05 Sep 2022

HFW hires labour law partner from Memery Crystal to lead London employment practice

Michelle Chance was also previously employment practice head at Rosenblatt and Womble Bond Dickinson

Michelle Chance Image courtesy of HFW

Top 30 UK firm HFW has hired Memery Crystal’s former head of contentious employment Michelle Chance to lead the firm’s London employment practice.

Chance joins as a partner, bringing with her 20 years of experience across a range of employment matters, including class action discrimination claims, sexual harassment, whistleblowing, internal investigations and bonus disputes. She advises clients across HFW’s core sectors – insurance, shipping and energy – as well as the media, professional and financial services industries. She will work alongside HFW’s general counsel Neil Adams and the rest of the firm’s employment team.

Jeremy Shebson, managing partner at HFW, said: “Michelle is a formidable litigator and negotiator, with significant experience advising clients across many of HFW's core sectors. She also has a proven record of building and leading successful employment practices at several law firms.”

Shebson added: “As well as being an outstanding lawyer, Michelle is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, having been on the D&I committees of each of the three firms at which she’s previously been a partner.”

Prior to her spell at Memery Crystal, Chance was head of employment at Rosenblatt and Womble Bond Dickinson, as well as a partner at Kingsley Napley. She also co-founded the Association of Professional Working Parents, where she spent more than six years.

Chance said: “HFW has a great reputation for complex, high-value disputes, and particularly for High Court litigation, which makes it an excellent platform to build and develop a dedicated employment practice.”

The firm has already started expanding its employment coverage in other jurisdictions. In 2019, it hired an eight-strong team from Dentons to launch its Australian employment and workplace relations practice, including partners Mark Sant and Brendan Milne (Milne departed this year for employment law specialists Kingston Reid).

Last month HFW also made a double partner hire in Dubai from shipping rival Clyde & Co, which included shipping and offshore marine lawyers Robert Lawrence and Ian Chung.

Also in August, the firm said its revenue and profit per equity partner (PEP) dipped over the past financial year, having set a record in 2021. Total revenue fell 0.8% to £198.7m in the 12 months to the end of March, with PEP falling by 2% to £669,000. 

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