NATIONAL LAW firm Sparke Helmore last week appointed partner Geoff Pike as firm chairman, after a unanimous endorsement by the firm’s 56 partners.
In a statement released by the firm, Pike said he looked forward to working with the board and national managing partner John Davis. Pike was unavailable for further comment.
Davis said it was a promising appointment for the firm. “[Pike will] be terrific in the role. He’s got a wealth of experience. He’s well-known in legal circles, in Sydney in particular. It’s certainly a very popular appointment within the firm.”
A litigation specialist, Pike joined Sparke Helmore in 2001 to expand the firm’s professional indemnity practice. His previous experience included stints with Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Blake Dawson Waldron, and 16 years as a partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
It was expected that Pike’s role as leader of the national professional/general liability group would pass on to another partner at the firm as a result of his appointment, but otherwise he would continue with his normal duties.
“This is really a privilege he gets in addition to everything else he does as a partner,” Davis said.
For Davis, the appointment was particularly welcome — the two men are old friends, having studied law together at Sydney University.
“We knew each other pretty well at that time ... so this is rather nice in that respect,” he said. “We went in different directions, but it’s interesting that our careers intersected.”
Pike’s appointment coincides with major strategic additions to the firm’s client portfolio, following recent appointments as legal advisor to ANZ, St George Bank, Allianz, the Department of Defence and the Department of Treasury.
“We finished off the year with some very strong new panel appointments from tenders. They’ve been kind to us over the last 12 months,” Davis said. “Our future is about growing out, and taking the best advantage we can of that infrastructure and that market positioning.”
Pike has conducted a wide range of commercial disputes in state and federal jurisdictions, has represented government and semi-government clients in the administrative and industrial law fields, and has conducted many arbitrations and mediations.
With experience running general liability matters for insurers, Pike now specialises in professional indemnity matters, defending claims and advising on policy issues. Medical malpractice is Pike’s other area of specialty, and in the past he has represented medical practitioners, hospitals and other health industry professionals and institutions on behalf of mutual defence organisations and insurers.
Pike replaces partner Paul Anicich, who is resuming his private practice with the firm following a term as chairman which expired in March this year. Anicich said that he thoroughly enjoyed his term but felt that the time was right to concentrate wholly on his clients.