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Ashurst nabs 2 M&A partners from Gilbert + Tobin

Multinational law firm Ashurst has poached two leading partners from BigLaw rival Gilbert + Tobin, one of whom will serve as the firm’s new head of mergers and acquisitions. With these two appointments, Ashurst has now added 22 new partners since the start of 2023.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 20 June 2023 Big Law
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Neil Pathak and Susannah Macknay have joined Ashurst, with Mr Pathak taking up the role of head of M&A, as part of a plan to further expand Ashurst’s offering across both public and private M&A in Australian and international markets.

Mr Pathak formerly served as the co-head of the corporate/M&A group and member of the board of partners, prior to which he was a partner at Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) from 2004 to 2011.

Ms Macknay also joins from G+T, where she has been a partner since 2020. She has also served at UK BigLaw firm Slaughter and May, including six years as a partner.


Mr Pathak will commence at the firm on 1 July as a senior partner, while Ms Macknay started in her new role yesterday (Monday, 19 June). The pair will be based in the firm’s Melbourne office.

The news follows multiple recent partner appointments by Ashurst, which has now added 22 partners to its ranks (both through appointment and promotion) since the start of the year.

As reported by Lawyers Weekly, Ashurst added two partners from DLA Piper and NAB, respectively, in early June, two partners in May from Hamilton Locke and Bracewell LLP, a partner from McCullough Robertson in mid-March, and two tax partners from Deloitte in February.

It also follows the firm’s elevation of 13 Australian lawyers to the partnership in mid-April, in a global cohort of 25.

In early February, Lawyers Weekly explored the trend of poaching teams and senior partners, which was “all the rage” in late 2022 and early 2023 as firms geared up for a potential national recession.

Speaking about the appointments, Ashurst global chief executive Paul Jenkins said that the firm has “identified a number of practice areas that we will target for further investment by 2027 as part of our firm-wide global strategy”.

“This includes building on our corporate team’s strong public M&A and private capital offering to meet growing client demand. Today’s announcement is evidence of our commitment and is an important step towards delivering on our plans to be the leading law firm in Australia,” he explained.

Ashurst co-heads of corporate transactions in Australia, John Brewster and Anton Harris, also noted: “We are thrilled to welcome Neil and Susannah to Ashurst. Neil has a stellar reputation in the market developed through advising on some of the most significant corporate transactions in the country for more than two decades.”

“His arrival at Ashurst is a sign of our growing Australian corporate team. As head of M&A (Australia) at Ashurst, Neil will work with us to further expand our offering to listed corporates and private equity clients on market-leading deals. Susannah adds significant expertise to our M&A team, in particular bolstering our private equity and private capital capability,” the pair said.

“Neil and Susannah’s decisions to join us demonstrate that we are delivering on our strategy to stand out from our peers in M&A in Australia.”

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy is the editor of Lawyers Weekly. A former lawyer, he has worked at Momentum Media as a journalist on Lawyers Weekly since February 2018, and has served as editor since March 2022. He is also the host of all five shows under The Lawyers Weekly Podcast Network, and has overseen the brand's audio medium growth from 4,000 downloads per month to over 60,000 downloads per month, making The Lawyers Weekly Show the most popular industry-specific podcast in Australia. Jerome is also the author of The Wellness Doctrines book series, an admitted solicitor in NSW, and a board director of Minds Count.

You can email Jerome at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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