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The journey we embarked on back in 2001: an interview with Thomas Hartwell

Associate Director, Legal International

​This year our Legal practice is celebrating its 20th anniversary! We’re carrying on with our series of interviews, this time with Thomas Hartwell, who is the Associate Director of the Legal International practice here at Hydrogen. You can watch the full interview here.

Since joining Hydrogen's International Legal team over a decade ago, Tom has helped expand the practice and its offering. We'll hear some interesting stories about his time at Hydrogen, how things have changed over the past 10 years, and some insights about the International Legal market.

"I joined Hydrogen in 2011 in the international team to focus on recruiting lawyers in the Middle East. From then on, it’s been a whirlwind journey of setting up our Offshore practice later that year, then really expanding internationally in Russia and more recently launching the US and an Irish dedicated practice, as well as relaunching and rebuilding our Asia Private Practice and Australia Private Practice offerings.

One of the most interesting things for me is that while so much has changed over that time, a lot hasn’t. Our retention has always been excellent and a significant number of people that were here when I joined are still here today. It struck me early on just how specialised everyone was and how well they knew their markets, and that’s still the same now. What has changed is that we’ve grown in numbers and in terms of locations, both as a Legal business and as Hydrogen as a wider business, but the same culture and values that underpin what we're all about haven't really changed.

I’ve experienced plenty of milestones and memorable moments along the way, of course. From my first deal placing a senior litigator, which I was very excited about, to being involved in launching the various new practices I’ve mentioned, as well as seeing colleagues achieve promotions and personal milestones. We’ve had some incredible trips to places like Tokyo, Thailand, and Las Vegas, but probably the most memorable moment for me personally was being flown out to Australia by a client to run a campaign for them, which was a fantastic experience and really allowed me to work closely with them and deliver.

I get asked a lot of the time why I have stayed so long at Hydrogen and why the tenure is so good among the people here and it boils down to one thing for me: the culture. Everyone is so collaborative, working together to achieve their aims and that makes it an absolute joy of a place to work. In addition, everyone's right at the top of their game, so not only are you working with people that want to see us all succeed, but there are also plenty of people to learn from along the way. The collaborative culture makes it a very special Practice for me. When so many genuine specialists work together, it makes finding what our clients and candidates are looking for that much easier. Having looked at our competitors over the years, I’m convinced it’s a real differentiator.

As an international practice, our current remit covers both Private Practice and In-House across Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Middle East, the Caribbean, the Channel Islands, Ireland, and the US. Over the last two years alone, we’ve relocated over 150 people and placed them in over 85 countries to date. Our average time working with people before we place them is three and a half years, which doesn’t mean it takes us that long to find a position, but does mean that we tend to understand our lawyers' motivations extremely well when we do. Our immediate future is all about consolidating our practices and growing those areas out, especially throughout the APAC, US and Middle East regions, and then really building on our global client relationships, so it should be an exciting time."

Get in touch with us if you would like to discuss business or job opportunities within Legal recruitment.

Posted over 2 years ago
About the author:
Becky Morgan

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