All-female Australian group of 8 ascends to HSF partnership

The new partners represent every practice group of the firm

All-female Australian group of 8 ascends to HSF partnership

Herbert Smith Freehills has just announced new members of its partnership, including eight from Australia, all of whom are women.

Among the 17 new partners are Sarah Benbow, Malika Chandrasegaran, Anna Creegan, Alison Dodd, Sian Newnham, Merryn Quayle, Clare Smethurst, and Nikki Smythe.

Benbow, who is based in Melbourne, is an expert in competition and regulatory law with a particular focus on mergers, investigations, and compliance in Australia and Europe. She advises clients across a broad range of industries, with particular expertise in financial services, energy, and aviation.

Sydney-based Chandrasegaran specialises in both domestic and cross-border public and private M&A, corporate restructures, foreign investment, joint ventures and other commercial transactions. She has particular experience in the consumer products, media, and technology industries.

Creegan, who is based in Perth, is a leading litigation, investigations, and transactions lawyer. She also advises on employment, industrial relations, and safety and has acted on a number of significant matters in Australia and the UK.

Dodd is a specialist in the procurement of major infrastructure projects across a range of industry sectors in Australia and beyond. The Melbourne-based lawyer has particular expertise in the development of large-scale renewable energy projects.

In Brisbane, Newnham has significant corporate and projects expertise covering large-scale procurement, project development, construction, and operational matters. She has particular experience in the energy and mining industries.

Quayle is a commercial litigator with extensive expertise in major strategic disputes in the mining industry – particularly joint venture and mining project disputes – as well as the TMT and financial services sectors. She also advises on investigations, crisis management, and cyber security planning and response.

Brisbane-based Smethurst is a specialist in construction and infrastructure disputes. She has assisted principal, government and contractor clients across a range of sectors during the back end phase of projects, including through statutory adjudication, litigation, arbitration, and expert determination processes.

Smythe, based in Sydney, is an expert in distressed debt, special situations finance,  and the high-yield credit sector in the Asia Pacific region. As part of the firm’s restructuring, turnaround, and insolvency practice, she acts for for global investment banks, credit funds, and alternative capital providers.

Sarah Benbow

Malika Chandrasegaran

Anna Creegan

Alison Dodd

Sian Newnham

Merryn Quayle

Clare Smethurst

Nikki Smythe

“I am thrilled to welcome these eight Australian lawyers to the firm’s global partnership. They are all exceptional; great with clients and passionate about the work they do. They have long been identified as future leaders of the firm,” said Andrew Pike, HSF’s regional managing partner for Australia. “I want to congratulate each of them on achieving this impressive career milestone; and I look forward to the fresh perspectives that they will contribute to our firm’s culture and strategy.”

The new partners are spread across the firm’s Australian offices and represent every practice group of the firm. The appointment round shows the firm’s continued investment in the projects and infrastructure sector, as three out of the eight partners appointed in Australia specialise in the field, it said.

“We appoint partners based on a range of rigorous criteria, including our clients’ needs and growth sectors for the firm as well as the broader markets in which we operate,” Pike said.  “We invest heavily in our people, and the talented lawyers in our partnership pipeline are no exception. Throughout their careers they are given significant leadership and professional development training to help them build the skills needed to be successful partners.”

Mark Rigotti, HSF’s CEO, said the promotions are well-deserved.

“These excellent lawyers are selected as future leaders of our firm based on rigorous criteria. The quality of this year's new partners reflects our firm's long-term commitment to investing in lawyers of the highest calibre across the network,” Rigotti said. “It is particularly pleasing to see the diversity of this talented cohort, which is pivotal to our firm's strategy.”

 HSF’s other new partners are:


  • Joanna Caen, dispute resolution, Hong Kong
  • Helen Tang, dispute resolution, Shanghai


  • Joy Amis, finance, London
  • Nick Clayton, dispute resolution, London
  • Laura Hulett, corporate, London
  • Rachel Pinto, employment, pensions and incentives, London
  • Jonathan Turnbull, dispute resolution, London
  • William Turnbull, real estate, London


  • Amal Bouchenaki, dispute resolution, New York


Related stories:
Incumbent Palmer keeps dual HSF chair, senior partner roles
Here are the top Australasian M&A legal advisers for 1Q2018

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