Corrs Chambers Westgarth has recruited Allens Arthur Robinson's former product liability head to lead its practice in Melbourne.
A past president and current member of the executive committee of the National Product Liability Association, Annette Hughes joins as a partner in Corrs' litigation group
"It was an unexpected opportunity that arose and I was excited by the people that I met and their vision for the next few years, so I decided I wanted to be a part of it," Hughes told Lawyers Weekly.
Hughes could not comment on whether her move signalled that Allens may be concentrating more on transactional and corporate work, rather than product liability-style work and associated litigation.
"Corrs is in touch with changes in the legal marketplace and in the product area," said Hughes, adding that she expects to see a "pick up in regulatory action".
Formerly a partner in the litigation and product liability group of Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold in San Francisco, Hughes has been in Australia for nearly 13 years but remains a member of the California Bar Association.
"Australian consumer law is interesting because it followed the UK approach in its Trade Practices Act when it first came in, but it did so with one eye on what was happening in America and it's always done that," said Hughes.
"Australia has always sat back and had the cooler head and watched what was happening with other regulators and other legislators, then picked the eyes out of it and drafted a kind of hybrid. I think that's a very prudent approach in deciding what works best in your environment."
Hughes has extensive experience in product liability, corporate responsibility, regulatory and commercial litigation and has advised on significant regulatory and internal investigations, including corruption and bribery, SOX, import/export, ACCC matters and various difficult product issues and recalls.