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Graeme Smith


Graeme is an employment lawyer specialising in high profile industrial disputes.



During his 35 year career Graeme has built a reputation as one of Australia’s pre-eminent industrial and employment law specialists and advocates and has helped clients with some of the largest and most high profile industrial disputes in Australia including the Pilots Dispute in 1989, the Waterfront Dispute in 1998 and the Qantas lockout in 2011.

He has also acted for many of Australia’s largest corporations including Qantas, Lion, Toyota, Holden, Ford, ANZ, NAB, Metro Trains, Patricks, Westpac, Cadbury, Crown, Orica, Amcor, GlaxoSmithKline, Coca-Cola, Heinz, Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police and many more.

Over the past eight years Graeme has combined legal practice with a management role being the Freehills Australian employment group’s head from 2007 to 2012 and the Global Head of the Herbert Smith Freehills employment group from 2012 to 2015.

Over his career he has received many accolades including:

  • the number one ranking each year since 2008 in Best Lawyers International including being named Lawyer of the Year in 2011
  • listed as a Leading Employment Lawyer since 2011 in the Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession and was named the Victorian Employment and Workplace Relations Market Leader in 2011
  • rated as “pre-eminent” in the Doyles Guide of 2015.

Chambers Global Guide describes Graeme as “one of the very best” in Australia and PLC Which Lawyer described him as the “leading labour and employment law strategist in Australia”.



Graeme graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne. He joined Herbert Smith Freehills in 1980 and was made a partner in 1986.