Ex-HSF partner joins launch team for Bakers’ Brisbane office

A former Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) partner has joined the line-up of partners that have launched a Brisbane office for Baker & McKenzie.

Mining and energy specialist Philip Christensen, who became a partner at legacy firm Freehills in 1988, joins Clayton Utz energy and resources partner Darren Fooks and Allens regulatory partner Jo Daniels as the launch team for Bakers’ 76th global base.

Christensen, who was a non-executive director of Australian-listed Whitehaven Coal until his appointment by Bakers, lefts HSF last year to set up a mining and resources boutique. Fooks and Daniels resigned from their respective partnerships earlier his year (23 April 2014). Fooks had spent 17 years as a partner at Clayton Utz while Daniels joined Linklaters ally Allens from Middletons (now K&L Gates) in 2012. She had previously been a partner at Clayton Utz for five years.

The Brisbane office marks Bakers’ first expansion in Australia in three decades. It opened in Sydney in 1964 and in Melbourne in 1982. The firm has over 80 partners in Australia, which forms its largest base in Asia Pacific.

Australia managing partner Chris Freeland said now was the right time to move into the Queensland market and that the Brisbane office is “key to deepening our firm’s offering across a number of sectors in Australia and globally”.

Firm chairman Eduardo Leite added: “There are significant opportunities for our Australian and international clients in resources, infrastructure development and agribusiness in Queensland.”