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TressCox snaps up Rigby Cooke team

TressCox snaps up Rigby Cooke team

As part of the firm's expansion of its national construction law practice, TressCox Lawyers has appointed three new construction lawyers to the Melbourne office. Formerly a specialist…

As part of the firm's expansion of its national construction law practice, TressCox Lawyers has appointed three new construction lawyers to the Melbourne office.

Formerly a specialist construction law team at Melbourne firm Rigby Cooke Lawyers, the three latest recruits include partner Andrew Whitelaw, consultant Bryan Thomas and solicitor Lucy Fitzpatrick, bringing over 30 years of combined industry experience.

The new recruits add to the firm's national construction practice which currently consists of Brian Ambler and recently appointed Anthony Jefferies in Sydney.

TressCox managing partner Peter Smith said: "The decision to further invest in our construction practice has been underpinned by a return of confidence to the market, where there is an increasing demand for new housing projects and also where large property groups are reigniting their development pipelines."

Commenting on his move to Tresscox after six and half years at Rigby Cooke, Whitelaw said: "I was looking to expand and grow the building and construction team that I have developed over a number of years and Tresscox provided that opportunity."

Whitelaw said the plans for his team now involve expanding and offering services to various industry bodies and client bases, including organisations such as the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors and the Owners Corporation of Victoria which, as Whitelaw explained, is in discussions with other states to go national. "So managers who have portfolios [in Victoria] may very well have portfolios in Queensland and New South Wales, so that...assists us...both from an active client point of view and a sponsorship point of view," Whitelaw said.

Highlighting some challenges ahead for the team, Whitelaw said there will be some dynamic changes in Victoria, particularly in relation to the Domestic Builders Insurance scheme which is undergoing a complete overhaul. "[The changes will affect] every single domestic builder in Victoria and it will affect home owners in a sense [as] they will now be making insurance claims against a government policy rather than a private insurance policy. And all that is still up in the air," Whitelaw said.

He said his team is expecting an increase in construction works across the state coming out of the global financial crisis and he anticipates a rush in relation to that. "That will lead me to employing another solicitor, maybe two...expanding into that major front-end construction work area."

- Briana Everett

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