Blake Dawson’s Melbourne head of commercial dispute resolution, Graydon Dowd, has joined Hall & Wilcox (H&W) as a partner.
Dowd was hired on 11 January following his departure from Blakes where he has worked for ten years as head of the firm’s Melbourne commercial dispute resolution team since 2005.
Dowd is joined by sports lawyer Martin Ross, who was appointed yesterday (31 January) to H&W’s corporate & commercial team. Ross joins H&W from Melbourne firm Browne & Co where he practised for 15 years.
As a principal of Browne & Co – the firm of choice for the AFL for many years – Ross has acted for the AFL, Cricket Australia, the Professional Golfers Association and the Holden Racing Team over a wide range of commercial and commercial litigation work, including facilities, sponsorship and broadcast agreements.
He has also acted on behalf of content owners and government bodies and is currently a director of the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA), as well as a current and founding member of the Law Institute of Victoria’s sports law committee.
Ross’s appointment sees H&W grow to 34 partners, representing around a 20 per cent increase in partner numbers over the last six months, with four internal appointments announced in late December 2011.
Dowd is one of a spate of partners, including Daniel Preston, Peter Stirling, Sally Audeyev and Angela Summersby, who have announced they have left Blakes, or will be shortly, over the last three months.
When speaking to Lawyers Weekly this week about Peter Sterling’s expected departure to Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Blakes managing partner John Carrington dismissed any suggestion that the defection of high-profile partners was the result of discontent within the ranks of Blakes regarding the imminent merger with UK firm Ashurst.
“At the end of last year there was a high level of enthusiasm amongst our staff with regard to what we were proposing,” said Carrington.
Blakes is due to rebrand as Ashurst in March.
The firm announced today that it has poached leading M&A partners Garry Besson and Gary Lawler from Gilbert + Tobin, to join its corporate practice in Sydney.
See Lawyers Weekly later in the week for the full story on Blakes latest appointees.