find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Exclusive: Partners ‘financially shackled’ to mid-tier

Exclusive: Partners ‘financially shackled’ to mid-tier

The big boss at one of Australia’s mid-tiers has responded to explosive claims which question the firm’s partnership model and upper management style.

Lawyers Weekly understands that McCullough Robertson’s partnership model has come into question, with a number of sources stating that its harsh and restrictive nature has prevented partners from leaving the firm, despite them wanting to do so for years.

One source in particular has gone to the length of saying that partners are “financially shackled” to McCullough Robertson, and that the management philosophy is “aggressive, non-transparent and old-school”.

In addition, the source singled out and questioned the audacity of McCullough Robertson’s Melbourne office, describing it as a “sham”.

To ensure the right of reply, Lawyers Weekly put forward these claims to McCullough Robertson. Furthermore, we asked why such assertions would be made at this time, how the firm considers its management style, how it is attracting and retaining talent, and what it is doing to ensure a healthy culture is intact throughout the business.

“For over 90 years, we have grown our business through hard work, good management and forging strong relationships with our clients. We see ourselves as embedded in commercial markets (not as a tier of the legal industry) and work with our clients to deliver outstanding service and value, and to unlock opportunities for them and our people,” chairman of partners Dominic McGann said.

“We attract and retain staff by challenging them with the best quality work for interesting clients. We ensure they know where they fit, how they contribute and how they can grow. We also make sure they feel valued and have fun along the way.

“Recently the firm’s leadership team has been working on our strategic plan, including how we ‘go to market’ and where we intend to focus our efforts to drive profitable growth in the medium to long term. We will continue to align our expertise and existing industry footprint to capitalise on emerging markets and opportunities.”

Broadly speaking, there have also been comments circulating the profession that a tough market is becoming the new norm for the mid-tier law firm model.

A number of commenters have predicted that in order to survive, mid-tiers will either need to merge with bigger groups – or – cut down on staff and/or practice areas and/or location of offices to offer a more distinct service.

The former appeared to be on the cards for Russell Kennedy Lawyers late last year when it was speculated that the mid-tier was looking to expand its presence beyond Melbourne and Canberra by merging with Holman Webb Lawyers.

At the time, Russell Kennedy managing director Paul Gleeson verified that the firm was interested in breaking into the Sydney market, suggesting that a merger may be on the horizon.

“We have engaged and will continue to engage in talks and discussions with other firms about possible mergers. But all of those discussions are, of necessity, confidential discussions,” Mr Gleeson said in November.

“I cannot comment on any specific situation at all because they are simply confidential.”

Meanwhile, the latter has proven to have rang true for Henry Davis York, who earlier this month let go 25 of its Sydney staff in the most recent round of retrenchments.

This came after the firm made 13 redundancies in one hit in 2014.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Exclusive: Partners ‘financially shackled’ to mid-tier
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Quentin Bryce
Oct 18 2017
DV has worsened in a generation: Quentin Bryce
Former governor-general of Australia Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO has spoken of her deep distress about...
Oct 18 2017
Academics entertain the idea of law without lawyers
Researchers from Queensland will explore some of the most disruptive trends tipped to transform the ...
Please, Continue (Hamlet), Melbourne Festival
Oct 16 2017
Hamlet suffers slings and arrows of top Victorian barristers
Victorian judges and barristers have performed the unique play Please, Continue (Hamlet) at the Melb...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...