Exclusive: G+T poaches Ashurst pro bono partner
Ashurst’s Australian pro bono head Anne Cregan has quit the global firm to join Gilbert + Tobin.
Cregan (pictured) has been a partner at Ashurst since 2007.
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She is joining G+T as a special counsel, and is due to start with the firm in November.
“We encourage pro bono to be done across the firm, we talk about it and report against it,” said G+T managing partner Danny Gilbert when speaking to Lawyers Weekly.
“People here are very proud of what we have achieved in pro bono; we are around half the size of many of our competitors, yet we have bigger pro bono practices than them.”
Cregan will join a team of five dedicated pro bono lawyers at G+T.
The firm’s pro bono group is led by partner Michelle Hannon.
In 2013 G+T completed more than 14,800 hours of pro bono work at an average of over 54 hours per lawyer per year.
This is well above the aspirational target of 35 hours per lawyer per year recommended by the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.
Cregan is credited with being the driving force behind the development of a stronger pro bono culture at Ashurst.
As the firm’s Australian pro bono practice leader, she oversaw a practice of more than 775 matters and nine legal clinics.
In early 2013, Cregan told Lawyers Weekly that the Australian arm of the merger with Ashurst was leading a global push to beef-up the firm’s pro bono commitment.
“Ashurst LLP announced at the end of  that they now have an internal target of 52 [pro bono] hours per lawyer per year, which is the same as our internal target,” she said.
“At the moment we are ahead, and this reflects partly a difference between the developments in pro bono work in Australia and the UK.”
In 2012-13, Ashurst lawyers in Australia completed an average of just over 50 hours of pro bono work per lawyer, ranking it alongside G+T as one of Australia’s leading pro bono firms.
Cregan was one of only handful of dedicated pro bono partners within the domestic private practice sector.
David Hillard at Clayton Utz, Michelle Hannon at Gilbert + Tobin and Heather Watson at McCullough Robertson are all pro bono partners at their respective firms.
DLA Piper partner Nicolas Patrick relocated from Sydney to London last year to head the firm’s global pro bono and corporate social responsibility practice.