The firm now known as Sparke Helmore first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1882, with William Edward Sparke at the helm. In 1895, the firm became known as Sparke & Millard when Godfrey Millard came on as partner.
In 1922, the firm finally took on the name of Sparke Helmore when Basil Arthur Helmore came on board. In 1949, the addition of Peter Withycombe saw the firm become Sparke Helmore & Withycombe, which it stayed until 1997. In 1962, the firm opened its doors in Sydney and, 30 years later, the firm secured a presence in Melbourne.
1996 marked the opening of the firm's fourth office, in Canberra, and the total headcount had grown to more than 200 staff nationally. In 1999, the firm moved into Brisbane and, over the next three years, three more offices - Muswellbrook, Adelaide and Perth - were established. In 2007, the firm celebrated 125 years of continuous service and boasted more than 600 staff over eight integrated offices.
Today, it is known as having one of the leading Australian government practices, with national managing partner Jesse Webb now looking to beef up other areas.
"Five lateral partner appointments by Sparke Helmore over the last 12 months, with a combined total of 17 lawyers, have substantially strengthened our capability to service the financial services, major projects and the Commonwealth government sector, particularly across the eastern seaboard," he says.
Total number of staff: 600+
Offices: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney
Click on the covers to explore the story of how each of these now national firms expanded across the continent: