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HFW continues Australia expansion with appointment of leading shipping, aerospace, energy, insurance, commodities, and litigation funding Partner

15 January 2024

Global, sector focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its Australia business, strengthen its shipping, aerospace, energy, insurance, and commodities expertise, and bolster its litigation funding capabilities, with the appointment of partner Maurice Thompson in Melbourne.

 Maurice joins HFW with a team of seven lawyers from Clyde & Co and other firms.

Maurice has 30 years’ experience in Australia and the Middle East advising clients on complex large-scale disputes and litigation in the shipping, aerospace, energy & resources, insurance and commodities sectors. He also has substantial experience acting in class actions and litigation involving litigation funders in Australia and internationally.

His appointment is the latest in a series of high-profile hires HFW has made in Australia, including the appointment of four leading corporate, projects, regulatory and restructuring partners in Perth and Sydney, who joined the firm in November 2023 with a team of 15 lawyers. In December 2023, the firm also appointed environment and climate change partner Ruth Dawes in Sydney, and earlier in the year it hired industrial relations, safety and employment partner Simon Billing in Perth, and construction litigation partner Ken Hickman in Melbourne.

Gavin Vallely, Managing Partner, HFW Australia:

“Maurice was a member of HFW Australia’s foundation team when our first Australian office was opened in 2006, and I am delighted to welcome him back as a partner.

“Having started his career in shipping and commodities and establishing himself as one of Australia’s leading practitioners in these sectors, Maurice has also become an expert practitioner in the offshore energy, aviation, insurance, litigation funding and, more recently, autonomous ships and aircraft sectors. He has vast experience managing large scale multijurisdictional arbitrations and litigation, and his practice is a perfect fit with HFW’s industry sectors.

“Maurice’s appointment continues the strategic expansion of our business in Australia, which has more than doubled in size since FY15.”

Maurice’s experience includes advising on disputes arising from marine casualties, offshore facilities’ construction and performance, biosecurity, trade credit insurance and international trading of minerals, hydrocarbon products and agricultural commodities. He also acted for airlines and their insurers in defending multiple Australian Court proceedings arising from the MH17, MH370 and Germanwings 9525 casualties.

He is generally recognised as having the leading litigation funding practice in Australia and has secured funding for several large cases in Australia and overseas involving claims for damages ranging between AUD$100m – AUD$500m.

Maurice is qualified in Australia, and England and Wales, and holds post graduate legal qualifications from South Africa and the USA. He has experience practising in Australia, England, China and Dubai.

Maurice Thompson, partner, HFW:

“I am excited to re-join HFW. The firm’s capabilities in shipping, commodities and aviation are second-to-none, and its sector focus resonates strongly with the market. I am looking forward to collaborating with colleagues across Australia and internationally to introduce my clients to the firm’s global offering.

“I also look forward to leading HFW’s global litigation funding team and assisting the firm and its clients in taking advantage of opportunities arising with developments in the litigation/disputes funding market internationally. The firm has an ambition to become a market leader in litigation/disputes funding and the opportunity to contribute to this initiative was a major attraction for me.”

HFW was one of the first international law firms in Australia and now has more than 30 partners and 130 lawyers across its offices in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. The firm’s Australia business works closely with its other international offices in Asia Pacific and around the world. The firm recently obtained approval to open an office in Shenzhen, increasing its global footprint to 21 offices.

The arrival of Maurice’s team continues a period of sustained growth for HFW globally, with the firm adding 29 new partners since the beginning of FY23, including a major team hire in Australia and further laterals in Hong Kong, London, ParisRiyadh, and Singapore.

HFW also recently launched an office in Shenzhen Qianhai to support its clients in China’s Greater Bay Area.

Press Contact
Kelly Murray
Senior Manager, Communications APAC