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Herbert Smith Freehills has promoted four Australian employment lawyers to its global partnership and three others to the role of Executive Counsel. The promotions take effect on 1 May 2022.

Global co-Head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Employment, Industrial Relations & Safety practice, Steve Bell, said, “I’d like to congratulate these seven talented lawyers on their promotions. The one thing they all have in common is an unwavering commitment to technical excellence, and ensuring an exceptional client experience. We have a long tradition of supporting our internal talent progress through our ranks, and this raft of promotions is further a testament to the depth of talent across our team. We are very proud of all of these new Partners and Counsel.

“Together, our four new Australian Employment partners — Rachel, Wendy, Nerida and Olga — are an exceptional group of women whose skills and insight are a real asset to their clients.

“Industrial relations reform, wage pressures, and adapting to the new era of workplace flexibility are all issues firmly on the political agenda and our new partners will be able to help our clients to navigate any changes that emerge following the election, and it is tremendous to have Rachel, Wendy and Olga excel as market leaders on these issues.

“We are also seeing continued demand for advice and support in regards to employee welfare and safety. Providing a safe workplace requires not only the management of  physical risks, but requires employers to address mental health, psychological safety, and pandemic-related legal concerns such as vaccine mandates. These are nuanced and challenging issues, and our clients value the support of Nerida and her team in their practical insight on all of these issues.

“Herbert Smith Freehills’ Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety practice now has 16 partners across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. We remain grateful for the support of our clients, and look forward to helping them navigate the year ahead, together with our new senior leaders.”

The new partners are:

Rachel Dawson, Perth – Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety (Employment/Industrial Relations): Rachel specialises in industrial relations strategy, industrial disputes and enterprise bargaining with a focus on the mining, maritime and oil and gas industries. She is an experienced employment law litigator in the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Western Australia and appears on behalf of clients in the Fair Work Commission, the WA Industrial Relations Commission and Australian courts.

Wendy Fauvel, Brisbane – Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety (Employment/Industrial Relations): Wendy has a broad practice in all areas of employment law and is a national expert in the field of enterprise bargaining and industrial disputes. Wendy provides advice to clients across Australia on bargaining strategy, the drafting and implementation of enterprise agreements, and responding to industrial action. Wendy also has a particular speciality in assisting private and public sector clients with complex employment and industrial relations litigation.

Nerida Jessup, Sydney – Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety (Workplace Health and Safety): Nerida is a safety lawyer who is experienced in providing advice on the management of serious safety incidents. She regularly acts in safety prosecutions and coronial inquests, and advises employers and Boards about safety governance issues. She advises public and private sector clients on work health and safety issues in a range of industries including rail, mining, construction, energy, manufacturing and financial services.

Olga Klimczak, Perth – Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety (Employment/Industrial Relations): Olga has expertise advising on employment, industrial relations, diversity and workplace health and safety issues in the energy and mining sectors. Her experience includes advising on recruitment, termination of employment and post-employment restraints, workplace investigations, performance and discipline issues, occupational health and safety, and regulatory investigations and prosecution.

The firm’s new Executive Counsel are:

Sophie Beaman – Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety, Sydney:

Sophie is an experienced employment lawyer with a particular focus on industrial relations, including advising clients on enterprise bargaining strategies, dispute resolution and responses to industrial action. She has a broad practice in all areas of employment law, particularly across the mining and resources, construction, transport, infrastructure and banking sectors.

Ben Harris – Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety, Sydney:

Ben is an experienced employment lawyer who has worked in leading employment practices in Sydney, Hong Kong and London. He has a particular interest in the tech sector, providing employment advice to start ups, emerging and global tech companies. Ben also works with clients across a number of other industries, including banking and financial services, healthcare and sport. He has experience in a wide range of employment litigation and data privacy matters and advising multi-national employers on issues relating to their global workforce. He is admitted to practice in New South Wales, Hong Kong, and England & Wales.

Kara Reynolds – Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety, Brisbane:

Kara has 15 years’ experience working in employment, industrial relations and safety (EIRS). She works broadly across the field, regularly advising clients in relation to: workplace safety incidents; workplace relations and safety considerations in large scale M&A; industrial bargaining and disputes; and strategic management of contractors, ill and injured workers and employee conduct matters. She also frequently undertakes workplace conduct investigations and runs matters that proceed to litigation. Her extensive industry knowledge, particularly in the mining and resource sector, has been shaped by her employment at two Queensland mines prior to joining legal private practice.


Key contacts

Steve Bell photo

Steve Bell

Managing Partner - Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety (Australia, Asia), Melbourne

Steve Bell
Nerida Jessup photo

Nerida Jessup

Partner, Sydney

Nerida Jessup
Rachel Dawson photo

Rachel Dawson

Partner, Perth

Rachel Dawson
Wendy Fauvel photo

Wendy Fauvel

Partner, Brisbane

Wendy Fauvel
Olga Klimczak photo

Olga Klimczak

Partner, Perth

Olga Klimczak

Media contact

For further information on this article please contact

Emily Coultas

Emily Coultas, External Communications Manager