New South Wales, Australia


DWF has recruited six partners in Australia, including a new Asia-Pacific chairman, as the U.K. firm gears up to launch a fourth office in the country.

Corporate partner Mark Hickey will join the firm from Australia’s Sparke Helmore, where he was chairman. He will take a lead role on the development of DWF’s new base in Newcastle, New South Wales, and will also serve as chairman of the firm’s Asia-Pacific practice, which includes three other Australia offices and a base in Singapore.

Hickey specializes in restructurings and mergers and advises domestic and international clients on property developments, joint ventures and port infrastructure. Two years ago, he was awarded the Australian Bravery Medal after attempting to rescue a fatally injured swimmer who had been attacked by a great white shark off the coast of Byron Bay in late 2014.

Alongside Hickey, DWF has recruited four other partners from Sparke Helmore. Corporate partners David Reid and Vi-Ky Lam will join the firm in Newcastle and Sydney, respectively, with banking and finance partners Adam Fuller and Ben Burney joining in Sydney. Burney will also assume leadership of the Asia-Pacific banking and financial services group.

The sixth partner recruit for DWF is Sydney restructuring and insolvency partner Kirsten Farmer, who joins from HWL Ebsworth.

The Newcastle office will be DWF’s fourth Australian base after it opened in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane last year, with the latest hires taking its regional head count to about 75.

“Since launching in Australia just last year we have made significant progress in further defining and expanding our offering and, after an initial bedding-in period, we are now focused on our next strategic phase of growth,” said DWF managing partner and CEO Andrew Leaitherland. “I’m really pleased to welcome these individuals on board, and believe they each bring not only a skill set that adds more breadth and depth to our offering, but also a commitment to challenging convention that aligns with our values and ways of working.”

The latest launch follows the firm’s move into Qatar earlier this year, while it also recently expanded into Istanbul via an exclusive alliance with local firm Ozkan Law.

Sparke Helmore has appointed mining and resources partner Andrew White as interim chairman following the resignation of Mark Hickey, the national firm’s chair since 2015.*

*Updated 5/14: This story has updated with Sparke Helmore’s appointment of an interim chair following Mark Hickey’s resignation. The last paragraph was added to reflect that.