Moores appoints new chief executive

New leader is known for her expertise in human rights and public law

Moores appoints new chief executive
Tessa van Duyn

Moores has appointed Tessa van Duyn as its chief executive.

Van Duyn, known for her expertise in human rights and public law, joined the firm as practice leader in July. She added to the firm more than 15 years’ experience in strategic litigation, establishing effective partnerships across different sectors, and influencing public policy, the firm said.

She moved to the firm after 11 years at the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission, where she led in some of the most significant human rights cases in Australia. She was also previously senior lawyer and pro bono coordinator at Clayton Utz.

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The firm said that her work has led to positive social change, including public policy reform in the community housing, justice, and education sectors, particularly in making human rights a central factor in decision-making and service delivery.

Van Duyn said that she has found in Moores the “perfect fit” for her values, experience, and purpose.

“Throughout my career, I have always been driven by a desire to create a positive and meaningful impact in the community, so the values alignment with Moores shone bright,” she said.

She highlighted the firm’s concrete actions in fundamental areas, including in innovation and staff engagement. The firm bills itself as a “values-driven law firm” and van Duyn highlighted the firm’s focus on working with ethical clients to “deliver great outcomes that benefit the community.”

Moores said that it has no gender pay gap and half of its practice leaders are women. Three quarters of staff and two thirds of the firm’s practice leaders are on part-time or flexible-work arrangements.

Moores also said that it is the first major law firm in Australia to ditch time-based billing, allowing it to introduce a business model focused on value with agreed pricing.

“The culture of time-billing is competitive, stressful, fails to award efficiency, inhibits communication and certainty for clients, and discourages collaboration amongst employees. It was a bold move to remove billable targets firm-wide; however, it has paid off, and I’m proud of the firm we are today,” said Andrew Sudholz, board member and practice leader at Moores.

Van Duyn credits David Wells, the outgoing managing principal, and the leadership team’s foresight for building what the firm is today. She said that she is “privileged to have inherited something founded and grounded in such strong values.”

Sudholz said that there is a “natural alignment” between Moore’s and van Duyn’s commitment to social justice, equality, and subject matter expertise. Van Duyn said that the firm’s key to success is its human capital, which will be a focus of her leadership of the firm.

“We will always be people-before-profits-driven, because we know that if we have the right people, the profits will follow. We focus on community and connection and the health and wellbeing of our people is a core focus as it enables our strong relational approach. As such, meeting employees’ needs in the context of what they value personally will remain paramount to the success of the company,” she said.

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