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HFW Continues Australia Growth With Hire Of Expert Environment And Climate Change Partner

11 December 2023

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its fast-growing Australia business with the hire of environment and climate change partner Ruth Dawes in Sydney.

Ruth, who joins HFW from Baker McKenzie, advises on all aspects of environmental and planning law, with a particular focus on major projects, sustainability, climate change, and renewable energy.

HFW has now added 11 partners in Australia since the beginning of FY23, including the recent arrival of a leading corporate, projects, regulatory and restructuring team from MinterEllison. The firm has an ambitious global growth strategy, and its Australia business has more than doubled in size since FY15.

Gavin Vallely, Australia Managing Partner, HFW:

“I am delighted to welcome Ruth to the firm. She is an extremely talented and experienced lawyer with a genuine passion for helping businesses achieve their energy transition goals.

“Sustainability is a key priority for our firm, both in terms of reducing the environmental impact of our own operations globally, but also in supporting our clients to achieve their environmental goals, across the aerospace, commodities, construction, insurance, energy, and shipping sectors.

“ESG, sustainability, and energy transition are of paramount importance for most, if not all, of our clients, and the legal and regulatory landscape governing these areas is complex and constantly evolving.

“Ruth is one of only a handful of genuine experts in this field in Australia and she will be an invaluable asset for our clients in Australia and internationally as they seize the opportunities and navigate the challenges of the energy transition.

“She will work closely with our real estate and projects teams, and energy transition and climate finance teams, to provide clients with expert planning and environmental advice and litigation.

“Ruth is the latest in a number of truly outstanding partners and teams that have joined our Australia business in the last 12 months. We have plans for further expansion and are actively seeking opportunities to further bolster our client offering. It’s an exciting time for the firm and our clients.”

Ruth has more than 20 years’ experience advising clients on major projects across a wide range of sectors, including energy, infrastructure, and real estate. She works on strategic project planning and approval pathways, climate change, ESG, biodiversity, land contamination and remediation, along with environmental compliance.

Her climate-related experience spans advisory work for governments in Australia and overseas on treaty commitments, commercial/contractual work in relation to carbon offset projects and carbon exchanges, carbon capture and storage, nature investments and training and advisory work to boards and executives on sustainability and climate-related statements and disclosures.

Ruth is an experienced solicitor advocate and has acted for clients in the Land and EnvironmentCourt, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Federal Court, and High Court of Australia.

Ruth Dawes, Partner, HFW:

“I am excited to join HFW. I was impressed by the firm’s strong sector focus, as well as its existing sustainability and energy transition capabilities. I truly believe that the firm is well-placed to establish itself as the leading energy transition practice in the world and I am pleased to be able to contribute to that.”

HFW was one of the first international law firms in Australia and now has more than 30 partners and 130 lawyers in total across its offices in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

This continues a period of sustained growth for HFW globally, with the firm adding 27 new partners since the beginning of FY23, including a major team hire in Australia and further laterals in Hong Kong, London, Paris, Riyadh, andSingapore.

HFW also recently obtained approval to open an office in Shenzhen to support its Greater Bay Area practice.

Press Contact
Kelly Murray
Kelly Murray
Senior Manager, Communications APAC