find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Bakers eyes expansion in Melbourne and Brisbane

Bakers eyes expansion in Melbourne and Brisbane

Chris Freeland

Baker & McKenzie is seeking to grow both its Melbourne and Brisbane offices, though market conditions in Queensland pose a challenge.

Last week, the firm announced three special counsel and one senior associate in the Melbourne office had been named partners, comprising all of the firm’s Australian partner promotions for this year.

The Melbourne office also gained a number of high-profile lateral partners in the past two years, including Peter Ickeringill and Arthur Apos.

Managing partner Australia Chris Freeland told Lawyers Weekly the firm has been actively seeking to grow its footprint in Melbourne.

“The Melbourne office has scale to do some of the biggest deals in the market – and we do – but we felt there were opportunities there to grow,” he said.

“It was a deliberate desire [to expand] on our part because we felt we had more we could offer the Melbourne market and we wanted to increase our numbers to reflect that.”

In particular, the firm has seen significant activity in the corporate practice, which has grown by 20 per cent in the past 12 months. Mr Freeland also pointed to real estate, employment and banking and finance as growth areas.

He believes the Melbourne market has enormous potential for law firms.

“Melbourne is a significant part of the economy and there are major institutions – including foreign financial institutions – which have a significant presence in Melbourne,” Mr Freeland said.

“It’s still an important part of the economy... If you believe the long-term projections, in decades to come Melbourne will be a bigger city than Sydney.”

Recent entrants to the markets, including Hogan Lovells, have avoided the Melbourne market in favour of Perth.

However, Mr Freeland suggested current market conditions favour an east coast presence given the declining strength of the resources sector.

“If you’re going to set up one, it’d be in Sydney but if you’re going to set up two... I’d be confident the second office would be Melbourne,” he said, adding, “There are lots of opportunities in Melbourne, it's a significant city.”

Baker & McKenzie is also looking to expand its Brisbane office, which opened in 2014.

Mr Freeland described the office as “ahead of where we had hoped it would be”, but acknowledged conditions were difficult due to weakened commodity prices. 

“The Brisbane market overall is a challenging market so we’re pleased that despite those challenges we’re still doing well," he said.

"But [the market] is not quite as a buoyant as when we opened two years ago, which was true of Perth as well.”

Since opening, the office has re-focused its practice areas away from resources to a “portfolio approach” with construction litigation and property as stand-out areas.

“The work is not quite in the areas we expected. We're doing resources work but there’s less of it,” Mr Freeland said.

Overall, Mr Freeland said the firm would look to build up its Brisbane office.

“We would like it to be bigger and we’d like it to be busier than it is,” he said.



Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Bakers eyes expansion in Melbourne and Brisbane
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Oct 20 2017
Lawyers warn against mandatory sentencing measures amid political jeers
Mandatory sentencing has become a topic for politicians on both sides of Federal Parliament to jostl...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...