Derek Humphery-Smith

Partner & Head of International

Derek leads our firm's international practice, driving our strategy to be the independent Australian firm of choice in our key overseas markets: US, UK, Japan, China, Singapore and Malaysia. He also co-ordinates our five commercial groups to ensure they remain constantly client focussed and working collaboratively as a seamless commercial offering for both Australian and international clients.


Derek practises in all areas of workplace relations and safety law. He operates extensively across both the public and private sectors with experience in all Australian jurisdictions.

Derek is regularly sought out by employers when matters are sensitive or where media interest will be high. Clients who have retained Derek include prominent Australian and international companies and government bodies such as: Reece Australia; Medibank Private; Malaysia Airlines; Gallagher; RSM Australia; Grant Thornton; Deloitte; Ord Minnett; BDO; The University of Melbourne; RMIT; Victoria Police; Parliament of Victoria; Telstra; Deutsche Bank; Port of Melbourne Corporation; Crown Resorts; and the Australian Football League.

Derek is our Relationship Partner for the Victorian Government, a key relationship for our firm across six of our practice groups.

In recent times, Derek has been engaged by a number of global law and accounting firms to resolve historical misconduct matters.

Derek also has a strong practice in integrity and corruption matters.

Derek is recognised in the 2008 to 2023 editions of Best Lawyers in Australia for his expertise in Labour & Employment Law and Occupational Health & Safety. In 2016, Derek was nominated as one of only four lawyers in Australia to be the Most Client Focused Lawyer in the Financial Review Client Choice Awards.

Derek is also the Chair of TerraLex, the world's largest network of independent law firms representing over 22,500 lawyers globally. TerraLex was again rated as an elite network by Chambers Global in 2022.

Career highlights

Derek's notable experience includes acting for:

  • Malaysia Airlines in co-ordinating its investigation into the disappearance of MH370;
  • the Parliament of Victoria in respect of various investigations into misconduct allegations made against Members of Parliament;
  • Richmond Football Club in investigating the distribution of an intimate image by a player immediately following the 2017 AFL Grand Final; and
  • Victoria Police in respect of its successful defence of its first ever workplace bullying prosecution by WorkSafe Victoria.