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Barry Nilsson names new chair

National law firm Barry Nilsson, which has over 400 staff across six offices, has appointed a new chair for a two-year term.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 17 June 2024 Big Law
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Peter Murdoch (pictured) has been appointed as the new chairperson of Barry Nilsson, succeeding Rhett Kennedy, who served two consecutive two-year terms.

Murdoch will assume his new role on 1 July.

The news follows the firm’s elevation of 13 lawyers to more senior roles in December, including six to special counsel. As of this month, Barry Nilsson has more than 400 staff, including almost 40 principals. The firm has offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, and Hobart.


In a statement, Murdoch said his priority will be to continue to execute the firm’s strategic plan and deliver sustainable growth across its national footprint.

“In our diamond jubilee year last year, we made a deliberate strategic decision to grow the firm’s capacity and capabilities to support the evolving needs of our clients in insurance and family law,” he said.

“To achieve this, our priority is to continue upholding our track record of excellent client service, which goes hand in hand with an internal focus on staff engagement, and identifying, attracting and developing our next generation of leaders.

“This approach has strengthened our firm, and we are pleased with the headway we’ve made across the board in achieving our strategic goals. By focusing on our clients and our people, everything else falls into place.

“In particular, the strategy set an ambitious revenue target which we are on track to achieve ahead of the 2025 time frame. This progress would not be possible without our national team of highly skilled staff, a number of whom we’re thrilled to recognise in our upcoming firm promotions.”

He also thanked Kennedy for his work as chair and noted he looks forward to continuing to work alongside him.

Kennedy said: “We’ve achieved a great deal, including substantial national growth, the launch of a refreshed brand, setting a renewed strategic direction for the firm, and recently launching our 2026 D&I strategy.

“Our Graduate Pro Bono Placement Program saw a 100 per cent uptake from graduates which is a reflection of our commitment to cultivating a strong pro bono culture early in our lawyers’ careers.

“We estimate that, by the end of this financial year, the firm will have provided free legal services of around 8,700 hours valued at over $2.6 million in fees waived and around $50,000 in contributions which support clients and community legal centres.

“I depart the role of chairperson at the end of June confident that we have excellent leadership continuity and I look forward to being part of the continuing Barry Nilsson success story.”

The firm proclaimed that – “despite the current economic climate” – it has seen a 20 per cent increase in revenue in FY24, while headcount has grown by 11 per cent, including a 9 per cent increase in lawyers.

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