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HWL Ebsworth unveils new board of partners, CEO, and chief executive partner

Following the tragic passing of Juan Martinez, BigLaw firm HWL Ebsworth has finalised its new leadership and governance structure.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 20 June 2024 Big Law
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In mid-March, HWL Ebsworth managing partner Juan Martinez passed away from a medical issue. He was 64 years of age.

In a statement at the time, the BigLaw firm called Martinez an “inestimable leader” and a “giant of the Australian legal profession”.

One month ago, HWL announced that – following an extensive review – a board would replace the firm’s managing partner model, which it said would establish a governance structure “that reflects and draws on the skills, expertise, and perspective of our partners”. This has seen the formation of a board of partners, made up of seven representatives.


This board will, moving forward, include no more than two members per practice group, no more than two members from any of the firm’s national offices, and no more than four members of any gender.

A nomination process was held, and now, HWL has revealed that the partners elected to its board of partners are:

Clare Raimondo (workplace relations and safety, Adelaide), Jamie Restas (corporate and commercial, Adelaide), Jane Wild (construction and infrastructure, Sydney), Paul Wilson (property, Perth), Peter Dreher (corporate and commercial, Melbourne), Philip Battye (insurance, Melbourne), and Sonya Kroon (construction and infrastructure, Sydney).

Restas was elected as the chair of this new board.

Further, Kris Hopkins is set to assume the position of CEO, and Russell Mailler will serve as the firm’s chief executive partner.

All will commence in their new roles on 1 July.

The news follows the firm’s promotion of 64 lawyers to more senior roles in February of this year, including eight to its national partnership.

The firm currently comprises 1,696 staff, including 278 partners, 1,045 other legal staff and 373 support staff across its nine offices across the country, located in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Hobart, Norwest (North West Sydney), Perth and Sydney.

HWL has the biggest partnership of any law firm in Australia.

Speaking about the firm’s new leadership, HWL interim managing partner Ross Williams said: “I cannot overstate the potential of the firm moving forward, and I look forward to the firm’s new leadership and governance structure contributing to a successful future for us all.”

Restas said: “I very much look forward to working with the new board of partners, Kris, and Russell, with a view to continuing the success and growth of the firm, noting that we will preserve the strengths in its management and operations.”