Fourteen women make the cut in Herbert Smith Freehills’ 27-strong partner promotions round

New partners strengthen firm’s private capital, energy transition and ESG offerings

A selection of HSF's new partner cohort Image courtesy of Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has welcomed 27 new partners in its latest promotions round. 

The group is smaller than last year’s 32-strong round but includes 14 women, or 52% of the total – up on last year’s 47% and 2022’s 41%.  

HSF’s CEO, Justin D’Agostino, said the promotions would drive the firm’s Ambition 2025 strategy and growth areas of private capital, energy transition and ESG.  

“We are incredibly pleased to recognise the breadth of talent we have in our practices across the network. Our new partners have the expertise to ensure we continue to drive our Ambition strategy and are integral to the future leadership and success of the firm,” he added.  

As in previous years the UK and Australia saw the most promotions, with eight moving up in London including M&A duo Laura Ackroyd and Charles Steward and equity capital markets and ESG specialist Sarah Ries-Coward. Meantime there were three promotions apiece in Sydney and Melbourne, two in Brisbane and one in Perth.  

In EMEA there was one promotion each in Madrid, Paris and Brussels, while in Dubai Anna Szyndler was welcomed in the M&A team.  

There were also four promotions in Asia across the firm’s offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Jakarta, where dispute resolution and corporate finance lawyer Michelle Virgiany got the nod while on secondment to HSF’s Indonesian associate firm Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung. The promotions follow the firm announcing the closure of two of its Asia offices last year – in South Korea and Kuala Lumpur – citing changing client needs. 

The final two promotions went to New York duo Marco de Sousa and Michael Jones, who were made up in the international arbitration and public international law and commercial litigation teams respectively.  

In terms of practice areas, HSF’s M&A team gained the most new partners, welcoming seven, some of whose practices also cover areas including private capital, takeovers and energy and infrastructure. The firm’s commercial litigation practice saw four lawyers move up, international arbitration three and projects, intellectual property and competition, regulatory and trade two each.

The remaining seven promotions were spread across practice areas including corporate crime and investigations, financial services, industrial relations, equity capital markets, public law, real estate and competition.  

HSF’s chair and senior partner, Rebecca Maslen-Stannage, commented: “Spanning across all regions where we have a presence, these appointments reflect the confidence we have in our global business and our commitment to investing in our people. We are delighted to welcome our new partners and congratulate them on this significant milestone.”

The promotions follow a record financial year for HSF in the year ended 30 April 2023, when the firm grew revenue 8% to £1.19bn against 1% growth in profit per equity partner to £1.17m.

The promotions are effective 1 May 2024. The full list of partners:  


Christopher Clay, Tokyo – Corporate Crime and Investigations

Michelle Virgiany, Jakarta – Financial Services and Technology*

Lucy Curran, Singapore – M&A and Private Capital

Murphy Mok, Hong Kong – International Arbitration*


Matthew Cameron, Brisbane – Industrial Relations and Employment

Mia Harrison-Kelf, Sydney – M&A and Takeovers

Laurelle Ko, Sydney – Projects

Tess Mierendorff, Sydney – Intellectual Property (Transactions)

Jared Peut, Melbourne – Competition

Anika Sadler, Perth – Commercial Litigation and Restructuring, Turnaround and Insolvency

Mathew Shelley, Brisbane – Energy and Infrastructure and Commercial Litigation

Claire Thompson, Melbourne – M&A and Takeovers

Joseph Varghese, Melbourne – Projects


Miguel Fraga, Madrid – Energy and Infrastructure/M&A

Emily Fox, Paris – International Arbitration

Dr Morris Schonberg, Brussels – Competition, Regulation and Trade

Anna Szyndler, Dubai – M&A


Laura Ackroyd, London – M&A

Emily Bottle, London/Milan – Intellectual Property

Vassilena Karadakova, London – Competition, Regulation and Trade

Philip Lis, London – Commercial Litigation and Restructuring, Turnaround and Insolvency

Sarah Ries-Coward, London – Equity Capital Markets and ESG

Charles Steward, London – M&A

James Wood, London – Public Law

Carolyn Milligan, London – Real Estate


Marco de Sousa, New York – International Arbitration and Public International Law

Michael Jones, New York – Commercial Litigation

* To meet regulatory requirements, these lawyers will use different titles in their local jurisdictions: Michelle Virgiany – Senior International Counsel; Murphy Mok – Senior Foreign Registered Lawyer (England & Wales).

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]