06 Feb 2022

Australia's Gilbert + Tobin hires Baker McKenzie's global climate change head

Ilona Millar's move continues a flurry of ESG-related appointments as law firms look to ramp up their capabilities

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Leading Australian independent Gilbert + Tobin has hired banking and projects partner Ilona Millar from Baker McKenzie in a move it says will intensify its focus on climate change and related ESG matters. 

Millar joins the firm’s Sydney headquarters after 14 years at Baker McKenzie, where she most recently served as head of the firm’s global climate change practice. She joins G+T’s banking and projects group, where she will continue to focus on helping clients respond to climate change risks and opportunities and advise on carbon market transactions. 

The firm said Millar’s arrival positions G+T as a ‘go-to’ firm for carbon markets transactions, as well as decarbonisation and energy transition projects, climate risk governance and climate litigation matters. 

Danny Gilbert, G+T managing partner, described climate change management as an obvious critical issue for the Australian economy as the firm’s clients come under stricter scrutiny. 

“As legal advisors, it’s crucial that we remain at the forefront of the thinking in this space," he said. "We are delighted that Ilona is joining the G+T team and her extensive expertise will assist us greatly in shaping our strategic approach to ESG, how we develop our practice and offer our clients the best possible advice.”

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Millar has been a board member for the NSW Natural Resources Access Regulator for more than four years and has served as a commission member for the NSW Independent Planning Commision since 2015.

She was appointed to the lead global climate change role by Bakers in November 2019. The firm's global climate change practice still boasts London-based renewables and carbon partner Andrew Hedges and environmental law partner Graham Stuart, who alongside Millar are ranked as star individuals by Chambers.

Bakers added environmental law specialist Ruth Dawes as an ESG partner in Sydney from King & Wood Mallesons last December, having appointed Paris-based partner and former global consumer goods and retail industry head Alyssa Auberger as its first chief sustainability officer back in 2020.

Gilbert + Tobin is not alone in its efforts to beef up its climate change ESG capabilities as the movement becomes increasingly important to clients, with UK firm Mishcon de Reya appointing EY’s former global climate change and sustainability lead to a similar policy role in its sustainability business, Mishcon Purpose, earlier this month. New York firm Debevoise & Plimpton also hired sustainability expert Ulysses Smith as its first senior ESG adviser last November.

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