Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has recruited two corporate partners from Ashurst in Australia and Japan.

Ian Williams will be based at the firm’s office in Brisbane, and Damien Roberts will be located at HSF’s Tokyo office. The pair will begin working at the firm in early 2015.

Williams is a specialist in mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures in the energy, resources, infrastructure and industrial sectors. He is also the only person ever to have played rugby for both Australia and Japan. Roberts is an expert in M&A, with a particular focus on energy and mining.

Mike Ferraro, HSF's global corporate head, said: “Ian’s strong relationships with Japanese and Korean organisations and Damien’s long-standing relationships with key Japanese corporates and semi-government bodies will boost Herbert Smith Freehills’ strength in Japan and Korea.”

Herbert Smith Freehills has over 20 offices across Asia-Pacific, EMEA and North America. Strong in M&A, it regularly attracts strategically important mandates in Asia-Pacific.