Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) and Hall & Wilcox are adding new partners they have hired from each other in Melbourne.
Natasha Toholka will join NRF on 26 February. Meanwhile, Rory O’Connor has commenced at Hall & Wilcox and joined the firm’s property and projects team.
The hires continue the lateral hiring frenzy among major law firms in Australia that started early this year.
In the last few weeks, NRF confirmed the appointments of partners Penelope Ford from MinterEllison and Gavin Scott from Ashurst.
In January, four senior lawyers from rivals commenced at Hall & Wilcox. This is in addition to the firm’s latest promotion round, which saw the elevation of two new partners and 10 new senior lawyers.
Mills Oakley has also hired former NRF partner Iain Laughland. K&L Gates hired partners Luke Westmore and Zac Kerr from Mills Oakley last month.
Bird & Bird has hired a total of three partners from NRF. King & Wood Mallesons also recently took in former NRF partner Dale Rayner.
Allens hired partner Felicity Rourke from NRF in a double partner hire that also saw former Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Jillian Button move to the firm. However, Allens has also lost partner Richard Harris to Gilbert + Tobin.
Corrs has hired partner Adam Foreman from Clayton Utz. It has also hired partner Felicity Healy from legacy Henry Davis York (HDY) and promoted five new partners.
Recently, Kennedys got a boost from a 10-strong team that defected from TressCox Lawyers, which has merged with HWL Ebsworth.
NRF invests further in restructuring and insolvency team
Toholka, who was a Hall & Wilcox partner, is a specialist in restructuring and insolvency, with nearly 20 years’ experience advising financiers and insolvency practitioners.
She advises clients on all aspects of banking and finance litigation, security enforcement, insolvency (reconstructions, workouts and formal appointments), general commercial disputes, disciplinary proceedings, and regulatory investigations, NRF said.
Wayne Spanner, the global firm’s managing partner in Australia, said that a major attraction for its merger with HDY was the firm’s significant and respected banking and finance and restructuring and insolvency teams.
“The addition of a partner of Natasha’s calibre will further our investment in these areas, as well as our overall offering to domestic and international financial institutions,” he said. “Natasha brings to our large national teams an impressive track record spanning all aspects of disputes and regulatory matters and deep industry connections with financiers and insolvency practitioners.”
Toholka said that financial regulators around the world are aligning in their approach to major investigations and dispute resolution each year. Joining NRF in this context will benefit her clients, she said.
Hall & Wilcox boosts property practice
With the addition of O’Connor, Hall & Wilcox has strengthened its property and projects team.
O’Connor specialises in planning and environment law and has been closely involved in the Victorian government’s social housing program implementation. He has represented the government in planning panel hearings considering the merits of several social housing projects, the firm said.
He acts in a wide range of matters, including major residential, commercial in-fill and growth area development proposals, infrastructure planning, compulsory land acquisition, retail planning, prosecutions and enforcement, and water law. He acts for clients in both the private and government sectors.
Tony Macvean, managing partner at Hall & Wilcox, said that O’Connor also deepens the firm’s public sector capability in addition to his role with the property and projects team.
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