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Tony Britten-Jones’ reflections following 20 years with Piper Alderman

Earlier this month, Tony Britten-Jones celebrated his 20th anniversary with national firm Piper Alderman (nearly nine years of which have been as managing partner). In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, he looks back on achievements made and lessons learnt – and keeps an eye on the future.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 22 December 2023 Big Law
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Following his 20th anniversary with the firm in the first week of December and in anticipation of one decade of service as its head, Lawyers Weekly asked Mr Britten-Jones (pictured) what he sees as his biggest personal achievements at Piper Alderman.

He responded that the way the BigLaw firm is run, there are very few personal achievements (in the sense of individual plaudits) at the management and leadership level.

“We succeed or fail as a team,” he explained.

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From a firm perspective, he outlined, one of the biggest accomplishments made during his tenure has been the evolution of Piper Alderman as a “leading” independent national mid-size practice, with 81 of its 88 partners appointed over that 20-year period, “including all 24 of our female partners during that period, 22 of whom have been appointed over the past nine years”.

For Mr Britten-Jones, the value in staying with one firm for two decades has been realised in the depth of and ability to maintain key relationships.

Those relationships, he said, are “generally greater and [as a] consequence, your ability to work collaboratively is enhanced – and that leads to success”.

There have also been pertinent takeaways for him about life as a managing partner and, ultimately, the place of BigLaw practices in Australia.

“I have learnt that strength is developed by adversity and that the best results for staff and clients occur when people work together in teams,” he recounted.

“When BigLaw gets that right, they provide a great service to their clients and they provide a work environment where people flourish.”

The discussion followed Mr Britten-Jones’ appearance, together with firm chief operating officer Chris McLean, in a special episode of LawTech Talks, in which the pair reflected on the role of law firms as in-house teams reinvent themselves.

It also follows a year of growth for the national firm, including its promotion of 16 (including three to partner) last week, its hiring of a partner from a Perth-based boutique last month, taking of a team from EY in mid-July, its appointment of a property partner from Holding Redlich in the same month, its appointment of a Perth-based projects partner from a boutique firm in June, and its promotion of 26 lawyers to more senior roles, including two to partner, just before the end of financial year (EOFY).

Looking ahead, Mr Britten-Jones mused that the “ongoing and perhaps increasing” political and social tensions and divergence of interests will test many businesses and institutions.

The answer to how those challenges can be overcome, he posited, is blowing in the wind, “but tolerance, empathy, understanding and honesty will go a long way”.

This said, he noted, “greater risk, greater regulation and greater expectations of accountability create significant opportunities for dedicated and motivated lawyers and the people that work around them”.

New technologies can “supercharge” those opportunities, he submitted.

And when it comes to his own journey in 2024 and beyond, Mr Britten-Jones said he is excited about the continuing development and growth of Piper Alderman “and the opportunities that [it] creates for everyone who works here and our clients”.

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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