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Hogan Lovells has recruited four new partners in its newly launched Australian offices in a bid to expand its offering.
Corporate partner Andrew Crook and project finance partner Ros O’Mally will join from Australian firm Gilbert + Tobin while restructuring partner Scott Harris and acquisition finance partner Richard Hayes will arrive from DLA Piper and King & Wood Mallesons, respectively. All partners are currently Sydney-based but will split their time between Hogan Lovells’ Sydney and Perth offices which were both opened last July. The new partners are expected to start at the firm during the second quarter of this year.
Crook advises private equity firms and companies on capital markets deals and mergers and acquisitions. In 2014, he represented Australian hotel operators Mantra Group on a $343 million initial public offering on the Australian Stock Exchange. He joined Gilbert + Tobin in 2009 from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom where he had been a London-based associate for five years. Before that, he also practiced at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Singapore and Russell McVeagh in New Zealand.
O’Mally has acted for both lenders and borrowers on public–private partnership projects, asset finance and derivatives deals. Prior to joining Gilbert + Tobin in 2008, she had been an associate with legacy Freehills for six years. Before that, she practiced at Clayton Utz.
Harris currently heads up the restructuring practice for DLA Piper in Australia. He specializes in asset recovery for creditors and also advises on insolvency and fraud litigation and investigations. He has also been the firm’s relationship partner for Westpac Banking Corp. and HSBC. He joined legacy DLA Phillips Fox in 2009 as a partner from domestic firm Henry Davis York. Before that, Harris had a five-year stint with former Lovells in London.
Hayes focuses his practice on leveraged and acquisition finance. In 2014, he advised lenders including Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC on a $325 million high-yield bond offer by infrastructure maintenance company Transfield Services Ltd. U.S.-qualified Hayes joined legacy Mallesons Stephen Jaques as a partner in 2004 from White & Case where he was a New York-based associate. He had previously practiced with Allen & Overy in London and Minter Ellison in Sydney.
Hogan Lovells opened simultaneously in Perth and Sydney last year in July with former Allens husband-and-wife team Tim and Nicky Lester. Both Lesters are finance lawyers, with Tim, who previously led Hogan Lovells’ Tokyo office between 2004 and 2008, focusing more on project finance.
While adding corporate and restructuring practices, Hogan Lovells Australia still primarily focuses on finance and projects work. In a press release, the Anglo-American firm said the new hires “demonstrate the firm’s continued commitment and investment in the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors as well as its regional corporate, financing and restructuring capabilities.”
In an interview with The Asian Lawyer last year, Hong Kong-based regional managing partner for Asia Pacific and Middle East Patrick Sherrington said the firm would only focus on cross-border work in Australia and had no plan for domestic work.
According to its website, in addition to the Lesters, Hogan Lovells currently has three associates working in Perth office. A Hong Kong-based spokesperson said with the additions, the firm will have 12 lawyers, including six partners, working across both offices.
The Australian hires also follow some recent losses in Asia for Hogan Lovells in respective practices. In late 2014, former Asia head of restructuring Neil McDonald left the firm for Kirkland & Ellis with partner Damien Coles. Earlier this month, London leveraged finance partner and former Hong Kong banking head Gary Hamp joined Latham & Watkins in Hong Kong.