Australian Family Lawyers to open 20th office

Listed national firm Australian Family Lawyers is establishing an office in Brisbane’s Bayside — its 20th across the country.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 05 December 2022 Big Law
Australian Family Lawyers to open 20th office
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AF Legal Group (ASX: AFL) (Australian Family Lawyers or AFL) is no longer acquiring GTC Legal Group, but it has “not wasted time bouncing back very quickly”, with the listed firm set to unveil a new office in Queensland.

AFL will open its Bayside office, which will service Brisbane’s eastern suburbs, on 9 January 2023. The region represents a geographic target market of approximately one-quarter of a million people.

The news follows AFL’s expansion into the Gold Coast in August (its 19th office), expansion into Wollongong in NSW in June (its 18th office), and acquisition of a Darwin-based practice in late 2021, which means the listed firm now has a presence in seven Australian jurisdictions.

Speaking about the newest office, AFL legal practice director Grant Dearlove (pictured) said that the opening of the Brisbane Bayside office is the first that the listed firm has opened in the Brisbane suburbs since it took a position in the Brisbane central business district just over three years ago.

“We have recruited a leading family lawyer who has practised family law exclusively in the Bayside region for over seven years and lived in the Bayside for over 20 years. The combination of legal and local expertise with our digital marketing positions us well for success in the local market,” he said.

The new office is set to be led by a lateral hire, the firm noted.

Further acquisitions coming?

When asked if more acquisitions are on the horizon, Mr Dearlove said that with the support of the $10 million loan facility, secured from NAB in June, AFL is continuing discussions with firms looking to partner with it.

“Growth can be organic, lateral, partnership or by acquisition in our model. Having undertaken six acquisitions since listing three years ago, there are many factors that play out in why transactions happen or not.

“AFL has never been a company to expose the reasons why a transaction does not proceed but when they do one measure of success is often the retention and contribution of principals of the firms acquired as a going concern,” Mr Dearlove posited.

“So far, all of the principals of the firms we have acquired remain with us and are leaders in our business and culture. In addition, two very senior principals have been able to retire, leaving a wonderful legacy in their practice for us to continue. That is always a key indicator of success for us.”

Moving forward post-GTC

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Mr Dearlove declined to comment on the termination of the proposed acquisition of GTC. However, on the subject of what comes next for AFL, he said that the listed firm would continue to grow so that it can reach more Australians who require family law and private client services.

“This remains our growth strategy underpinned by the quality of our legal teams and investment in our client acquisition models. Firms and lawyers [that] we talk to take comfort in the fact we are tech-enabled, debt-free, culturally aligned and values-driven, and we focus on developing the best legal careers,” he outlined.

“With our reach now expanding to 20 offices nationwide, we look forward to the continued growth of our geographic footprint into capital city suburban hubs to service more Australians in need of family law advice.”

In September 2021, the firm spoke to Lawyers Weekly about its ambition to become the biggest and best family law firm in the country.

In June of this year, AFL unveiled an 18-week paid parental leave scheme

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