Holman Fenwick Sydney head quits for Reed Smith’s Hong Kong spin-off

Holman Fenwick Willan’s Sydney head David Coogans is moving to Hong Kong to join Howse Williams Bowers, a firm established earlier this year by three of Reed Smith Richards Butler’s founding partners in Hong Kong.

Coogans, a shipping lawyer with a focus on collision and salvage work, will join his former Richards Butler colleagues in Hong Kong. He joined Richards Butler Hong Kong in 1989 and became a partner at Richards Butler Hong Kong in 1994. In 2004, he moved to Australia to work in the shipping industry and joined Holman Fenwick’s Sydney office in 2011.

Howse Williams Bowers (HWB), was established on 1 January 2012 when a group of 50 staff including 15 lawyers, led by partners Chris Howse, Chris Williams and Kevin Bowers, resigned from the Hong Kong office of Reed Smith Richards Butler (previously Richards Butler Hong Kong) in order to set up the new firm (9 January 2012).

In addition to Coogans, who will start later this year, HWB has also taken on a seven-member family and matrimonial practice headed by partner Linda Heathfield. The team joins from Hong Kong family law boutique Ip & Heathfield, and they will bring all their clients to the new firm. Heathfield is also a Richards Butler Hong Kong alumna, having worked at the firm in the 1980s.

“The PI clubs we work for want us to have wet work capability. David’s industry knowledge and ability can fill the missing piece of the jigsaw in our shipping practice,” said Howse, managing partner of HWB. “It’s great to be able to work together again with our former colleagues David and Linda.”

The latest recruitment has pushed HWB’s total staff headcount to 70, including eight partners.