Norton Rose Fulbright
(NRF) has picked its current Australian chair Tricia Hobson as its next global chair. She is the firm’s first ever female appointee to the role.
Hobson's term begins on 1 January. She succeeds Stephen Parish, who will remain as NRF’s chair in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. As an ambassadorial leadership role, NRF’s global chair post has a one-year term.
Peter Martyr, global chief executive, said Hobson’s appointment demonstrates the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the development of NRF’s global business. “Tricia’s knowledge and extensive experience of working within the global insurance industry will be invaluable as we look to grow our practice,” he added.
Hobson is known for her expertise in class actions in the insurance industry. She also specialises in general insurance, dispute resolution, professional indemnity and liability, and regulation and investigations. Apart from the Australian chairpersonship, she is also the firm’s Asia-Pacific head of insurance.
As an international law firm, NRF needs to adapt to the changing environments its clients are facing, Hobson told Australasian Lawyer
“Global law firms are no different to other international businesses, in that they have to keep anticipating and responding to the needs of their clients in a rapidly changing world,” she said.
But among global law firms, she believes NRF is on a solid footing, precisely because it has a comprehensive set of strategies in place.
“Thankfully, this is a lot easier when you have a clear and well-devised strategy, which we have, in the form of our 2020 global transformation program,” she said. “Our 2020 program has been underway for a number of years now. It includes substantial investments in new technology and agile ways of working, and with a focus on how we assist our clients navigate the ever increasing risk environment they face. Our strategy will help us continue to service our existing and new clients successfully.”
Areas of focus
Hobson says her experience as the Australian chair and as a senior member of the firm’s Asia-Pacific leadership team has prepared her well for the global chair position.
“As Australian chair and Asia-Pacific head of insurance, I’ve gained an important and broad perspective on how our business operates at every level – from local to global – and how we can motivate and inspire our people,” she said. “Having also run a busy practice for many years, I am closely attuned to what clients want from a modern law firm, and how to help instil a culture of excellence in our client service.”
Hobson will focus on collaboration, innovation, and client relationship development, while spearheading global diversity and inclusion initiatives, NRF said. She also identified maintaining the firm’s brand as a priority.
“Our brand is critical to our success and as chair, protecting and enhancing this has always been of critical importance to me as it will be in the global role,” she said.
In the client relationship development front, Hobson said that her goal will be to show clients how NRF can help them gain from change.
“As global chair, I will spend 2018 meeting with our major clients to discuss how they can benefit from these changes and from our experience,” she said.
That focus on change, including in terms of diversity, will also guide her on developing the outlook of the firm’s lawyers and staff. “I will also be meeting with our people across the world, to talk about how we are creating the law firm of the future with a focus on driving innovation. One important part of that is boosting diversity and inclusion in our leadership roles.”
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