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Hogan Lovells triples Australian partner headcount with new hires

Having long voiced its intention to boost revenues in the Asia-Pacific region Hogan Lovells has recruited four new partners to expand its operations in Australia, hiring Scott Harris from DLA Piper, Richard Hayes from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), and Gilbert & Tobin duo Andrew Crook and Ros O’Malley.

The hires will bring the firm’s partner headcount to six in Australia where they will ‘help spearhead the growth of the firm across a number of key practice areas.’

Harris served as DLA Piper Australia’s restructuring group head in Sydney, and previously worked for Hogan Lovells in London for five years; while finance specialist Hayes was the ‘lead contact’ for the acquisition and leveraged finance practice at KWM in Australia. He has previously worked at Allen & Overy’s London office and with White & Case as a partner in New York. Crook and O’Mally join from local firm Gilbert & Tobin, where they specialised in private equity and project finance respectively.

Hogan Lovells Asia Pacific and Middle East managing partner Patrick Sherrington said: ‘We have deliberately taken our time to choose the right partners that are the perfect strategic and cultural fit. This is a long term investment that demands considered and not hurried decisions.’

Global chief executive Steve Immelt said the new partner hires are ‘executing a strategy that brings together the best people in the market’.

He added: ‘Hogan Lovells’ entrance into the Australian market is informed by a clear and consistent strategy to build a focused practice with ambitious and collaborative partners who are at the top of their game. Australia is an economy that has real significance for clients globally and, in particular, throughout the Asia Pacific region.’

Immelt has previously expressed his intention to better revenues across the firm’s Asia & Middle East offering, which is headed by disputes partner Sherrington and has significantly lagged behind. The region made up only 7% of total billings in 2015, the same as the year before.

The firm established a presence in Australia last March with former Allens partners Nicky Lester and Tim Lester in Sydney and Perth respectively. At the time the firm said it wanted to target Australian entities extending their operations into emerging markets such as Africa and to ‘allow the firm to leverage opportunities’ from cross-border trade flows to and from Australia from South East Asia, Japan and China.