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HFW adds environment and climate change partner from Baker McKenzie

Global law firm HFW is expanding its environment and climate change practice with the appointment of a partner from Baker McKenzie for its Sydney office.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 15 December 2023 Big Law
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Ruth Dawes (pictured) has joined HFW in Sydney, having come across from rival global practice Baker McKenzie.

She brings, HFW said in a statement, over two decades of experience, including advising on all aspects of environmental and planning law, with a particular focus on major projects, sustainability, climate change, and renewable energy.

She advises clients on major projects across a wide range of sectors, including energy, infrastructure, and real estate, the firm went on, and has experience working on strategic project planning and approval pathways, climate change, ESG, biodiversity, land contamination and remediation, along with environmental compliance.


The news follows the firm’s poaching of five partners and 15 lawyers from fellow BigLaw firm MinterEllison last month.

It also 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.

HFW now has more than 30 partners and 130 lawyers in total across its offices in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

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.

Speaking about the hire, Mr Vallely said: “I am delighted to welcome Ruth to the firm. She is an extremely talented and experienced lawyer with a genuine passion for helping businesses achieve their energy transition goals.

“Sustainability is a key priority for our firm, both in terms of reducing the environmental impact of our own operations globally, but also in supporting our clients to achieve their environmental goals, across the aerospace, commodities, construction, insurance, energy, and shipping sectors.

“ESG, sustainability, and energy transition are of paramount importance for most, if not all, of our clients, and the legal and regulatory landscape governing these areas is complex and constantly evolving.

“Ruth is the latest in a number of truly outstanding partners and teams that have joined our Australia business in the last 12 months. We have plans for further expansion and are actively seeking opportunities to further bolster our client offering. It’s an exciting time for the firm and our clients.”

Ms Dawes added: “I am excited to join HFW. I was impressed by the firm’s strong sector focus, as well as its existing sustainability and energy transition capabilities.

“I truly believe that the firm is well placed to establish itself as the leading energy transition practice in the world, and I am pleased to be able to contribute to that.”

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