Meet the officer: Patrick Holloway, Co-Vice Chair

Thursday 7 September 2023

Patrick Holloway
Webber Wentzel, Cape Town

How did you get into the law/your area of practice? Why did you become a lawyer?

In my final year at high school, I undertook an assessment at a university where my aptitudes and interests were assessed, and it was suggested that becoming a lawyer was a good option. I was fortunate to be accepted for articles with a law firm in Cape Town that had a maritime practice and to have a mentor who, appreciating my love for the sea and things that float on it, included me in many of his matters, as well as entrusting me with matters that really interested me. He also encouraged me to register for post graduate studies in shipping law.

If you were not a lawyer, what would you do?

A professional racing yachtsman and/or an architect.

What advice would you give someone new to your area of practice/your jurisdiction/being a lawyer?

To undertake postgraduate studies in maritime law and to learn as much about the commercial side of your clients' businesses as possible, focusing on those businesses and aspects of those businesses that really interest you.

How has your role changed post-Covid-19?

I do not believe my role has changed, however, the way I conduct my practice has changed dramatically. I have attended far fewer face-to-face consultations, meetings, seminars and conferences, as the virtual world has become the new norm. I also work from home most days of the week, or from my game lodge, which would never have been accepted pre-pandemic.

What area of your work do you enjoy the most?

I particularly enjoy urgent matters, be they in the way of casualty-related matters or urgent applications, as having an attention deficit disorder, they really get me focused and fired up.

What are the current challenges facing your area of practice?

We no longer have the large volume of relatively low value claims work, which I cut my teeth on, especially in the damaged cargo space. The days of young lawyers having to manage dozens of files, which involved the institution of actions by way of arresting ships on a regular basis and preparing matters for trial and litigating them are gone, due largely to containerisation. It is accordingly difficult to teach young lawyers a trade, as it were, as they more often than not are a team member on large complex matters and seldom are given the responsibility to stand alone on their own feet and to think for themselves, which is something I focus on and encourage them to do.

If you could put together a wish list of changes you would bring about in the profession, or to your area of practice, what would it include?

I encourage young lawyers to have a life and interests outside of the office. I firmly believe that there is way too much pressure on lawyers to work unacceptable hours in chasing profits and that firms need to accommodate good lawyers, who do not wish to be married to their desks.

What do you do in your free time? How do you relax?

I am fortunate to have many interests and particularly enjoy spending time enjoying various pastimes with my family.

We are a family of conservationists, environmentalists and preservationists, which makes the time we spend together at our game lodge in the Gondwana Private Game Reserve particularly special. The reserve is the southernmost free roaming Big 5 game reserve in the world. We have also explored southern Africa in our specially kitted out exploration vehicle, camping in remote places and in most of the major game reserves in the area.

For nearly 40 years I have had a yacht racing team and race my J133 competitively. I have my late father to blame for being an audiophile, which has meant that for many years I have owned sound systems I cannot afford!