National firm grows by 30%

By Jerome Doraisamy|08 April 2021
Richard Wood

A national insurance law practice has seen “rapid” expansion since the start of December, with a net increase of 30 per cent in staff.

In recent months, Gilchrist Connell has continued to “expand rapidly” in order to meet a surge in client demand driven by the combined impact of increases in major claims, economic pressures and COVID-19.

It managed to escape 2020 without any freezes to salary or recruitment, or furloughs, and – since 1 December 2020 – has seen a net increase in staff of over 30 per cent, with more roles still being recruited for.

Roles have been added in all five of the firm’s offices, it said, but the greatest increases have been in Sydney and Brisbane. Hires have been made at a senior level from a handful of global firms, but most of the onboarded professionals have been at the junior to mid-range levels, Gilchrist Connell noted, across a handful of its insurance practice areas: financial lines, coverage, general casualty, sensitive claims and employment.


Lawyers Weekly covered these appointments in recent months, including here and here.

Before the onset of the pandemic, managing principal Richard Wood (pictured) said, the firm was planning for growth by increasing capability and presence in a number of key areas.

“Then COVID-19 hit, and we were relieved to get through the early phase of the pandemic without reducing staff levels or conditions. More recently we’ve needed to rapidly build as our clients have shown an increased need for services,” he said.

“Adding to this momentum, our pre-COVID plans have started to bear fruit. While we’ve never pursued growth for its own sake, we deliberately increased our capability in targeted areas which produced results at about the same time that COVID-19 – plus a hardening insurance market – also bolstered demand.

“Since then, it’s been a controlled explosion – and I don’t think we’re quite done yet. Our early forecast for FY22 is for further significant demand and expansion.” 


For insurance firms, he mused, “it’s a seller’s market” in terms of recruitment, and thus Gilchrist Connell is pleased that it has been able to get the right professionals on board.

“We’re very proud of our open, inclusive and transparent culture, and the way we came together and performed during COVID-19,” he concluded.

“Our new people will help build and develop this culture, which should keep us firmly on the right track during the busy months ahead – and beyond.”

National firm grows by 30%
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