NRF hires HSF’s former Melbourne corporate head

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Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) is significantly boosting its national corporate and M&A group with the appointment of a seasoned lawyer to the team.

James Crowe has joined the global firm as partner. He returns to private practice after retiring from the Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) partnership last year. As HSF’s head of corporate in Melbourne, he was recognised as one of the key players in the Anglo-Australian giant’s TMT M&A team and managed the accounts of several major clients, including Telstra, Murray Goulburn, and Asciano.

Crowe brings to NRF strong links to the TMT, infrastructure, and agribusiness sectors, the firm said. In the past year, he has been working with start-ups, investors, and the Victorian government to support the nascent Australian start-up industry.

His practice works with technology companies, venture capital, and founders. His work in legal innovation has been globally recognised, including by Harvard University, the US Association of Corporate Counsel, and the Financial Times.

“James’ appointment comes at an important time for our firm, which is investing in its national corporate and M&A offering at the same time as we are increasing our pipeline of innovative products and services in collaboration with our clients,” said Wayne Spanner, NRF’s managing partner in Australia. “James’s decades of experience on major deals for the tech and telco industries in particular will be a huge benefit to our clients and our people.”

Crowe said he was attracted to NRF because the firm considers the technology sector as an area of strategic importance. The firm is also committed to legal innovation, he said.

“I’m a strong believer in working closely with clients to solve problems, from the largest multinationals to emerging start-ups and entrepreneurs. I’m looking forward to adding my experience to the work already underway at the firm, along with getting involved in its growing portfolio of large-scale corporate and M&A deals,” Crowe said.

In September, NRF added four partners from other firms. In August, the firm also hired a global rival’s head in Perth.