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4 promoted within HSF alternative legal services practice

Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has continued to bolster its alternative legal services practice in Australia with four promotions to the leadership team.

user iconLauren Croft 30 January 2024 Big Law
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HSF has promoted four lawyers within its alternative legal services (ALT) practice, in a move the firm said reflected a long-term investment in the ALT practice team and its future.

From 1 January 2024, Brisbane-based Gina O’Neill and Sydney-based Ben Urdang have been promoted to head of e-discovery and legal technology, with Joseph Cook and Tahmina Ahsan both promoted to head of disputes (acting).

These appointments build on the recent promotion of Akshaya Ravi, who was promoted to head of corporate and real estate for ALT Australia on 1 October 2023 and leads the transactional work for the practice.


ALT now has a team of more than 350 lawyers, technologists and legal analysts, 150 of whom are in Australia. .

Ms O’Neill has been with HSF for over 20 years and possesses over 30 years of experience in litigation support and the e-discovery industry.

Mr Urdang has led e-discovery teams on some of the firm’s largest document management exercises in recent years, with particular expertise in regulatory matters, class actions and significant litigations. He is an experienced practitioner in the e-discovery and legal technology sector, specialising in the implementation of strategies for the identification, collection, processing, review, analysis and production of data and documents for legal matters.

Mr Cook is experienced in leading and managing large teams of qualified lawyers and experienced legal analysts on high-volume and complex document-intensive legal work. This includes large-scale litigation, arbitration, internal and external investigations and contentious regulatory matters.

Ms Ahsan is responsible for leading and supervising solicitors and legal analysts to deliver high-quality legal review services within the ALT disputes practice. She has wide-ranging and deep sector experience acting for financial institutions, energy, infrastructure, government and public sector clients.

Emily Coghlan, HSF director of alternative legal services in Australia, congratulated the team on their promotions.

“Gina, Ben, Joseph, Tahmina and Akshaya have demonstrated their strong leadership skills over their time here at HSF, so we are excited to see them continue to develop their careers here with us as part of the leadership team,” she said.

“They each offer the cross-disciplinary skills needed to see our clients achieve their business goals by delivering targeted commercial outcomes, which are bespoke to the individual problems and opportunities they face.”