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Three Herbert Smith Freehills partners have been recognised as the leading practitioners in Australia in their areas of expertise at the 2020 Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards.

Partners Tony Damian and Michael Vrisakis took home the Commercial Partner of the Year and Financial Services Partner of the Year Awards respectively.

Jason Betts won the Litigation Partner of the Year Award, as well as receiving the Partner of the Year Excellence Award.

The ceremony was held at The Star in Sydney and was also live-streamed on Friday 27 November, with winners across 30 categories accepting awards in-person and via video. Over 700 nominations were received.

Andrew Pike, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Executive Partner East, said: “It is tremendous for three of our partners to receive these accolades in recognition of their expertise and the significant commitment they’ve shown to delivering results for our clients.

“Tony, Michael and Jason are each leaders in their respective fields and have managed many complex and high profile matters for some of Australia’s biggest companies in 2020, achieving great results for our clients against the challenging backdrop of Covid-19.

“They are supported by talented lawyers and business services professionals who are essential to ensuring we can deliver on our clients’ most important legal and business matters.’

Tony Damian is a market-leading corporate lawyer with experience in hostile and friendly takeovers and mergers as well as negotiated acquisitions. He has advised on some of the most complex, largest, and most transformational deals in what has been an uncertain climate for M&A. He is also global co-chair of the firm’s Global Banks Sector Group.

Tony secured outstanding results in recent deals for a diverse range of clients, including for Commonwealth Bank on its A$4.13 billion sale of Colonial First State Global Asset Management to Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation. Tony is also acting for Coca-Cola Amatil in relation to its proposed $10.9 billion (EV) acquisition by Coca-Cola European Partners.

Michael Vrisakis is widely recognised as a market leader and authority in the area of non-contentious financial services regulation. His advice is routinely sought in relation to strategic management of regulatory matters, including liaising with APRA and ASIC.

Michael has advised key financial services clients including National Australia Bank on the legal and regulatory issues concerning its wealth demerger, particularly in superannuation, funds management, and advice and distribution.

Jason Betts is one of Australia’s premier class action lawyers and also specialises in regulatory investigations and prosecutions, complex litigation and crisis management. He has acted in many of Australia’s largest class actions, including the majority of Australia’s most significant shareholder class action litigation. He runs one of the largest class action teams in Australia.

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