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New partners bring hope in downturn

New partners bring hope in downturn

As a swag of new appointments became effective in law firms around the country today, Minter Ellison welcomed 15 new partners to its fold.

All internal promotions, the  appointments represented a broad spread of practitioners from across all the firm’s practice areas and offices in Australasia.

Nigel McBride, chief executive partner of Minter Ellison’s SA/NT offices, said the promotions reflected the firm’s commitment to encourage its talent, despite the current financial times.

“It would be easier to say to people in a recession that you have got to park your expectations, but our firm has taken the view that you have to recognise the achievements of your people,” he said.

“Being appointed to partner or senior associate is not just about salary, it’s about holding those people out to your clients as having professional skills that should be valued. It’s also about keeping our lawyers engaged and recognising the level of skill they have achieved.”

Five women were included in the firm’s roll call of partner appointments.

McBride said flexible workplace arrangements had made it easier for women to rise through the traditionally male-dominated ranks of law firms, despite factors like maternity leave that could cause gaps in their careers.

“Flexible workplace arrangements is the right expression, they aren’t working part time,” he said.

Those lawyers who really shone were those who were reciprocal with the flexibility of their situation, McBride added.

“It’s those who recognise that their clients have urgent needs and make themselves available either by mobile phone or blackberry on the days that they aren’t in the office that really make those arrangements work for themselves, the firm and the clients.”

McBride said Minter Ellison, like most firms, would take a “prudent approach” in the new financial year, but its diversity across a huge range of market areas gave it some stability.

“We are going into the next financial year with cautious optimism,” he said. 

“No one really knows what the next few years are going to bring, but we are a strong firm with great people and diversified clients.”

“We are aware, however, that the goal posts have changed and things are harder than they have been for a long time.”

In other appointments, Deacons made eight new partners, including five women, and six special counsel; Freehills made three partners; Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Middletons and Hopgood Ganim made two new partners; and Australian Business Lawyers, Hall and Willcox, and Arnold Bloch Leibler each added one partner.

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