SIX Clayton Utz lawyers had their right of passage to the partnership expedited this week after 14 partners last month departed for the Australian offices of UK firm Allen & Overy.
The new partners announced this week were already on track for partnership, the firm told The New Lawyer, but “recent departures” provided an opportunity for these promotions to be accelerated. The partnerships will take effect from 1 March.
While all 14 departures to Allen & Overy have not yet been accounted for with new partners, the firm said it would make further announcements regarding promotions in the coming months.
The six new partners include Matthew Daley in financial services in Sydney, Rohan Mishra in corporate advisory in Perth, Rory Moriarty in energy and resources in Sydney, Steven Power in government services in Canberra, Toby Ryston-Pratt in M&A in Sydney, and Alexander Schlosser in financial services in Sydney.
Clayton Utz announced in mid February that it has been informed that 14 of its partners would be retiring from the firm.
Speaking to The New Lawyer at the time, the firm’s managing partner David Fagan said he only received notice of the partner retirement on Monday 8 February after he had received calls from Allen & Overy late Sunday.
"So we had little notice on that. But in a sense this is part of the globalisation of legal practice. This is a new entrant in the market. The partners who were approached obviously saw it as an opportunity and wanted to take it up, they were receptive to that," he said.
Fagan said the nature of the notice was "somewhat unusual".
"One would have thought that you would be called. But it's a reflection of the nature of legal practice. And obviously these partners wanted to deliver the notices in that fashion," he said.
The details of how the recruitment of the 14 partners came about remains a mystery, at least to Clayton Utz. Fagan told The New Lawyer at the time that he had not spoken to any of the partners, and was "not really certain how it transpired".
"We were told by Allen & Overy that it had been planned for some time. So one would have thought they were planning it last year. That is only a guess," he said.
But the remaining 201 partners at Clayton Utz have been galvanised into action by the news, said Fagan.
One of Clayton Utz’s former partners Grant Fuzi, who left the firm in December last year, was appointed the managing partner of the newly established Australian practice of Allen & Overy. He is now working in the Sydney office of the firm at Goldfields House, preparing for the arrival of other partners.
Fuzi had previously spent two years in Hong Kong as an Allen & Overy partner.