Kennedys recruits 19-strong team from Clyde & Co in Melbourne

UK insurance firm also added Clydes’ former Australia managing partner alongside 12-strong team in Sydney last December

l-r: Nicole Wearne, Mark Attard and Ganga Narayanan Image courtesy of Kennedys

UK insurance law firm Kennedys has bolstered its offering in Australia with the hire of a 19-strong team from rival Clyde & Co. 

The team is led by partners Nicole Wearne, Mark Attard and Ganga Narayana and includes four special counsel, five lawyers and a support team of seven. Its hire follows Kennedys adding Clydes’ former Australia managing partner, Lucinda Lyons, alongside a team of 12 lawyers and support staff in Sydney last December.

Earlier this month Kennedys also hit Clydes for a 12-lawyer group in Madrid, meaning that globally the firm has hired away more than 30 lawyers from its rival since last December. 

Kennedys said the team joining in Melbourne “brings decades of experience acting for local and global clients across key insurance lines and sectors”. They have worked together for a number of years, including previously at Norton Rose Fulbright. 

Kennedys’ Australian managing partner, Jonathan Wyatt, said the team’s hire “bolsters our growing Australian insurance team’s ability to service local and London market clients across major insurance classes, particularly on the ground in Victoria”.

Matt Andrews, APAC managing partner, added they were consistent with the firm’s refreshed global strategic plan, which includes reinforcing the depth of specialist talent in core centres. 

Wearne is a respected insurance specialist and litigator, with a focus on professional indemnity, management liability, D&O, class action defence and coverage claims work. She brings strong Royal Commission expertise and also advises on regulatory investigations, fidelity matters and commercial disputes. 

Meantime Attard brings more than 30 years’ experience advising Australian and London market clients on professional indemnity and general insurance matters, while Narayanan’s practice encompasses both general and life insurance claims and products. She acts for local and London market clients in personal injury, property damage and medical liability claims, coronial inquests, fraud and non-disclosure claims and life insurance claims. 

Kennedys’ revenue topped £300m for the first time in the 2023 financial year, when turnover grew 11% to hit £313m. The firm did not disclose profits per equity partner. Revenue growth in APAC was 12%, while the ramping up of the firm’s US presence – which now stands at more than 200 lawyers across 10 offices – saw turnover there jump 25%.

Kennedys has been operating in Australia since 2006 and has four offices across the country in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, where the firm opened an office last year after relocating insurance partner Stephanie Cook. The new hires take the firm’s partner headocunt in Australia to 24. Last month the firm also announced that Mark Errington will be joining from RPC in July to lead its property, construction and energy practice in Singapore. 

Clydes has made its own big team hires recently, including a group of more than 20 lawyers from Dentons last December to debut in Poland. In February it also bolstered its insurance offering in the US with the hire of a nine-lawyer team in Chicago from Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith led by partner Danny Worker.  

The firm grew revenue by an eye-cartching 20% in FY23 to £788.6m off the back of its merger with UK law firm BLM, which went live in July 2022. Profit at the firm increased by 6% to £169.2m, while PEP remained at £708k.

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