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Partner Profile: Belinda Fan

Partner Profile: Belinda Fan

Every week we ask a law firm partner a series of rapid-fire questions about their career. This week: Herbert Smith Freehills' Belinda Fan.

Which firm are you with?

Herbert Smith Freehills.

When did you join that firm?


I joined the firm as a solicitor in 2005; however, I left in 2008 to take the well-trodden path to London before returning in 2010.

When were you made a partner of that firm?

July 2012.

Which firm were you at most recently prior to this?

I worked in the oil & gas group of a US law firm in London.

What practice group are you with?

I’m in the energy & resources practice of the corporate group. I advise mining and petroleum companies on a diverse range of transactions, including project structuring, acquisitions and divestments, upstream and midstream developments, and downstream operational and offtake arrangements.

What has been the most significant change to your practice area during your career?

In my practice area there has always been recognition that lawyers need to be industry focused.  I’ve seen this becoming increasingly important in recent times as the industry undergoes significant changes (for example, the emergence of the LNG industry in Queensland over the last decade). To be ‘trusted advisors’ in this area we need to be able to speak the same language as our clients and understand the market drivers that influence our clients’ decisions.

What has been a major career highlight for you?

Being promoted to partnership at 30 is without a doubt the career highlight for me. The promotion followed my work on a number of high-impact transactions and it was particularly rewarding to read my clients’ supportive feedback following those transactions.

What do you like about being a lawyer?

I love being a lawyer as part of the energy and resources industry. Work in this industry is always challenging and exciting. Our clients are constantly looking at new angles and strategies and the best part of my job is to work with them at the forefront of that decision-making process.

What do you find challenging?

It is sometimes hard to dial down the ‘work brain’ outside the office and manage a true work-life balance. I suspect this will be an ongoing learning experience. Luckily, I’m part of a supportive partnership at Herbert Smith Freehills, which makes the balancing act much easier.  

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends and planning my next holiday trip (hopefully somewhere where the water is 28C and I can scuba dive).

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