10:04, August 08 235 0

2017-08-08 10:04:08
Pinsent Masons set to launch third Australian office with NRF team hire

Pinsent Masons will launch a third Australian office in Perth following the hire of a four-strong team from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Two of the four partners, Matthew Croagh and Bill Ryan, will join Pinsent Masons’ Melbourne office, while Rob Buchanan will be based in Sydney. Adrienne Parker will be the founding partner of the firm’s new Perth office, which is set to be launched towards the end of the year.

All four partners’ practices focus primarily on the construction, infrastructure and energy sectors. Croagh, Buchanan and Ryan are disputes partners, while Parker advises on major projects across Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Africa.

Parker joined Norton Rose Fulbright in July 2014 from Clayton Utz, where she was made up in 2013 following a 19-year career at the firm. She also currently serves as president of the WA Chapter of National Association of Women in Construction.

“Our strong growth and high calibre of work is being recognised and we are delighted to be able to attract a stellar team of fellow specialists to join us in expanding our business into Perth. The appointments also present an opportunity to expand further into the energy sector,” said David Rennick, Pinsent Masons head of Australia.

Pinsent Masons first started considering an Australia launch in 2013 when it hired Rennick from Australian firm Maddocks, where he served as chief executive. Following a year-long review, it finally opened its doors in Melbourne and Sydney in 2015.

The latest team hire will push the total number of the firm’s Australian partners to 12.

In addition to the latest expansion, Pinsent Masons’ legal resourcing hub Vario has also recently announced its expansion into Australia, its first operational base outside of the UK. The firm has set a recruitment target of 50 to 80 lawyers to join Vario in Australia by April 2018 under account manager Paul Garth.

Pinsents has been expanding its global platform rapidly over the past year. With the Perth launch, the firm will have 25 offices globally. Earlier this year, the firm also launched in Dublin, Madrid and Johannesburg.

Norton Rose Fulbright has recently voted to merge with Australian firm Henry Davis York. The combined firm will have around 160 partners and nearly 600 lawyers across five offices in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, making it the second largest global firm in Australia after Herbert Smith Freehills.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Australia arm has seen a stream of partner departures over the past year. Most recently, its Asia Pacific technology business group leader Michael Park left for Allens, Brisbane-based infrastructure and projects partner Joshua Paffey joined Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and M&A partner Michael Joyce moved to Singapore to join US firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

According to The Lawyer Global 200 2017 data, which will be published later this month, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Australia partnership shrank by 17.9 per cent, from 140 partners in March 2016 to 115 in March 2017.

Apart from Pinsent Masons, Kennedys is another UK firm that has recently expanded its footprints Down Under. Earlier this week, the firm opened its second Australian office in Melbourne with the hire of Lander & Rogers partner Michael Kavanagh.