MELBOURNE: HBA Legal, part of Crawford & Company , the world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions, has again expanded its offering with the launch of an employment law and industrial relations practice.

The national firm has welcomed two Partners, Michelle Dawson and Emily Dempster, as well as Associate Nicole Davis, all formerly of Moray & Agnew.

HBA’s Director of Strategy & Growth, Nathan Hepple, said the new team would allow the business to evolve its offering for clients requiring assistance across general employment law, workplace relations, industrial relations and discrimination, as well as employment migration.

“Michelle and Emily have worked together for more than 10 years and have one of the best reputations in the legal industry when it comes to successfully tackling challenges faced by businesses across multiple sectors including manufacturing, transport, construction, water and not-for-profit.

“The addition of our new team complements our already strong Occupational Health and Safety practice,” he said.

Ms. Dawson said: “The client and employee proposition at HBA is unique in the market. Being a law firm in its own right, but also being genuinely part of something bigger, means there are not the same constraints that can be experienced in traditional law firms. That’s attractive from a personal perspective, but I believe it also extends to being able to create superior client-centric solutions for the businesses that trust us with solving their challenges.”

Mr. Hepple added: “As part of Crawford we are offering new and unique services, bold pricing models and creating legal solutions at the forefront of technology. There’s no doubt clients love it and great talent is being attracted to it too.”

Ms. Dawson predicted that employment practices liability work will soon represent a significant component of all employment-related back-end legal work in Australia.

“Much like we have seen in the UK in recent times, employment lawyers who do this type of work are best positioned to service the clients in this space,” she said.

Crawford Australia President Tim Jarman said the addition of legal services to the broader business just over 12 months ago has meant Crawford has an end-to-end offering that is unrivalled by its competitors.

“There is no other claims management business in the country that can be with the claim from start to finish – from ‘first notification of loss’ through to the Supreme Court. We call this our ‘One Crawford solution which simplifies the process for our clients because they only have to deal with one company across the life of the claim.

“While our roots are in adjusting, today we offer that and so much more. Our evolved seamless end-to-end solutions combine adjusting, TPA, forensic accounting, building & construction and legal. This means Crawford has economies of scale as a one-stop-shop and we are able to offer superior and cost-effective solutions to our customers,” Mr. Jarman said.

Michelle Dawson (Newcastle based) and Emily Dempster (Melbourne based) joined HBA on 1 February, while Nicole Davis (Melbourne based) begins later in the month. Dawson has over 25 years’ experience and has been at the partner level since 2015. Moving to HBA elevates Dempster from special counsel to partner. The pair has worked with Davis for the past five years.