Freehills' WA chief Jason Ricketts has been tapped to lead the Australian practice of the soon-to-be Herbert Smith Freehills.
His elevation was among a number of key appointments announced yesterday in the lead-up to Freehills' merger with the UK-based Herbert Smith in October.
Mr Ricketts will head the combined firm's Australian practice from Perth as managing partner.
A University of WA graduate, he has been with Freehills for 22 years, with an advisory focus on infrastructure projects, industry reform and public private partnerships He succeeded John Atkins as head of the Perth office in 2008.
Freehills and Herbert Smith said in a joint statement Mr Ricketts' appointment reflected "the importance of Perth as a growing business hub for Asia Pacific and its strength in natural resources".
Mr Ricketts said he would remain in Perth "for the moment" but added there were no plans to move to the east coast.
The merged firm will be organised around global practice groups and headed by joint chief executives in David Willis and Gavin Bell, the existing managing partners of Herbert Smith and Freehills respectively. Mr Bell is based in Sydney but is expected to spend time in the UK.
Herbert Smith Freehills will have 2800 lawyers and 460 partners.