Mid-tier takes five
Mills Oakley has appointed five partners and 30 staff from large and mid-tier firms for its Sydney office.
Simon Champion has joined the firm from Piper Alderman where he was a partner in the corporate advisory practice.
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He is joined in the Sydney office by government and administrative law partner Rohan White (pictured) from Sparke Helmore and workplace relations partner Malcolm Davis, who has left Herbert Geer.
Herbert Geer and Thomsons Lawyers announced last month (14 February) that the two mid-tier firms were merging at the end of March.
Mills Oakley has also recruited HWL Ebsworth special counsel Jason Leonard to its financial services team and Coleman Greig principal Susan Warda, who joins the firm’s family law practice as a partner.
Warda was recently named Woman Lawyer of the Year in Private Practice by the Women Lawyers Association of NSW.
The firm’s CEO, John Nerurker, said the appointments were part of Mills Oakley’s plans to expand the Sydney office to match the scale of its Melbourne operations. He also indicated that the Brisbane office is “on track for significant expansion over the next two years”.
The new hires follow a string of partner appointments by the mid-tier firm in 2013.
In September, Mills Oakley poached two partners from global firm DLA Piper: property partner Tom Cantwell in Melbourne and insurance partner Michael Down in Sydney.
Mills Oakley also nabbed three partners from rival firms in June.
Partner numbers suffered a minor blow, however, when the firm dropped a couple of high-profile partners in July.
Corporate and commercial partner David Nolan defected to single-office Sydney firm Kemp Strang and Melbourne-based workplace relations partner Luke Connolly left the firm.
Connolly’s departure was shrouded in controversy after he reportedly sent an email to clients and colleagues claiming that Mills Oakley had threatened his dismissal over an ethical dispute.
Firm spokesperson Kirstie Jordon confirmed to Lawyers Weekly at the time that Connolly was no longer at the firm, but denied that he was threatened with the sack when he refused to act against the interests of a client.
Mills Oakley has a total of 52 partners and 300 staff across its offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.