HSF disputes partner elected as president of the Law Society of Western Australia

Ante Golem underscores focus on diversity & inclusion, wellbeing and pro bono initiatives during his tenure

Ante Golem Image courtesy of Herbert Smith Freehills

A commercial disputes partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, Ante Golem, has been elected unopposed as the Law Society of Western Australia’s president for 2023. 

Golem, who was first elected to that Law Society’s council in 2018, was the senior vice president for 2022. He is head of the HSF’s Perth disputes team, with a focus on disputes in the construction, engineering, mining, energy and resources and infrastructure sectors, all of which are key industries in the state. 

He trained and qualified at the firm in 2004 and made partner ten years later, having previously served as an associate to Justice Carmel McLure AC KC at the Supreme Court of Western Australia, later president of the WA Court of Appeal.

Golem also has significant experience in class action litigation and has acted in some of Australia’s largest class action proceedings, working closely with practitioners such as Damien Grave and Jason Betts.

Golem said, “I am honoured to be the President of the Law Society for 2023. It has been a privilege to serve as senior vice president in 2022 and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue assisting in the important work of the Law Society.”

He added that he would work with fellow council members and other stakeholders “to support change in our profession to help foster a culture that embraces diversity, equality, flexibility and inclusion for all current and future members,” a theme pursued by his new London counterpart, Lubna Shuja. 

Western Australia appointed Jones Day partner Michael Lundberg as its first Aboriginal Supreme Court judge recently, underscoring the judiciary’s focus on such issues.  

“I further hope to build on the work done to improve awareness and understanding of the importance of supporting health and wellness across the profession, including in relation to mental health issues,” Golem added. 

“During my tenure, I will also assist the Law Society to maintain its commitment to pro bono initiatives, so that our profession continues to play its part in ensuring that the broader community can access the justice system.”

Outgoing Law Society president Rebecca Lee said: “Ante has been an outstanding contributor to Council for many years, and a supportive colleague on [the] executive. His ‘can do’ attitude and commitment to positive leadership will ensure the Law Society successfully continues to be the voice of the legal profession.”

Welcoming the news, Elizabeth Macknay, HSF Perth managing partner, said Golem’s elevation was “a natural progression” that would enable him “to contribute [and] to lead conversations about issues that are important to the profession.” 

Golem’s election demonstrates the firm’s willingness to support lawyers in their wider roles, with Justin D’Agostino, the firm’s CEO, joining the executive board of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in June.

Mark Rigotti, D’Agostino’s predecessor as global CEO, also left the firm to take up a leadership role at the Australian Institute of Company Directors in June, having similarly pursued other interests

HSF promoted a trio of Perth-based lawyers to partner in its 34-strong promotions rounds in April, its largest ever. The office has close to 100 lawyers including 22 partners and a strong focus on the mining, energy and oil and infrastructure sectors. 

In July the firm also reported its ninth consecutive year of growth, increasing fee income by 6% to hit £1.103bn and growing profit per equity partner by the same rate to £1.163m. 


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