Jeff Derix (pictured), who joined the firm this week (1 September), will focus on developing the contracting, procurement and commercial practice.
Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Derix said, “The opportunity to move back into private practice and to be able to service a range of Commonwealth clients with a firm like Maddocks is very exciting for me. It provides a great opportunity for me to do what I love.”
Derix previously acted as the general counsel for the Grains Research & Development Corporation, a government body that is responsible for delivering improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
Prior to this, he spent well over a decade servicing government clients in private practice at Ashurst, Clayton Utz and Phillips Fox, specializing mostly in procurement, contracting, IP licensing, as well as funding agreements.
Derix said that working within a Commonwealth authority gave him a unique perspective on a whole range of issues, some of which were legal but others of which were related to process, risk and all sorts of governance issues.
“It was the right time for me to take that learning back into private practice,” he said.
A bigger slice of the pie
Maddocks opened its Canberra office in February 2012 in order to expand its federal government client base.
Within one year of opening, the Commonwealth revenue across the firm grew 174 per cent. In the second year it grew another 75 per cent.
In 2013 Bronwyn Weir came on board as a partner in Canberra, having relocated from Maddocks’ Melbourne office.
Maddocks’ market share in advising Commonwealth government went from less than one per cent to three per cent in two years, taking the firm to equal eighth place in the top 10 service providers.
Partner-in-charge of the Canberra office Simonetta Astolfi, told Lawyers Weekly, “It’s really exciting [that Derix is joining] because it shows just how much we’ve grown that within two years we are already at the point where we are appointing new partners. The growth has been amazing.”
While Maddocks is expanding in Canberra, the national firm has had a number of high profile departures from its Sydney office recently.
The firm’s former national chair and Sydney head, Stan Kondilios, left Maddocks and started his own boutique practice in July.
In April, Peter Shaw, the former head of the firm’s corporate group, joined ex-Maddocks partner Peter Keel at start-up consultancy firm Ash Street. Maria MacNamara, the director of business development and marketing at Maddocks from 2010 to 2012, also moved to Ash Street in August.