Perth’s largest law firm will be led by a woman for the first time, with Elizabeth Macknay appointed office managing partner of Herbert Smith Freehills.
Ms Macknay brings more than 20 years’ experience in commercial litigation and dispute resolution to the role.
She succeeds Tony Joyner, who has been office managing partner in Perth for the past decade.
He will continue with the firm as a partner.
Ms Maslen-Stannage, who is based in Sydney, is one of Australia’s leading corporate finance and M&A lawyers.
The two women told Business News that HSF had been focused on gender and diversity issues for many years and that played a big part in their careers.
Ms Macknay has led the Corporate Crime & Investigations, Regulatory Compliance and International Arbitration teams in Perth.
In that capacity, she said she has enjoyed working closely with Mr Joyner and other section heads over several years.
“I’ve really enjoyed the bolt-on of having a management role in addition to my practice,” she said.
Ms Macknay said the managing partner role was a new challenge and a stretch for her career and provided an opportunity to assist others in the firm.
She added that she would bring a strong knowledge of the firm’s national and regional networks.
“I’ve done a lot of work across the Australia Asia corridor and I know particularly the Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo offices pretty well, and from a Perth perspective that’s very important.”
Ms Maslen-Stannage said HSF was aiming to take advantage of the disruption caused by COVID and other trends.
“We want to be a firm that really benefits from that, by looking at how we do things differently, how we connect better,” she said.
“We want to integrate digital technology more and integrate that with our practice, that’s one key theme that TJ has been quite instrumental in driving for us and will continue to be.”
* For an in-depth profile of HSF's new leaders and analysis of the sector, see our annual Legal Feature in the next edition of Business News, published on Monday 17 May.