BLAKE DAWSON WALDRON has strengthened its capabilities in Indonesia, with the appointment of James Donoghue as a partner. Donoghue, a mining, resources and corporate lawyer who was previously based in the firm’s Brisbane office, is currently on secondment to Soebajgo, Jatim, Djarot (SJD), the firm with which Blakes has been associated for more than 18 years.
His appointment was one of nine announced by the firm as the financial year closes. He joins senior Blakes partner Philip Payne in the Jakarta office of SJD, which has recently merged with commercial Jakarta law firm MWSA Law Offices.
Managing partner John Atkin said the appointment demonstrated the firm’s increased focus on its Asia practice. “Indonesia is a very resource rich country with a very strong energy and resources sector, and a lot of north Asian, particularly Japanese, investment.”
This was complemented by Blakes’ strong energy and resources practice in Australia, and the firm’s significant north Asian client base.
Atkin said the firm intended to play to its strengths in Asia, one of which was its Japanese client base. “[We will be] looking at where they need our support,” Atkin said. “Australia is an obvious example, Indonesia is another.”
He said the firm’s presence in Indonesia worked well with its strengths in Perth, where the firm had made three new partners — two litigators and one tax lawyer.
Atkin said Western Australia currently boasted Australia’s strongest economy and the firm’s Perth practice was excelling, mostly on the back of the energy and resources sector. “That fits with our associate operation in Jakarta, where we do quite a lot of infrastructure work that builds off our expertise in Perth, and there is a timezone advantage between Perth and Jakarta as well.”
The firm has several top-line corporate clients headquartered in Perth, including Alinta and Woodside, as well as a number of mining companies with significant regional headquarters in the city.
Atkin said the firm’s appointments, which were complemented by the lateral hire of leading corporate lawyer Stephen Menzies, had capped off a “very good year” for the firm. He said the firm had gone through significant restructuring, but reports in the financial press that had highlighted a significant number of partner departures had overlooked the firm’s strengths and the calibre of its people.
“We are having as good a run as we would like to have,” he said, highlighting work done by Marie McDonald for Alinta, Bill Koeck on the Sydney Futures Exchange’s merger with the Australian Stock Exchange and David Williamson on BHP Billiton’s takeover of WMC Resources.