find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Boutique firm finds treasure in Pacific islands

Boutique firm finds treasure in Pacific islands

It's not quite a life of laptops and palm tress, but John Ridgeway, managing partner of Pacific Legal Network (PLN) Lawyers, says his unique firm has posted post GFC-defying growth, courtesy of…

It's not quite a life of laptops and palm tress, but John Ridgeway, managing partner of Pacific Legal Network (PLN) Lawyers, says his unique firm has posted post GFC-defying growth, courtesy of its legal referral service covering the Pacific atolls.

Having just picked up an award last month at the NSW Export Awards, and preparing to head to the "nationals" next week as a finalist in the Australian Exporter of the Year awards - presented by the Prime Minister - Ridgeway is keen to highlight the increasing importance of Pacific economies to our region.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly on Tuesday, Ridgeway explained how his firm - which has six lawyers and himself as the sole partner - assists clients in obtaining legal services across English, French and American parts of the Pacific, including areas as diverse as the Cook Islands, Fiji, American Samoa, French Polynesia, Nauru, and Kiribati.

"Our firm offers the ability to provide a coordinated legal service - to control and maintain the quality of the responses and make life easier for our key corporate clients," he said.

Ridgeway adds that his firm is also the only international firm to offer direct legal services across such diverse parts of the Pacific.

While the GFC has indirectly impacted these Pacific economies, Ridgeway explained how the firm has managed to grow 30 per cent every year for the last five years - noting that this was a major factor in them winning the NSW award. "It was because of our growth pattern, and also because we're not selling widgets to China, we're doing something different," he said. "We're exporting our services to a part of the world which people would not ordinarily think about."

Ridgeway recognised a need for such a service in the Pacific after finding himself a legal role in Vanuatu in the early 1990s when he was actually hoping, at the time, to find work in Asia. "I didn't know where Vanuatu was, most people probably don't," he said.

Ridgeway was later lured back to Australia to work for the then Blake Dawson Waldron, then on to Clayton Utz where he set up an office for the firm in Vanuatu - which he later bought out. By the late 1990s he returned to Sydney and joined Tresscox as a partner.

From Tresscox, Ridgeway established the foundations of PLN through his referral service providing a network of firms he had worked and dealt with in the Pacific. By 2002, the service was spun off into his own firm - originally with some assistance from PWC Legal - and later operating independently.

These days the firm predominantly undertakes corporate and banking work, with the client-base almost entirely centred around multi-nationals - like ANZ, Westpac, and Digicel.

Lawyers from PLN will represent the firm at the Australian Export Awards on November 20 in Canberra.

- Angela Priestley


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

Boutique firm finds treasure in Pacific islands
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...