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Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has promoted seven lawyers in Australia to Executive Counsel or Special Counsel roles as part of the firm’s annual global Counsel promotion round. The appointments take effect from 1 May 2023. 

The new Counsel are from the firm’s marketing-leading Corporate, Disputes, Employment, Projects and Real Estate practice groups.

Incoming Executive Partner, Australia and Asia, Kristin Stammer, congratulated each of the new Counsel on their promotions.

“They are all outstanding practitioners with the skills, experience and team-leadership qualities that will continue to give our law firm the market edge,” Ms Stammer said.

“Crucially, they have an unrelenting focus on clients.”

Ms Stammer said, as with the firm’s recent Partner promotions, many of the new Counsel have unrivalled expertise in private capital, energy transition and ESG.

“These priorities are not just part of Australia’s economic future; they are powering it. These promotions reflect this reality and our determination to be the law firm of choice when it comes to maximising the opportunities they present for our clients,” Ms Stammer said.

The new promotions include five Executive Counsel and two Special Counsel. They are:

Executive Counsel

Lucy Boyd – Employment, Industrial Relations & Safety (Employment and Industrial Relations), Melbourne: Lucy’s expertise in all areas of employment and industrial relations law derives from time in the firm’s UK and Melbourne offices. She is an expert in complex workplace conduct matters, and a trusted advisor to clients navigating sensitive workplace investigations, employment litigation and senior executive separations. She has a particular interest in workplace culture and ESG, and acts for clients in a range of sectors, including mining and resources, retail, banking and finance and professional services. Lucy has just completed a 12-month secondment to BHP, where she acted on a variety of enterprise bargaining and complex employment matters.

Matthew Cameron – Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety (Employment and Industrial Relations), Brisbane: Matthew is an experienced employment and safety lawyer who specialises in enterprise bargaining, industrial disputes, employment litigation, complex investigations and disciplinary processes. He has a broad practice across a range of sectors including mining and resources, energy, manufacturing, logistics and government.

Laurelle Ko – Projects (Energy and Resources), Sydney: Laurelle is an experienced Projects lawyer, specialising in the energy sector. Her practice is predominantly focused on the procurement of energy and renewables projects across all asset types (including wind, solar, hydropower, BESS, geothermal and thermal power projects and transmission). Laurelle also brings international experience, having worked in the UK and Singapore markets.

Julia Orbach – Real Estate (Commercial Property), Melbourne:  Julia specialises in commercial property matters and has acted on a wide range of transactions and projects throughout Victoria and Australia. She has extensive experience advising clients in relation to property acquisitions and disposals, large scale property development projects, commercial, industrial and retail leasing, property financing transactions and renewable energy projects.

Bailee Walker – Energy and Infrastructure, Sydney: Bailee specialises in energy and infrastructure transactions, regulation, project development and market reform. She has particular expertise in the electricity, renewables and utilities sectors. She has acted extensively for government, regulators and industry participants on various aspects of the ongoing energy transition, including on the regulatory reforms required to facilitate it.  

Special Counsel

Christopher Hicks – Disputes (Corporate Crime & Investigations) Perth: Chris is a leading corporate crime and investigations lawyer. He helps businesses and organisations to manage, investigate and resolve complex and sensitive criminal and contentious regulatory matters, with a focus on bribery, corruption and corporate misconduct. He advises his clients about controls and compliance, internal and external investigations, and litigation and enforcement proceedings. Chris is also an experienced commercial litigator and advocate, regularly appearing as counsel in courts and tribunals.

Ben Plotnik – Corporate (Investment Funds), Melbourne:  Ben is an experienced corporate lawyer specialising in private fund formation and institutional investment. He advises financial sponsors on the structuring and formation of private equity and venture capital funds. He has extensive experience advising superannuation funds, sovereign wealth funds and other institutional and family office investors on domestic and international fund investments across a number of asset classes including private equity, venture capital, infrastructure, real estate and debt. Ben also advises fund managers and investors on co-investment and consortium arrangements, separately managed accounts, direct investments and on their financial services regulatory requirements.

The roles of Executive Counsel and Special Counsel are commensurate in level. However, Special Counsels differ from Executive Counsels in that they specialise in a particular niche area of law.  

This announcement follows the recent promotion of 10 new Herbert Smith Freehills partners in Australia.

Key contacts

Kristin Stammer photo

Kristin Stammer

Executive Partner, East, Sydney

Kristin Stammer