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National firms play the odds in MP award

National firms play the odds in MP award


The heads of global firms may have been elbowed out by the leaders of national firms in this year’s Managing Partner of the Year award.

The finalist list contains only three MPs at international firms compared to seven at domestic firms.

Four MPs have been nominated as finalists two years in a row: Chris Freeland from Baker & McKenzie; Danny Gilbert from Gilbert + Tobin; John Nerurker from Mills Oakley Lawyers; and Tony Macvean from Hall & Wilcox.

Sue Kench from King & Wood Mallesons was the only female MP on the list this year. Jason Ricketts from Herbert Smith Freehills rounded out the global firm leaders in the category.

Finalist Paul Baker from Meridian Lawyers recently oversaw the implementation of an employee share plan.

“[This scheme is] aimed at ensuring key people have ‘skin in the game’ and they can benefit from the financial success the firm enjoys in the longer term,” he said.

Mr Baker supports workplace flexibility and 21 per cent of Meridian staff chose flexible work arrangements. He uses innovative means to communicate with staff, such as podcasts, which are circulated by email.

Finalist Simon Creek (pictured) from HHG Legal Group has led the growth of the firm from a “run down, regional sole practice in 2003-04 to a thriving, award-winning, WA-wide, medium-sized law firm in 2015”.

Through the firm’s expansion, the headcount has increased from two to 55.

Mr Creek is the architect of online legal services offering HHG Essentials, which is geared towards managing simpler legal matters. He is the chairman of HHG Giving Back, the charitable arm of the business.

“I love the law, I love business and marketing, and I love people,” he said. “These days, my main contribution is no longer finding the best people, it is encouraging, mentoring and standing behind the team we have built.”

The remaining finalists in this category are Marcus McCarthy from Nexus Law Group and Rob Cutler from Clayton Utz.

The Australian Law Awards will be presented at The Westin Sydney on 17 September – purchase tickets here.

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