Ince.

WFW said maritime expert and asset finance lawyer Konstantinos (Dinos) Mexias has rejoined the firm as a partner in Athens.

Mexias spent nearly three years at Ince as a partner, after six years at WFW as a senior associate.

He brings with him a team of five asset finance lawyers and one paralegal, including counsel Anthi Kekatou and senior associate Ilias Tsigos.

Mexias is qualified in England and Wales, New York, Greece and the Marshall Islands.

He advises on all aspects of shipping finance, including loan financings and sale-and-leaseback transactions, with a focus on acting on behalf of shipping companies.

His brief also encompasses export credit agency-backed facilities, restructurings and loan portfolio transfers.

Mexias said: “I am excited to be returning to WFW. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to grow and enhance my practice both in terms of client relationships and the type of work undertaken.”

Anthi Kekatou. Photo: LinkedIn

“WFW’s unrivalled maritime sector reach complements my skillset perfectly and I look forward to collaborating with all my old colleagues across the firm’s international offices, including the capital markets team in New York and the London corporate practice.”

TradeWinds reported earlier on Tuesday that Ince’s global head of marine projects, Stuart McAlpine, has joined rival Stephenson Harwood, strengthening its ship and offshore finance practice.

McAlpine will work in London for his new company, after three-and-a-half years at Ince.

More defections

Already this month, three Ince lawyers and a trainee have agreed to join Penningtons Manches Cooper, joining a stream of talent from the group. Seven maritime law specialists left to join Birketts last week.

The departures come as reports emerged that its owner, Axiom Ince, is being investigated on suspicion of using client funds for a number of acquisitions made this year, including the buy-out of Ince from administration in April.

On Monday, it was reported that Axiom Ince has applied to the High Court in London giving notice of its intention to appoint administrators.

According to reports in The Law Society Gazette and The Lawyer, Devonshires Solicitors made the application at the weekend.

The website reported that the company is working to make good the £64m ($77.7m) hole in its client accounts.

The Ince & Co website has been closed down.

‘Superb lawyer’

Athens office head Alexia Hatzimichalis said: “I am delighted to welcome Dinos back to WFW Athens. He is a superb lawyer with a wonderful collaborative approach and an excellent market reputation in the ship finance market.

“His expertise in both English and Greek law matters will be a huge asset to the Athens team, as will his experience advising on Marshall Islands and Liberian law. I look forward to working with him again, as well as with his team.”