Women dominate Corrs Chambers Westgarth's partner promotions round

Australian firm promotes eight partners, of whom six are female, as it continues on growth path
Alicia Salvo (l) and Rosie Syme

Alicia Salvo (l) and Rosie Syme Images courtesy of Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Australian Big Six firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth has promoted eight lawyers to partner in its latest round, six of them women. 

The round marks a step up on last year’s cohort, which featured three lawyers, two of whom were women. It also exceeds the formal target Corrs has implemented for internal partner promotions of 40-40-20 (40% women, 40% men and 20% flexible, i.e. women, men or non-binary people) set under the leadership of current CEO Gavin MacLaren. 

The firm said that is in some circumstances, such as the latest promotions round, there may be more women appointed than would be consistent with a strict 40-40-20 target given the greater number of female lawyers relative to male lawyers at the firm. 

The latest cohort has been promoted across Corrs’ practice areas though there was a distinct disputes flavour, in line with the new direction the firm took following MacLaren’s appointment as CEO in 2018 to focus on working on clients’ most complex and significant transactions and disputes. 

MacLaren told Lawyers Weekly last month that the firm’s new approach has seen it grow revenue by 75% over the past four years and the partnership by 20% over the same period, with the firm particularly growing its partner count across its corporate, banking, financial services, projects and energy and natural resources teams. 

The latest round of promotions takes Corrs’ partner headcount to 145, 14 of whom have joined the firm over the past year as lateral hires. 

This time round Brisbane’s three promotions saw it nudge out the firm’s Melbourne headquarters and Sydney office, both of which welcomed two new partners, while Perth gained one.  

In Brisbane projects litigator Todd Spiller, whose practice includes disputes in the civil construction, oil and gas, energy and resources, transport and social infrastructure sectors, was made up in the projects and arbitration team. Civil litigator Katie Betts, who acts for healthcare providers and practitioners in relation to medical negligence claims, coronial investigations and inquests, was welcomed in the commercial litigation team and procurement, projects and regulatory advice specialist Jodie Burger was promoted in the TMT and competition group. 

Melbourne, meanwhile, welcomed Alicia Salvo in the commercial litigation and RISS team, where she specialises in insolvency, restructuring and banking litigation. Rosie Syme was also made up in the environment and planning team. 

Sydney also welcomed two new partners – Lara Hall and Megan Russell, who were made up in the competition and banking and finance teams respectively. Hall has particular experience working on multi-jurisdictional antitrust and competition litigation matters, while Russell advises sponsors, borrowers and financiers in relation to financing transactions, with a particular focus on corporate, acquisition and property finance.

The duo’s promotion in Sydney, where Corrs is concentrating its efforts for further growth, follows the firm adding six corporate and banking partners from local rival MinterEllison in the city last July, with the team made up of four private equity specialists and two financing partners.

In February Corrs also boosted its banking, finance and projects capabilities in Sydney with the addition of Allen & Overy partners James Abbott and Simon Huxley. Their arrival came just a week after the head of A&O’s debt and projects practice in Australia, Adam Stapledon, joined the firm in the city. 

The sole promotion in Perth went to dispute resolution specialist Callum Strike, who focuses on financial and regulatory disputes as well as those relating to energy and resources projects and was welcomed in the arbitration and commercial litigation group. 

Commenting on the promotions, MacLaren, said: “I am very pleased to announce the appointment of eight new partners to the Corrs partnership. I am confident they will make a great contribution to the firm.

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