Hall & Wilcox appoints first female Chair of Partners


Hall & Wilcox has appointed Emma Woolley as its new Chair of Partners. Emma becomes the first female Chair in the firm’s 105-year history.

Emma has been a Partner in Hall & Wilcox since 2012. She is recognised as an industry leader in private clients and wills and estates. She has led the growth and success of the firm’s Private Clients practice, which is recognised as one of the best practices of its kind in Australia.

As the firm’s pro bono partner for more than five years, Emma was instrumental in the expansion and success of the firm’s Pro Bono & Community practice.

Emma has been a member of the Hall & Wilcox Board since 2019. She is a board member or holds advisory roles for a number of privately held family groups, and is on the Board of the Williamstown Football Club. She was also on the Board of the Australian Communities Foundation for nine years.

Emma said, 'I am delighted to be appointed as chair of Hall & Wilcox, a firm with a long history of inclusion and with such a great culture. I am honoured to take on the role and look forward to working with our great leadership team.’

Managing Partner Tony Macvean said Emma is an outstanding lawyer and leader, who actively supports the firm’s vision and values (Hallmarks) and will bring significant governance experience to the Chair role.

‘Emma is admired in the firm and the market for her quality, judgement and gravitas. I can’t wait to work with Emma as we embark on the next stage of the firm’s growth and evolution.’

Mr Macvean also paid tribute to Mark Dunphy, who has decided not to stand for a further term as Chair, having been in the role since 2015.

‘As Chair, Mark has made a significant contribution to the firm and its leadership and governance. Mark has overseen a period of significant growth for the firm – during his tenure, we have more than doubled in partner numbers. His rigorous and considered approach in leading the Board has been a strength of the firm, and is appreciated by the Board and leadership team,’ he said.

‘Partners value Mark as a sounding board and conduit with management. I have loved my time working with Mark as Chair, and can’t thank him enough for his contribution. I am glad that he will still be around as a senior partner and counsel.’

Emma takes up her role from 1 January 2023.

Hall & Wilcox is a leading independent law firm. We have more than 950 people, including approximately 120 partners, working across eight offices. We build partnerships with and service corporate, public sector and private clients, both Australian-based and those offshore doing business in Australia.


Melinda Woledge

Melinda Woledge

Marketing & Communications Manager

Melinda is the Marketing & Communications Manager. She is responsible for the external and internal communication strategy.

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