Seyfarth Shaw raids HSF for double Australia launch

US employment firm Seyfarth Shaw has expanded into Australia by taking on eight employment partners from three firms, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Ashurst and Arnold Bloch Leibler.

The newly-recruited partners are Darren Perry, Chris Gardner, Justine Turnbull, Ben Dudley and Luke Edwards from HSF, Rachel Bernasconi and Michael Tamvakologos from Ashurst and Henry Skene from Arnold Bloch Leibler.

The eight new partners will launch the firm’s offices in Sydney and Melbourne, with Gardner, Tamvakologos and Skene based in Melbourne while the other five partners are in Sydney.

Prior to the move, all of them, except Edwards, were long-serving partners at their former firms and Skene served as head of Arnold Bloch Leibler’s workplace advisory practice. Edwards was recently promoted to executive counsel at HSF.

“Australia remains one of the most robust and dynamic markets for workplace related legal work and, combined with the increasingly global needs of our clients, we see a number of different opportunities to serve clients throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific region,” said Stephen Poor, Seyfarth’s chairman and managing partner in a statement.

This is Seyfarth’s second major expansion in the region following its opening in Shanghai in May following the recruitment of corporate partner Wan Li from DLA Piper’s Shanghai office (16 April 2013).

“We are fortunate to have a large number of existing clients operating in Australia, and our new offices will greatly assist us in the scale of services we can now provide to those clients as part of our international offering,” said Darren Gardner, chair of Seyfarth’s international practice, who is a US-based Australian employment lawyer. Before joining Seyfarth in 2007, Gardner was a partner at Australian firm Minter Ellison. He moved to San Francisco to set up an office for Minter Ellison in 2003.

The firm now has a presence in four locations outside of the US: London, Shanghai, Sydney and Melbourne.