A discussion with Mrs. Evi Platsidaki Senior Associate ,Solicitor, qualified in England & Wales - Norton Rose Fulbright, Greece
Real Time Graduates - Questions for Interviews
- What will you advise a young graduate who starts his professional career in shipping?
My advice would be to keep yourself informed of shipping news and developments so as to be “in the know” and develop a sense of the industry’s issues and players.
- What are the most important qualifications a person should have to work in the shipping sector?
Firstly, an international outlook – you need to be aware of what’s going on in the world and the sensitivities of working with different nationalities.
Secondly, a code of ethics that will ensure best practices not least because shipping is a close knit community therefore it is crucial to ensure ethical behavior (confidentiality / no conflict etc).
Finally, be ready to think on your feet – expectations are high and there’s no time to waste!
- Why did you decide to work in the shipping sector?
Mainly because of its international nature, global outreach and the flexibility it provides in working in different countries if one chooses. This has indeed materialised in my work as a solicitor – I have been lucky to work in London, Hong Kong and Greece and to travel to many others for work. But more than that, I value the fact that not a day goes by that I don’t speak to people from all around the world and always have to have an eye abroad.
- What do you remember from your first years working in shipping?
I remember it feeling like a large industry that would be difficult to really be part of, while in fact it very quickly felt like an extended family.
- Do you think that the shipping community needs to embrace new practices to attract young talent in the shipping sector?
I think a lot of shipping companies are already embracing a more corporate approach, which is appealing to young professionals.
However, I think it can often seem as if there are many barriers to entry. So in terms of recruitment and reaching out to young professionals, I think it would be great to see (a) more representatives of the industry networking with schools and universities and (b) more transparency and ways to connect in the spirit of RTG.
- What are the most important changes that occurred in the shipping sector the last five years?
The environmental regulations that vessels are increasingly asked to comply with and the lack of liquidity (partly caused by banking regulations) which has changed the shipping finance landscape and arguably caused a consolidation of the shipping market.
- What do you think about the situation of Maritime Education in Greece?
It certainly produces very capable officers but would benefit from a modern vision and adopting best practices from other countries.
- What changes do you believe that the new generation of shipping executives can bring to the traditional shipping sector?
A more corporate and structured approach to management and the use of new technologies.
- How important are internships to both the graduates and the shipping companies?
Certainly very important as it gives the graduates an insight into what it’s really like from the inside as well as the differences between work environments if they get an opportunity to see a few.
For the shipping companies, if an internship is structured properly they can gain from having an extra pair of hands and also identify the talent that they want to retain.
- If you were to give advice to your younger self, regarding your professional life, what would it be?
Make the choice that gives you the most flexibility and if you have an opportunity to do something, try it out first before rejecting it.
- Do you think the shipping community can be more helpful, towards young graduates?
It would be great to see more graduate events being held to spread the word of opportunities available. At school I don’t recall “shipping” being on students’ radar in the same way as being an accountant or a lawyer is.
- What does your daily schedule from the moment you wake up, look like?
One of the first things I do is check my emails to make sure nothing occurred overnight that I need to attend to urgently (different time zones means others are working while you sleep and that sometimes means that you don’t sleep either!).
Then I spend some time with my two year old son over breakfast and while getting ready.
As soon as I get in the car, I’m usually on the phone with my colleagues about things we need to get done or to answer their questions – this way we get things going quicker and I can take on other tasks once in the office.
At the office, the first few hours are usually fire fighting i.e. attending to various things such as responding to emails / discussing matters with clients / instructions to the team / resolving urgent issues that have come up etc.
The afternoon is usually when I can get down to doing detailed legal work e.g. drafting and reviewing documents. I will also have to attend signing meetings and conference calls as these come up.
The day at the office usually ends with work that has been completed being sent out to clients, on which I follow-up with calls on my way home.
Then it’s family time, dinner and bedtime for my son. I can sometimes fit in some exercise but usually that’s left for the weekend.
I often catch up on some more work in the evening (the perks of technology allow me to access my work computer from home) before winding down, often with an episode of a series or some stand-up comedy on Netflix.
Oh and of course check my emails again!
- If you were not in Shipping, what would you like to do?
I could imagine myself in academia or education.
- What relaxes you?
Swimming, yoga and travelling – I switch gears the minute I’m on a plane / ferry / car.
- If you were to advise a young person to NOT do one thing in their professional life, what would that one thing be?
Don’t cut corners - try your best and you can be sure that it will lead you somewhere good!