THE WORLD’S leading association of independent law firms, Lex Mundi, has appointed Clayton Utz partner Simon Truskett to its board of directors.
The appointment recognises a longstanding relationship the firm has had with the organisation, stretching back to 1989 when Clayton Utz was one of the founding members.
“Each of the member firms is a leading law firm in their country or jurisdiction,” Truskett said. “In our case, Clayton Utz is the exclusive member for Australia.”
Firms cannot apply for membership. They must be chosen on the basis of rigorous criteria, which include the firm’s reputation in their domestic market, an ability to provide a full range of legal services required by commercial clients, size, room for growth, technology and cross-border capabilities.
Clayton Utz’s chief executive partner, David Fagan, said the appointment reflected the professional regard in which Truskett and Clayton Utz were held.
“This is a very prestigious recognition for [Truskett] and he is to be warmly congratulated,” Fagan said. “His appointment also reinforces our commitment to Lex Mundi as an integral part of our international strategy.”
Member firms are also evaluated on the basis of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. Truskett, who is the national partner of Clayton Utz’s CSR program, ‘community connect’, said Lex Mundi has recently established “its own foundation, which is the vehicle through which a number of pro bono initiatives are directed”.
The foundation aims to act “as a conduit for a lot of social entrepreneurs that need legal services in various places around the world. Through the Lex Mundi foundation, those social entrepreneurs are provided with pro bono legal services by members of Lex Mundi, and that’s particularly important in developing countries,” he said.
Clayton Utz is no stranger to pro bono work itself, having conducted some 27,000 hours of free services in the last year under ‘community connect’.
Although Lex Mundi is not the only organisation of its kind, Truskett believes it is the best.
“It’s the largest, with the greatest coverage, and I believe — [and] independent surveys have backed this up — [it] has got the highest quality of membership.”
Truskett’s new appointment was officially announced at Lex Mundi's Annual and North America Regional Conference in Chicago earlier this month. He described his appointment as a great honour.
“It will be a great challenge. I would expect it to be a rewarding four years interacting with some of the brightest legal minds around the globe,” he said.
Although now a member of the board, Truskett was already heavily involved with the organisation, and does not expect his schedule to be unduly interrupted.
“Part of the Lex Mundi arrangements is that we regularly meet and exchange ideas about international best practice for delivery of legal services, so I’ll continue to be involved in many of those meetings. But the level of my attendance probably won’t change greatly. I was already attending those meetings fairly frequently anyway.”
Lex Mundi is a network of 160 independent, full-service commercial law firms committed to providing superior legal services. The member firms cover around 100 different jurisdictions, with approximately 16,000 lawyers from which to draw from.
“It’s a big network of the leading member firms in each of the jurisdictions that are covered,” Truskett said.
“Globalisation forces have dictated the need for our clients to have access to the best law firms in all major cities and centres around the world.”