Top firms relocate Melbourne headquarters

Both firms are now situated on the "Paris End" of Collins Street

Top firms relocate Melbourne headquarters

Top global firms Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Ashurst have relocated their headquarters in Melbourne.

Both firms announced that they are taking up residence at 80 Collins Street, the “Paris End” of the street according to Ashurst. HSF officially transitioned their Melbourne office yesterday, while Ashurst made the move on 28 June.

“After a challenging 18 months, our people in Melbourne are looking forward to the move. The planning for the move came at an opportune time, allowing us to design a work environment for our people that is flexible and future fit for a post-COVID-19 world,” HSF’s Melbourne managing partner Rodd Levy said.

Following the move, the firm’s Melbourne staff will now converge in the same office at the 38-storey South Tower, which the firm said had received a 6-Star Green Star rating – the highest sustainability rating issued by the Green Building Council of Australia. The workforce was previously divided between 600 St Kilda Road, which housed the alternative legal services team, and 101 Collins Street.

“Our new Melbourne office has been designed with our agile workforce in mind, supporting our commitment to creating a workplace that meets the evolving needs of our people,” Levy said. “We aim to empower them to choose a working environment where they can perform at their best and in the way that best suits them, whilst delivering a consistently excellent client experience.”

HSF global chief administrative officer Alan Peckham explained that the office is designed to integrate “physical, cognitive, and social wellbeing considerations, encouraging high performance while supporting mental resilience.”

“To that end, we have prioritised access to natural light for all workstations, incorporated extensive planting and ensured that a café and internal staircase are featured in the design,” he said.

Levy added that the office layout puts coffee at the centre.

“We have chosen to break down the barriers between the traditional ‘front of house’ and ‘back of house,’ and will actively encourage our clients to make use of our café, alongside our people,” he said. “As the café is in the middle of our reception area, not only will clients be at the centre of everything we do, we are putting coffee in the centre too!”

The firm tapped Bates Smart as the office designer, with SHAPE Australia constructing. Through a collaboration with Art Pharmacy, HSF also obtained artwork completed by rising stars in the local art scene to “bring Melbourne’s unique creative culture into the work environment.”

Among the beneficiaries of the new office will be some of the newly elevated senior associates announced in HSF’s recent promotions round, which saw over 50 lawyers ascend to senior roles. The Melbourne-based lawyers on the list are Marijana Banovac (corporate), Edward Gainer (corporate, currently on secondment in London), Lucy Harris (corporate), Lucy Jacobsen (corporate), William Kunstler (corporate), Sian Lacy (corporate), Ellen Rattray (corporate), Jessica Voong (corporate), Aria Wong (corporate), Sam Hall (disputes), Claire Jago (disputes), Katya Udorovic (disputes), Ella van der Schans (disputes), Elizabeth Veljkovic (disputes), Zoe Wood (disputes), Deanna Carlon (employment, industrial relations and safety), Marco Fedeli (employment, industrial relations and safety), Kate Hamilton (employment, industrial relations and safety), Benjamin Robinson (finance), Ella Darroch (projects) and Tessa Spence (projects).

Meanwhile, Ashurst opted for an office design that combines traditional workspaces with open areas.

“Our new premises reflect what we want to be as a business – agile, sustainable and collaborative. The fitout includes a mix of traditional meeting rooms, open collaborative zones and focused workspaces,” Melbourne managing partner Ross McClymont said. “For us it is more than a new office, it's a step forward in adapting to a changing world and how we deliver services to our clients.”

McClymont described the transition as “another milestone in our connection with the Melbourne market and our clients who are based here, who we support locally, nationally and around the globe.”

The firm maintained its operations during the move.

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