find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
Melbourne firms battle for lawyers

Melbourne firms battle for lawyers

Insurance firms in Melbourne have been left reeling after one firm continues to take senior people, including high-ranking partners, from competitor firms.

Moray & Agnew, the firm that scooped almost an entire insurance team from Herbert Geer & Rundle in Melbourne several years ago, has bolstered its practice with two Sparke Helmore insurance experts.

Partner Michael Martin left the firm this month, leaving the door swinging for colleague Nigel Kemp in a double hit for the Melbourne practice of Sparke.

Speaking to The New Lawyer about his appointment, Kemp said Moray is "kicking all the goals" with panel appointments. The Victorian Government and the Commonwealth Com Cover appointment appealed to Kemp, he said.

"Realitically, everything I was hearing when at Sparke about why Moray & Agnew were getting appointed, involved that in Melbourne there are not too many specialist defendant insurance firms. And certainly I'd put Moray's at the top of that," he said.

Kemp said he joined the "substantially larger" Moray, which had partners with many years' experience.

The insurance market in Melbourne has contracted in the past few years, making it "a good time to come across", said Kemp. "There are more opportunities here, it's a broader range of clients."

The move comes after Moray & Agnew plundered Herbert Geer & Rundle's Melbourne insurance practice in 2006.

At the time, five partners, eight lawyers and 12 support staff packed up their desks at the Melbourne office. Included in the exodus was the firm's managing partner, Bill Papastergiadis. Several of the lawyers had been at the firm for close to 20 years.

At the time, Papastergiadis said he was impressed with the developing trend towards specialist insurance firms. A growing dichotomy between insurance and commercial divisions within many firms meant the insurance part was unable to properly succeed.

Papastergiadis said specialisation meant the partners could properly cater to their clients' needs.

Moray competes in Melbourne with traditional firms like Lander and Rogers and Dibbs Abbott Stilman. Herbert Geer & Rundle, which has has traditional had a strong insurance presence in Melbourne, is no longer competition, said Kemp.

Sparke Helmore has boosted its insurance practice in Sydney this year, namely with Mark Doepel, who jumped from Minter Ellison to insurance firm Kennedys two years ago.

The firm's new managing partner Jesse Webb told The New Lawyer: “With other national law firms gradually exiting the insurance space, Sparke Helmore continues to grow this area of practice, attracting specialist partners and senior lawyers to firm. We act for all major Australian insurers, and maintain a strong presence in the London market. We currently have 172 lawyers including 31 partners focused on insurance work, a large part of the firm’s business - and that reflects our ongoing commitment to the insurance sector across the country." 

But in Melbourne, the practice is a shadow of its former self. Partner Kerri Thomas, who joined the firm as a senior associate from Corrs Chambers Westgarth, is now the sole partner in Victoria.

Webb said: "We recently appointed Kerri Thomas partner to the insurance practice in Melbourne. Her appointment is a net sum gain for us and for clients in the Melbourne market.”

Kemp said of the work he will be doing: "The work will predominantly be Victorian government work, public liability matters, workcover matters. I am hoping I will be able to develop the telecommunication practice. By that I primarily mean a recovery practice or acting for one for the providers I've acted for before in the defensive liability claims."



Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Melbourne firms battle for lawyers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Debate, same-sex marriage, Law Society
Sep 21 2017
Law Society acknowledges ‘diversity of opinion’ on same-sex marriage
The council of the Law Society of NSW has said it respects the diverse views of its members on same-...
Scales of Justice
Sep 21 2017
Victoria considers legalising euthanasia
A change in law to allow voluntary assisted dying in Victoria will be considered by the State Parlia...
Old woman
Sep 21 2017
Federal government ignoring elder abuse crisis, lawyer says
A Queensland lawyer has called on federal politicians to follow the lead of the Queensland governmen...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...