THE COLLAPSE of HIH was responsible for the restructuring, re-branding and new direction of TressCox, formerly Tress Cocks and Maddox, leading to a new outlook and substantial growth in its legal services.
After the loss of HIH as a major client three years ago, the firm has had to make some changes. In an interview with Lawyers Weekly, chairman Alistair Little said the firm examined the market it wanted to be part of, and became aware that insurance litigation was “not going to be a large focus”.
“Every firm faces the possibility of losing a major client but only when it happens do you tend to completely rethink your business strategy and structure. We have put a great deal of focus and effort into creating a more client orientated law firm, and today TressCox is a thriving commercial law firm of 250 staff, including 32 partners,” Little said.
In an attempt to change the way it marketed itself to its clients, the firm began to focus on health and entertainment, state government work, competition law and financial services. Also, “here in NSW we do a lot of infrastructure work for the state government”, Little said. The firm had a strong intellectual property practice but wanted to be better known for it.
In the Brisbane market, the firm has completed a merger with O’Shea, Corser and Wadley, which has seen TressCox’s size more than double. The firm’s Brisbane office grew from the practice in Sydney and at the end of last year was almost exclusively engaged in medical negligence work, Little explained. “We needed to expand that and had been looking for the right partner.”
“The merger is right for us,” Little said, “they have a health and insurance practice and have commercial skills in Brisbane — which we wanted.”
The recent acquisition of special counsel Kotaro Matsuda from Deacons was at least in part due to his client base in Brisbane. And new CEO Peter Hiley has already restructured the firm to align resources and service lines around market needs. He is recruiting new partners and introducing new methodologies for business development and speeding service delivery.
The firm expects to grow over the next 12 months in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.