The promotions follow an increase in commercial litigation and a growth in corporate insolvency across Australia.
From 1 December, Mark Gowans, Melanie Bird and Liam McCusker will join the partnership, while Christian Munt will take up the role of in-house counsel. All four are currently members of the firm’s commercial disputes & insolvency practice.
Established in 1996, the Donaldson Walsh partnership includes founders John Walsh, Alastair Donaldson and William Esau.
“These promotions are critical to the evolution of Donaldson Walsh,” said managing partner John Walsh.
“As a partnership, we recognise the importance of succession planning to ensure the survival of the firm long after its founders have moved on.”
“Mark, Melanie, Liam and Christian have emerged as leaders of the firm – both in terms of their stewardship and mentoring capability and their capacity for building practices based upon meaningful client relationships.”
Walsh said a significant rise in the number of commercial cases being filed in Australian courts in recent years had confirmed the need for partners in the areas of litigation and corporate recovery, and also influenced the firm’s decision to create an in-house counsel position.
“Our clients and referrers are increasingly looking for a holistic service from a firm that cannot only advise them on a wide range of commercial matters, but also provide access to a barrister with whom they can develop a long-standing relationship,” he said.
“With Christian’s role embedded in the firm, our solicitors can seek counsel’s opinion at an early stage, which will provide clients with richer advice and a more strategic approach to their matters, particularly those that ultimately proceed to trial.”
The expansion of the partnership follows Donaldson Walsh’s August 2012 merger with boutique tax and commercial practice Campbell Rankine, and the appointment earlier this year of the firm’s first chief executive officer, Karen Percival.