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LEADING Australian firm Freehill Hollingdale & Page has appointed Martin Hudson, chair of its Melbourne board of partners, as senior partner in London.
Hudson has been brought in to replace Bruce Cutler, one of Freehill's two founding London partners, who has returned to Australia to take over from Graham Kelly as managing partner of the Sydney office.
A commercial law specialist, Hudson joined the 160-partner firm in 1969 and was made a partner in 1972. He worked as managing partner in Melbourne from 1988 to 1991 before becoming board chair and a member of the firm's national board.
He has advised major clients including the Pacific Dunlop Group and the move to London is expected to extend the firm's international contacts.
The London office, which also includes takeover and corporate finance partner Kevin Lewis and two solicitors, provides planning advice to corporations and legal advice on the structuring of transactions.
Work includes advising on income tax and stamp duty implications, and issues arising under Australian companies, securities, foreign investment and anti-trust laws.
Hudson says he chose London because "everyone needs a challenge in their career and the opportunity to go back into practice was tempting".
He says the firm has no plans to recruit here, but will draw on resources in Australia.
"I think that we've got the office to its optimum size and we don't have any plans to bring in other permanent people," says Hudson. "The appropriate configuration for an office determines itself as the work flows, but we think the size is about right."
"With the electronic system we now have, if we need back-up we have the ability to draw it out of Australia."
Freehills was the first Australian practice to receive approval from the Vietnamese Government to operate offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.