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Partner, team of 7 join HFW, including lawyers from Clyde & Co

Global law firm HFW has welcomed back a foundational Australian team member, who rejoins the firm as an equity partner and comes across from BigLaw rival Clyde & Co.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 17 January 2024 Big Law
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Editor's note: An earlier version of this story noted that Mr Thompson was bringing seven lawyers to HFW from Clyde & Co. This has been corrected.

Maurice Thompson has joined HFW in its Melbourne office this week, which the firm said will strengthen its shipping, aerospace, energy, insurance, commodities, and litigation funding capabilities.

He has rejoined the firm following more than a decade with fellow global practice Clyde & Co, where he was a senior equity partner in energy, maritime, natural resources, and aviation.


He has also served as a capital partner at HWL Ebsworth, a special counsel at K&L Gates, a senior associate at Clyde & Co, and an associate at King & Wood Mallesons.

He brings, HFW said in a statement, over three decades of experience in Australia and the Middle East advising clients on complex, large-scale disputes and litigation in the shipping, aerospace, energy and resources, insurance, and commodities sectors, with “substantial” experience acting in class actions and litigation involving litigation funders in Australia and internationally.

Mr Thompson is “generally recognised as having the leading litigation funding practice in Australia”, HFW proclaimed, having secured funding for several large cases in Australia and overseas involving claims for damages ranging between $100 million and $500 million.

He is qualified in Australia and England and Wales and has practised in Australia, England, China, and Dubai.

Mr Thompson rejoined HFW earlier this week (Monday, 15 January), and will be joined by a team of seven lawyers at the global practice.

HFW has not yet confirmed the identity of the seven lawyers. However, Lawyers Weekly understands that the seven-strong team includes lawyers from Clyde & Co.

Clyde & Co told Lawyers Weekly that special counsel Paul Hopwood and Nicolas Doucas, and associate Olivia Puchalski, had left the firm to join HFW.

The news follows the firm’s nabbing of five partners from fellow BigLaw practice MinterEllison, as well as a team of 15 lawyers, in late November as it moves to bolster its regional offerings in corporate, projects, regulatory, and restructuring.

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.

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 hires, Mr Vallely said: “Maurice was a member of HFW Australia’s foundation team when our first Australian office was opened in 2006, and I am delighted to welcome him back as a partner.

“Having started his career in shipping and commodities and establishing himself as one of Australia’s leading practitioners in these sectors, Maurice has also become an expert practitioner in the offshore energy, aviation, insurance, litigation funding and, more recently, autonomous ships and aircraft sectors. He has vast experience managing large-scale multijurisdictional arbitrations and litigation, and his practice is a perfect fit with HFW’s industry sectors.

“Maurice’s appointment continues the strategic expansion of our business in Australia, which has more than doubled in size since FY15.”

Mr Thompson added: “I am excited to rejoin HFW. The firm’s capabilities in shipping, commodities and aviation are second to none, and its sector focus resonates strongly with the market. I am looking forward to collaborating with colleagues across Australia and internationally to introduce my clients to the firm’s global offering.

“I also look forward to leading HFW’s global litigation funding team and assisting the firm and its clients in taking advantage of opportunities arising with developments in the litigation/disputes funding market internationally.

“The firm has an ambition to become a market leader in litigation/disputes funding, and the opportunity to contribute to this initiative was a major attraction for me.”

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