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HFW takes 5 partners, 15 lawyers from MinterEllison

Global law firm HFW has nabbed five partners from fellow BigLaw practice MinterEllison, as well as a team of 15 lawyers, as it moves to bolster its regional offerings in corporate, projects, regulatory, and restructuring.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 20 November 2023 Big Law
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As first reported by the Australian Financial Review last week, partners Adam Handley, Matthew Knox, David Suttner, Bryn Davis, and Bi Chen have all left Minters for HFW.

Now, HFW has confirmed that the five partners are bringing a team of 15 lawyers with them.

The global firm – which has approximately 700 lawyers, including 185 partners, based in offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region – will welcome corporate and projects partners Mr Handley and Mr Knox and restructuring and disputes partner Mr Suttner to its Perth office. Mr Davis will be based both in Perth and Sydney, while Ms Chen will be in Greater China. Both also operate in corporate and projects.


The 15 lawyers who have also come across will predominantly be based out of Perth.

The news follows the firm’s hiring of an employment partner in its Perth office in late May, the addition of a partner from Jones Day earlier that month, and the promotion of four lawyers to senior associate back in March.

In March 2022, HFW Australian managing partner Gavin Vallely spoke on The Lawyers Weekly Show about why Australia is such a big part of the global firm’s growth strategy and how the firm was aiming to grow by 50 per cent in the coming two years across the country.

Since financial year 2015, the firm noted in a statement, its Australian presence has more than doubled, now boasting over 30 partners and 130 lawyers in total across its offices in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, working as part of an Asia-Pacific team comprising more than 60 partners and almost 250 lawyers.

In a statement, MinterEllison said: “We confirm that Adam Handley, Matthew Knox, David Suttner, Bryn Davis, and Bi Chen have decided to leave the MinterEllison partnership.”

“Their many contributions to the firm are gratefully acknowledged, and we wish them all the best in their new endeavours.”

Mr Vallely proclaimed: “This team acquisition reflects the firm’s commitment to Australia and our ambition to build the leading sector-focused law firm in the region and globally. We are very excited to welcome the team to HFW.

“The addition of a first-class corporate, regulatory, and projects team has been a strategic priority for HFW’s Australia business and the development of our regional capability. Building further depth into our insolvency and restructuring capability has also been a key focus.

“The team is a perfect fit for HFW, with vast experience in several of our core sectors, including commodities, mining, energy and renewables, ports and terminals, and public infrastructure across Australia and the Indo-Asia region. David’s practice will also dovetail with our commercial disputes practice in Perth, led by Paul D. Evans, who joined from Quinn Emanuel in 2022.”

HFW senior partner Giles Kavanagh added: “HFW has been in Australia since 2006, and the firm’s core sectors are completely aligned with the industry sectors that drive the Australian economy.

“Our growth in Australia has been strategic and now accounts for more than 10 per cent of the firm’s global business and AsiaPac accounting for more than 30 per cent. We see plenty of opportunity to maintain our growth trajectory in Australia, as well as in Asia. It is an exciting time for the firm and for our clients.”

Mr Handley noted that the team is “delighted” to be joining HFW.

“The true sector focus of HFW impressed us and will enable us to provide a seamless and integrated offering to clients across major trade and investment routes around the world. With Asia and the Pacific continuing to play an ever-important role in driving global economic growth, HFW’s international platform and sector expertise will enable us to provide clients with expanded services and support,” he detailed.

“HFW’s upcoming launch in China’s Greater Bay Area and their future growth plans to support our team and the wider business are testament to the firm’s commitment to the China market and improves our capacity to support our clients in the APAC region.”

Ms Chen said: “Notwithstanding recent declines in Chinese-backed overseas ‘mega-deals’, Chinese outbound M&A will continue to play an important role in global M&A activity.

“With HFW’s offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia, we are looking forward to supporting our long-term Chinese clients with seamless legal services on multi-jurisdictional transactions and regulatory matters.”