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Slater & Gordon merger imminent

Slater & Gordon merger imminent

National, ASX-listed law firm, Slater & Gordon, has joined forces with a rural legal practice.

NATIONAL, ASX-listed law firm, Slater & Gordon, has joined forces with a rural legal practice.

The merger with Long Howland Lawyers & Advisor, in Gunnedah, NSW, is one of several recent regional acquisitions and an important part of Slater & Gordon’s plan to expand into rural Australia, the firm said.

Long Howland principal lawyer, Peter Long, built a national reputation when he won a multi-million compensation class action for members of the beef industry against the international petrochemical conglomerate ICI, now Orica.

Long said joining with Slater & Gordon would provide extra resources to help families, small businesses and farmers in regional Australia deal with increasingly complicated legal issues.

“Over many years we have built a practice dedicated to serving country people. In partnership with Slater & Gordon, we will now find it easier to meet the legal needs of rural Australia,” he said.

In the mid-1990’s, residues from the cotton chemical Helix forced more than a million cattle across NSW and Queensland into quarantine threatening the livelihood of thousands of cattle producers and costing millions of dollars.

The Helix contamination sent export markets into panic and threatened Australia’s reputation as a producer of clean green agricultural products.

Ken Fowlie, an Executive Director with Slater & Gordon, said if anyone wanted to make the Erin Brockovich story in Australia, Long would be the star.

“From a small country practice in Gunnedah, [Long] ran a case that went for years and ultimately brought ICI to task, forcing it to pay compensation to thousands of farming families,” Fowlie said.

“During the six week hearing of the case in Sydney, Peter slept in the basement of his barrister’s home in Pennant Hills while ICI’s legal team stayed in the Sheraton.

“[Long] showed guts and determination in the face of overwhelming odds and won. For many years he has been a true friend and local champion for regional Australians,” Fowlie said.

Long has also successfully represented rural-based businesses in other landmark group actions including the Acatak litigation where he acted for several hundred graziers whose cattle were contaminated by a tick acaricide and the Alfarm class action on behalf of dozens of farmers throughout Australia who suffered losses from acquiring defective farm machinery.

In 1997, Peter was awarded the National Civil Justice Award by the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers Association, the predecessor to the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

Long is joined by fellow lawyer, Alice Weinthal, licenced conveyancer, Stacey Thibault and a support team of eight who provide legal services in the areas of commercial, mining, estate & other litigation, conveyancing and estate & succession planning.

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